Christopher Harkins: Tinder swindler convicted of rape and other serious offences across Scotland

20 May 2024, 16:18 | Updated: 20 May 2024, 18:16

A "violent and contemptible" Tinder swindler who "preyed on women looking for love" has been convicted of a spate of offences - including rape.

Christopher Harkins, 37, used the dating app to meet women and would go on to coerce them into giving him thousands of pounds.

A Police Scotland detective said Harkins used "manipulation, threats, coercive control and violence" to fund his "very lavish lifestyle".

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

Police Scotland's domestic abuse task force launched a major investigation into his crimes in October 2019.

Harkins pleaded guilty to the financial abuse charges in January.

He denied the violent and sexual offences but was found guilty by a jury at the High Court in Paisley on Monday.

Detective Inspector Iain Renfrew said: "Christopher Harkins is a violent and contemptible 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.

"The fact that he has been convicted is a tremendous credit to the women who came forward to police. Their testimony is why he has been convicted today."

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Harkins will be sentenced on 3 July.

DI Renfrew added: "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 today's conviction gives confidence to others who may experience anything similar to come forward, safe in the knowledge that police will investigate."