Violent rapist who defrauded women in Edinburgh and across Scotland out of £210,000 jailed for 12 years 

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A 37-year-old man has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of a spate of violent offences against women in Edinburgh and across Scotland.

Christopher Harkins was sentenced at the High Court in Kilmarnock today for serious sexual and violent offences committed over a six-year period.

His offences, which took place between 2013 and 2019, involved a number of women across Edinburgh, West Lothian, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Inverclyde, Stirling and Paisley.

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Katrina Parkes, Scotland’s Procurator Fiscal for High Court Sexual Offences, said Harkins ‘clearly poses an extreme danger to women through his calculating, manipulative and violent behaviour’.

Police Scotland

It is understood Harkins, from Helensburgh, targeted single women on dating websites, portraying himself as a successful businessman before claiming to be experiencing issues with his bank account being frozen.  

After gaining their trust, Harkins, persuaded a number of the women to transfer him money for holidays, sending them screenshots of alleged destinations and failed to return the majority of the funds given to him.  

Harkins pleaded guilty to financial abuse offences on January 16 and was found guilty of violent and sexual offences including rape by a jury on May 20. Harkins was also convicted of filming two women in intimate situations without their consent.

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Non-harassment orders, preventing Harkins from contacting or attempting to contact 10 victims, has been granted for an indefinite period and he has been placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

Violent and contemptable individual

A proactive investigation into Harkins commenced in October 2019 by Police Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Task Force.

Detective Chief Inspector Lyndsay Laird said: “Christopher Harkins is a violent and contemptable individual who preyed on women looking for love and companionship. He made them believe they were in a loving and exclusive relationship but that was nowhere near the truth.

“His only motive was money. Harkins met the women through a dating app and once he had formed relationships with them he turned to manipulation, threats, coercive control and violence to obtain thousands of pounds which he used to fund his very lavish lifestyle.

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“The fact that he was convicted is a tremendous credit to the women who came forward to police.

“This case highlights that domestic abuse is not just physical or sexual, it includes abusive behaviours or financial abuse. It is often about power and control and can have life changing consequences for victims.

Ms Laird  added: "We sincerely hope this result gives confidence to others who may experience anything similar to come forward, safe in the knowledge that police will investigate.”

Scotland’s Procurator Fiscal for High Court Sexual Offences, Katrina Parkes, said: “Christopher Harkins clearly poses an extreme danger to women through his calculating, manipulative and violent behaviour.  

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“His many victims have shown immense bravery in coming forward and reporting him to the authorities. This conviction will hopefully bring some comfort to the women he targeted while protecting others from his deplorable schemes and depraved actions.    

“This was a complex case and I give thanks to the prosecution team for their efforts in securing this conviction. We want to encourage all those who believe they have been a victim of similar offending to come forward and report it. You will be listened to and we will use all the tools available to us to pursue justice.”