A drug fiend caught on camera attempting to kidnap a child from his father’s arms could walk free from from jail in a little over a year.
Footage of Michael Paul Rawson, 41, attempting to kidnap the little boy shocked Australia after it was revealed by Daily Mail Australia last week.
On Tuesday, Rawson was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria to four-and-a-half years in jail with a non-parole period of just two years and three months.
He has already served 302 days behind bars.
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
In sentencing the father of five, Judge Felicity Hampel said she accepted Rawson had been in a ‘transient drug induced psychotic state’ when he grabbed the boy and bashed his father.
Rawson had been on a methylamphetamine bender for days which was topped-off by a squirt of gamma hydroxybutyrate he claimed to have found on a park bench.
Judge Hampel said while a defence of mental impairment could not be used by Rawson to wriggle out of accepting responsibility for his actions, she said the bender had reduced his moral culpability.
The judge accepted Rawson’s behaviour had been ‘spontaneous’ and ‘random’ while describing his actions as ‘every parent’s nightmare’.
Rawson 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.
Rawson, a truck driver, had supposedly believed the toddler was his own estranged daughter.
The father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, wrestled his son back but was dragged into nearby bushes with Rawson’s arm around this neck.
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.
Julio Alberto ran over to help but was unable to stop Rawson pulling the child away and making a run for it down Gower Street.
Mr Alberto 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.
A struggle ensued between Rawson – now wearing just a Hawthorn AFL jumper, grey pants, and bare feet – and two witnesses as the father comforted his child.
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 lip and bruises to his eye and the back of his head while his son was traumatised and screaming.
Rawson pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping, assault, causing reckless injury, resisting arrest, and assaulting an emergency officer
The father has a conversation on the phone while his son plays in a garden outside the Preston Public Library in Melbourne
Judge Hampel described CCTV footage of the attack as ‘harrowing’.
She said Rawson’s victims had now lost their sense of safety in their own community.
While Judge Hampel said Rawson’s drug binge may have earned him some time off jail for the attempted kidnapping, he could not rely upon it for what happened next.
After the attack, Rawson was taken to the Austin Hospital where he tried to escape from his bed while ‘screaming and thrashing’.
He grabbed a police officer’s wrist and squeezed and twisted it until he was restrained and strapped to the bed.
Rawson pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping, assault, reckless causing injury, resisting arrest, and assaulting an emergency officer.
Judge Hampel suggested her sentence ought send a message to the community that the court’s would punish offenders who dared to behave like Rawson.
The maximum sentence for attempted kidnapping is 20 years, with the other assault charges carrying five year sentences each.
‘Seeing the aftermath … the tenderness of which the father held and stroked his child after you ran away just shows how terrified he must have been and why it’s so important that the sentence reflect the denounciation and condemnation and behaviour,’ Judge Hampel said.
Rawson runs over to the father as son as the dad helps the toddler down from the bench
Rawson grabs the child and his father desperately wrestles with him to prevent the toddler being taken away
The court heard Rawson had broken up with the mother of his five children in 2015 after an argument about housekeeping, after which his ‘world came crumbling down’.
His barrister earlier told the court he turned to the deadly drug ice to ‘increase his motivation’.
Rawson had delved into conspiracy theories and ‘constantly’ bombarded his estranged partner with screenshots of anti-vaxxer material linking vaccines to autism.
His Facebook page is littered with hundreds of bizarre images, memes, and links to conspiracy theory material.
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 struggle ensued between Rawson – now wearing just a Hawthorn AFL jumper, grey pants, and bare feet – and two witnesses as the father comforted his child
The court heard Rawson repeatedly breached intervention orders against his ex-partner and had thumbed his nose at previous community based orders by breaching those too.
He had prior convictions for possessing cannabis and for performing a burnout on his own wedding day.
Rawson had not been allowed to see his children for some time before he tried to snatch the boy whom he thought was his daughter.
Judge Hampel told the court she took into account Rawson’s previous good behaviour and work history in addition to his early plea and remorse.