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Incest clan matriarch Betty Colt loses bid for freedom

‘She wasn’t there – there was NO furniture’: Incest clan matriarch, 51, loses bid for freedom as court hears how she ‘tricked’ authorities the last time she was released on bail

  • Incest clan matriarch Betty Colt, 51, loses bail bid after nine months in prison
  • Magistrate recalled story of Colt’s abandoned house during 2014 bail stint  
  • Police found no furniture at her fixed address and no Betty Colt, court hears
  • Court has previously heard officers found just $3.85 spent on water that quarter
  • Prosecutors told court she borrowed others’ phones to avoid police taps 

Incest clan matriarch: Betty Colt was refused bail at Sydney’s Central Local Court on Thursday

An incest clan matriarch today lost her bid for freedom after a court heard remarkable details from prosecutors about her behaviour last time she was on bail.  

Mother-of-thirteen Betty Colt, 51, has been behind bars for nine months facing charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice. 

Colt is the supposed head of a family found by authorities to be living in squalid conditions in western New South Wales six years ago. 

She and seven family members were arrested by police last year on charges ranging from perjury to, in the cases of others, inter-generational incest and sex abuse. 

Colt, sporting dyed blond hair, bowed her head and closed her eyes with disappointment as she was refused bail on Thursday. 

In her decision, Magistrate Margaret Quinn reflected on how Colt was granted bail to an abandoned house in 2014.  

Police investigators have previously told court they found no furniture inside Colt’s supposed house and just $3.85 was spent on water bills. 

This is the inside of a Boorowa, NSW camp where Betty Colt's family lived back in 2012 

This is the inside of a Boorowa, NSW camp where Betty Colt’s family lived back in 2012 

When Colt was last released on bail, police went to her address and found a home with no furniture and $3 on the water meter

When Colt was last released on bail, police went to her address and found a home with no furniture and $3 on the water meter

‘It does appear she was not residing in the place where she allocated,’ Magistrate Margaret Quinn said on Thursday. 

‘There was no furniture, she hadn’t been in there.’ 

Her current lawyer, Alessandro Albanese, admitted there was ‘an inference that could be drawn’ that she did not live at her bailed address.   

Applying for bail, Mr Albanese told the court that Colt needed to provide care to one of her daughters, who has vision and hearing impairments, and prepare for her upcoming trial.  

Mr Albanese proposed that she report to police twice daily, ensuring she could not drive far away from her bail address in Bathurst, and use only one phone number that would be disclosed to officers.  

Mr Albanese argued Colt was not a risk of skipping court as she had attended hearings previously when she was sentenced to full time custody.  

‘These aren’t matters Ms (Colt) is running away from, these are matters which will be fought until her name is cleared,’ he said.  

Mr Albanese said his client had spent most of her time unemployed, receiving Centrelink benefits for her daughter’s care, but could pick fruit.  

Betty Colt was living at this home in South Australia, picking fruit, upon her arrest in April 2018

Betty Colt was living at this home in South Australia, picking fruit, upon her arrest in April 2018

But Crown prosecutor Mardi Cartwright said there was an ‘extremely high risk’ Colt would interfere with witnesses against the family. 

Ms Cartwright said prosecutors were concerned she would coerce ‘extremely vulnerable’ women into supporting her case.   

Colt previously avoided police telephone intercepts by having people pass phones around ‘so she can speak to the person she wants to speak to’, Ms Cartwright claimed. 

Magistrate Quinn found there was an unacceptable risk of interfering with witnesses and committing an offence. 

‘She did aggressively maintain contact with all her children in the past,’ the magistrate said. 

‘She hasn’t abided by the court’s orders in the past.’ 

Colt could face up to 14 years behind bars for perverting the course of justice and 10 years for alleged perjury, if found guilty.  

Bail conditions for all seven of her relatives facing criminal charges were continued. The cases return to court later this year.

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