A HELENSBURGH rapist has been jailed for defrauding £214,000 from nine ex-partners he met online.

Christopher Harkins, 37, targeted the women between 2013 and 2019.

He was also found guilty of assaulting one of the woman to the danger of her life.

He falsely used some of his victims' names to receive payday loans and convinced one woman to take finance out on a sofa.

Gambling addict Harkins made one of the women create an online betting account in her name and used cash from her bank to place bets.

Harkins was jailed for 12 years at the High Court in Kilmarnock on Wednesday after previously pleading guilty to a string of charges which included 11 separate frauds.

In May, he went on trial at the High Court in Paisley on a number of other allegations.

A jury found him guilty of a single charge of rape, four sexual offences and of assaulting one of the women to the danger of her life.

The offences were committed between January 2013 and November 2019.

READ MORE: Helensburgh rapist and £214k fraudster 'intended to pay everything back', says lawyer

The trial heard from a 31-year-old woman who met Harkins on the Tinder dating app in August 2018.

Harkins claimed to her that he was an IT manager who also ran a wholesale currency exchange business.

He stated he needed money to pay people working for him as his bank account was "frozen".

He also stated that he needed money to pay for furniture, and claimed he would split money for a booked holiday with her to Cape Verde.

However, Harkins kept the total of £9,033 he took from the woman for himself.

She stated she caught Harkins trying to have sex with her when she was asleep at his home in Cumbernauld.

Christopher Harkins appeared at the High Court in Kilmarnock for sentencing on Wednesday, July 10Christopher Harkins appeared at the High Court in Kilmarnock for sentencing on Wednesday, July 10 (Image: Police Scotland)

'Appalling catalogue of abuse'

Harkins made out to victims that his bank account was frozen and required funds to pay clients and those working for him.

Harkins also pretended to book holidays and received money from some of the women for their half.

The amounts taken by Harkins ranged between £350 and £72,525.

Harkins also raped one of his fraud victims while she was asleep.

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Judge Alistair Watson said: "Your conduct towards your victims displays very high culpability.

"You abused the trust placed in you by each one of your victims. 

"The number, nature and manner of commission of your offending is indicative of a significant degree of planning."

Referring to the rape charge, Judge Watson said: "This occurred in circumstances where she was sleeping at the time, placed herself in a vulnerable situation, but did so believing that she was safe in your company.

"You took advantage of her trust in the most appalling manner."

'Life changing consequences for victims'

At the time of his conviction, Detective Inspector Iain Renfrew, Police Scotland 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 woman 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.
“The fact that he had been convicted is a tremendous credit to the women who came forward to police. Their testimony is why he has been convicted today.
“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.
"We sincerely hope that the conviction gives confidence to others who may experience anything similar to come forward, safe in the knowledge that police will investigate.”