January 2018

Newton Mearns paedophile behind bars for abusing children as young as eight

A former greenkeeper at a golf club abused a young boy there during a series of attacks.

James Harkins preyed on the child, who was just eight when he first pounced.

The 64-year-old had been employed at Whitecraigs Golf Club in upmarket Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire.

A judge heard how Harkins also tried to rape a young girl, who he has previously been convicted of attacking.

The pervert is now behind bars after he pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to abusing both victims.

Harkins, now of Lochgilphead, Argyll and Bute, will learn his fate next month.

The crimes occurred from 1986 to 1995.

The boy was aged eight to 13 when he was preyed upon.

The attacks began at a house in Newton Mearns where Harkins lived at the time.

The pervert told the boy it was to be their “secret”.

Prosecutor Gordon Lamont said the abuse then “escalated” to the extent it felt “normal” to the victim.

The court heard he was also pounced on the boy at Whitecraigs Golf Club where Harkins was a greenkeeper at the time.

 

It occurred in a hut and a bothy there.

The boy was further attacked on a fishing trip in Stewarton, Ayrshire as well as in a works’ lorry that Harkins drove.

As Mr Lamont gave details of the abuse, Harkins, at one point, sat in the dock shaking his head.

The victim did not tell anyone at the time what happened. He felt he had “no one to speak to” and that he would not be believed.

He eventually spoke to police in England in 2012, but the court was told he “heard nothing” back.

It was in 2016, he then went to officers in Scotland and a probe began.

The investigation led detectives to another victim.

She was aged between seven to 10 at the time of the incidents.

This victim had previously reported being abused by Harkins. This resulted in him being locked up in 1996.

 

But, during this fresh probe, she revealed further incidents that she had not spoken about before.

This included her being attacked at another house in Newton Mearns while she was asleep.

He later tried to rape the girl as she cried: “stop, stop”.

Harkins said to his terrified victim: “No one will believe you and they will take you away from your family.”

Police detained Harkins in September 2016 at his home in Lochgilphead.

Sick Harkins claimed he had got “urges” when the abuse happened.

Harkins pled guilty to a string of charges including lewd and libidinous behaviour and attempted rape.

Lewis Kennedy, defending, told the court: “He is realistic about his fate.”

The advocate asked for bail to be continued.

But, Lord Mulholland said Harkins was now guilty of “very serious matters” and remanded him in custody.

He is due to be sentenced on February 14 in Edinburgh.

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