An incident in Falkirk, Scotland, went viral after a local mom posted a story about a stranger trying to lure her daughter and a friend into the woods. Furthermore, it was only the actions of a local bystander that prevented this individual from getting away with the children. As a result, he was treated as a hero.
The mom of one of the girls explained the events in her Facebook post. She said, “This absolute beastie scum tried to get my daughter and her friend to go into the woods with him in broad daylight. They were playing at the park when he’s approached them on his bike asking if they would help him find his jacket.”
Obviously, this was deeply concerning to all involved. Additionally, the man was 50 years old and had no business trying to talk to two young girls. However, although the post did not state it explicitly, it’s implied that the stranger may have succeeded in convincing the girls to follow him.
This incident has highlighted a growing problem in Scotland. It’s important to remember that as many as 24 children a year are either abducted or nearly abducted in the country. Furthermore, half of the cases concerning children under the age of 16 involve strangers.
However, this particular incident in Falkirk could have turned out a lot worse. Other cases have seen abductions actually take place, rather than only being attempted. One incident in Glasgow saw a man being arrested by police after abducting a girl aged six.
So, when this 50-year-old stranger tried to lure the girls in Falkirk, he might have gotten away with it. However, this time there was a bystander who decided to play the part of the hero. As a result, the girls were made safe, but the hero was the most unlikely of people.
Indeed, he was a man who goes by the name Viper “The Freak” MacDonald. He earned that nickname on the basis of his snake-like facial tattoos. Because of this, he doesn’t look like the poster boy for a typical have-a-go hero.
However, Viper MacDonald earned the undying admiration of two Falkirk moms when he saw what was happening and raced over to protect the girls. Subsequently, he pinned the stranger to the ground and told the girls to run for safety. Furthermore, he kept the man pinned down until police arrived.
One of the relieved moms posted about the daring heroes. She said, “Rather than sharing the picture of the ba**ard that has been charged with attempted abduction of our daughters, share the hero’s photo. Last night Viper… saw our daughters being taken away by a man and questioned what was going on.”
She continued, “We will never be able to express our thanks to him and his family enough. This is the people you should be sharing and talking about, not the beast that’s currently in a jail cell. People who put the safety of their community first and aren’t afraid to question a situation that looks wrong.”
However, although the post was quick to praise Viper, the mom did actually include the threatening stranger’s name. Or at least, the name he gave to police when he was arrested for attempted abduction. In a post that was shared thousands of times, she said, “He’s given the name John Crawford to police.”
Concurrently, Police Scotland put out a statement telling those worried about this issue to call police. It said, “Police Scotland is committed to protecting and keeping children safe within our communities, focusing on prevention… with a view to identifying those that may be at risk.”
We may never know what John Crawford had in mind for the girls, or how sinister his plans were. However, there have been chilling similar events in Scotland before. Back in the ’90s, serial killer Robert Black famously abducted a girl from a town in the country.
However, this case was much more serious for the victim, and she didn’t have Viper MacDonald around to help her. In fact, she was abducted by the notorious serial killer. Although she was later rescued that same day, she was sexually abused, tied up, gagged and stuffed inside a sleeping bag.
According to watchdog group Action Against Abduction, the majority of child abductions are sexually motivated. Furthermore, in 90 percent of child sex abuse cases, the perpetrator is known to the young victim.
Action Against Abduction’s chief executive, Geoff Newiss, said, “the old fashioned scenario of a man luring a young girl into a car has not changed all that much.” As a result, this attempt in Falkirk may have been more spontaneous, in that the man was riding his bike when he stopped to talk to the girls.
Allegedly, the official numbers of abductions, especially in Scotland, are said to be lower than reality. This is due to the fact that many abductions and attempted abductions are never reported to the authorities for a variety of reasons. Consequently, this may be a more serious issue than we realize.
Increasingly, the threat to children is not from strangers approaching them like the incident in Falkirk. Rather, it’s online that children face the greater threat. Furthermore, the internet is being used by would-be abductors to groom children and have them meet up in real life.
In keeping the predator pinned down until police arrived, Viper MacDonald did exactly the right thing. An NSPCC spokesman said, “It is essential that the perpetrators are caught before they harm any other children.” Now, John Crawford will be forever known to authorities and they can keep track of him.
Ultimately, parents always need to be aware of where their children are and who they’re with. Consequently, asking them these questions and setting proper boundaries is the right course of action. This way, the children know what they have to do if confronted by a man like this one in Falkirk.