Man escapes from psychiatric ward then allegedly douses woman in

A 25-year-old man is wanted by Victoria Police after an aggravated burglary in Melbourne’s north.

The man is believed to be an involuntary patient at Austin Hospital’s psychiatric ward before he escaped the facility on Friday.

He broke into the International College of Meditation and Hearing, a wellness retreat on Salisbury Grove in Northcote, at about 1:30am on Saturday, Police allege.

The man, identified by Police as 25-year-old Bartholemew Griffith, forcefully entered the property where he turned on a gas stove before abruptly leaving.

He was then spotted by CCTV entering a Fairfield service station where he bought a jerrycan of petrol before returning to the Salisbury Grove property at about 2:50am.

Griffith proceeded to pour fuel all across the property before attempting to set it alight by igniting pieces of paper.

He was then confronted by a 52-year-old woman who was staying at the property and had locked the security door.

Police alleged Griffith doused the woman and the door with petrol and begun throwing matches at her.

After failing to ignite the property for a second time, Griffith fled on foot.

Police are appealing to the public to assist in trying to locate the man.

Senior Constable Cameron Ashworth said the address and the victim were known to Griffith.

Police believe the pair had both been at the clinic together, but that the victim was not the target rather the property itself was.

“Bartholemew is an involuntary patient at the psych ward, he does require care and does need to receive that care police believe he has a perceived wrong with that location,” Snr Constable Ashworth said.

“But we are appealing to the public to assist us locating Bartholemew and returnuing him back to the hospital where he can receive the urgent care he needs.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Triple Zero (000).

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