March 2018

Former greenkeeper jailed for abusing eight-year-old boy at Whitecraigs Golf Club

A former greenkeeper at a golf club who abused a young boy there has been locked up for six years and four months.

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 returned to the High Court in Glasgow today after earlier admitting to attacks on both victims.

Lord Mulholland told him: “You subjected them to sexual abuse for your own selfish ends.

“What harm you have done them, only time will tell.

“You alone bear responsibility for your shameful conduct.”

Harkins, of Lochgilphead, Argyll and Bute, showed no emotion as he was lead to the cells.

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 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.

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 attacks 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.