A VIOLENT rapist who committed offences in Inverclyde and elsewhere and defrauded women out of more than £210,000 has been jailed. 

Christopher Harkins, 37 - branded 'contemptible' by police -  targeted single women on dating websites, quickly befriending them and gaining their trust.

He portrayed himself as a successful businessman before claiming to be experiencing issues with his bank account being frozen.  

He then asked some of his victims to lend him money for a short period of time.  

Several women borrowed significant sums in order to help him.  

Harkins, from Helensburgh, also persuaded a number of the women to transfer him money for holidays, sending them screenshots of alleged destinations.  

He persuaded them to pay for half the cost but never booked the trips away and failed to return the majority of the funds given to him.  

He pleaded guilty to the fraud charges at the High Court in Glasgow on January 16. 

Following a trial at the High Court in Paisley in May, Harkins was subsequently found guilty of raping one former partner. 

He was also convicted of filming two women in intimate situations without their consent before sending them the graphic content.  

Harkins’ offending took place between 2013 and 2019 in the Inverclyde, Airdrie, Cumbernauld, Dumbarton, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paisley and Stirling areas. 

He is today beginning his lengthy prison term after being sentenced at the High Court in Kilmarnock.

Harkins' name has been added to the sex offenders register indefinitely.  

Non-harassment orders, preventing him from contacting or attempting to contact 10 victims, have also been granted for an indefinite period.  

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.  

“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.”