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Brave father takes a beating to save his young son from being snatched

A father heroically protected his young son from being snatched by a conspiracy theorist in a violent drug-induced psychosis.

Michael Paul Rawson, 41, had just stepped out of a taxi from a police station on bail for drug charges as the boy and his father were walking their dog.

As the dad helped his son down from a seat outside Preston Library in Melbourne about 8.30pm on November 25, 2019, Rawson ran over and grabbed the child.

Victorian County Court heard delusions from a cocktail of meth and GHB caused Rawson, a truck driver, to believe the boy was his daughter.

The father, who can’t be named, wrestled his son back but was dragged into nearby bushes with Rawson’s arm around this neck.

Michael Paul Rawson, 41, was deluded by a cocktail of meth and GHB when he violently tried to wrestle a little boy away from his father as they walked their dog

Michael Paul Rawson, 41, was deluded by a cocktail of meth and GHB when he violently tried to wrestle a little boy away from his father as they walked their dog

He was dragged to the ground where he curled up around his son to shield him as the drug-crazed attacker repeatedly punched him in the back of the head. 

A passerby ran over to help but was unable to stop Rawson pulling the child away and making a run for it down Gower Street.

The witness gave chase, grabbing him around the waist, and with the help of the boy’s father managed to wrestle the child back, along with Rawson’s black dressing gown.

Rawson took off and hid in a front garden, where he was cornered by police and charged at them when they tried to arrest him.

The father suffered a cut him and bruises to his eye and the back of his head while his son was traumatised and screaming.

Rawson was taken to Austin Hospital where he tried to escape from his bed while ‘screaming and thrashing’.

He grabbed a medical worker’s wrist and squeeze and twisted it until he was restrained and strapped to the bed.

Rawson pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping, assault, causing reckless injury, resisting arrest, and assaulting an emergency officer.

The emotional criminal choked back tears as he made his plea to each individual charge from Ravenhall prison in a video-link hearing on Tuesday.

Rawson pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping, assault, causing reckless injury, resisting arrest, and assaulting an emergency officer

Rawson pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping, assault, causing reckless injury, resisting arrest, and assaulting an emergency officer

Defence lawyer Mel Walker said her client was seen about 6.10pm that night ‘staring into space’ on a nature strip.

Witnesses called police concerned for his welfare saying he ‘didn’t seem quite right’ and officers arrived to find him visibly high on drugs.

He was searched and 2.5g of meth found on him, so they took him to Preston Police Station. He was released on bail soon after changed with drug possession.

The court heard Rawson had a troubled childhood, moving from place to place as his father was a conman constantly ripping people off.

He was bullied at every new school and dropped out early, having a child at just 17 with his partner Christie Vine.

The couple married in 2011 and had five children, one of whom is autistic and the eldest is now 21 and the youngest six years old.

They broke up in 2015 after an argument about housekeeping, after which his ‘world came crumbling down’,’ Ms Walker said.

The court heard Rawson was depressed but instead of getting help self-medicated with meth to ‘increase his motivation’.

Rawson delved into conspiracy theories and ‘constantly’ bombarded Ms Vine with screenshots of anti-vaxxer material linking vaccines to autism.

The attack took place outside the Preston Public Library (pictured) in Melbourne

The attack took place outside the Preston Public Library (pictured) in Melbourne

Ms Vine got a restraining order but he repeatedly breached it by sending her more conspiracy theory material along with calls and text messages.

Rawson put on several community corrections orders but had stayed out of trouble for some time before his arrest last November. 

He had not been allowed to see his children for some time before he tried to snatch the boy whom he thought was his daughter.

‘His behaviour on the day was extraordinary, unwarranted, unprovoked, and not contemplated for nefarious intention,’ Ms Walker said.

‘The behaviour and intention did just make sense… he had difficulty coming to terms with what he did.’

Ms Walker argued Rawson’s actions were out of character and didn’t know mixing GHB and meth would cause the psychosis, making it a mitigating factor.

She said her client would accept a lengthy corrections order following an inevitable jail term, including wearing an ankle monitor and a curfew.

Rawson will be sentenced next Tuesday.  

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