Serial domestic abuser faces life sentence to protect public

Craig Harkins was convicted of 16 charges against his former partners, including rape and assault.

A man who abused four former partners, raping two of them, is facing a lifelong restriction order.

Craig Harkins, 39, was convicted of his crimes last month following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

One victim kept a harrowing diary detailing how she suffered at his hands.

The woman was raped as her children screamed nearby.

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Harkins drowned her young son’s hamster and then blow-dried it before putting it back in its cage for the boy to find.

Appearing on Tuesday, judge Lady Rae ordered an assessment be carried out to determine the danger Harkins poses and whether a lifelong restriction order should be imposed to protect other women.

Lady Rae said: “There is a pattern of behaviour here and there is a likelihood that the accused will endanger the public at large if at liberty.”

Defence QC Donald Findlay said: “Rather than calling it a life sentence it is dressed up as a restriction of liberty order.

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“Each of the woman involved entered voluntary into a relationship with Mr Harkins and each remained in a relationship after events occurred.”

Harkins was convicted of 16 charges, including raping two of the women, as well as crimes of assault and threatening behaviour.

One partner was raped, left blistered by bleach and had eye-lashes pulled out.

Another was left concussed while pregnant. Harkins even threatened to video-call footage of him attacking her elderly father.

A fourth woman was battered amid false claims she had flirted with a hotel waiter.

The crimes occurred between September 2006 and early 2019 at addresses in Glasgow’s Castlemilk as well as Rutherglen and East Kilbride, Lanarkshire.

Harkins was initially described by partners as “fun loving” and “charming” but, he quickly turned into a violent bully, who controlled their lives.

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Harkins, from Rutherglen, denied all the charges against him.

Lady Rae at an earlier hearing told Harkins: “It is difficult to find words to describe what you did. You treated women disgracefully with no regard for their feelings.”

Sentence was deferred until May 21 for the risk assessment to be prepared.