September 2018

High-risk sex offender jailed indefinitely for attacks on girls in Fife

A high-risk sex offender who attacked two schoolgirls after being released early from prison has been jailed for an indefinite period of time.

Michael Harlow, 26, bought alcohol for underage girls in Cowdenbeath before indecently assaulting a 14-year-old.

Two weeks later, he dragged a 15-year-old girl down an alley in Dunfermline before she managed to break free.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard the attacks took place while Harlow was banned from approaching children.

Harlow had been freed from Perth jail in December 2016 after being imprisoned for an earlier breach of the order.

The latest attacks took place on 20 February and 2 March this year.

The court heard he has five convictions for breaching the notification requirements of the sex offenders register and three for breaching sexual harm orders.

Judge Lord Uist imposed on Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) on Harlow and told him: “That constitutes a sentence of imprisonment for an indefinite period.”

Lord Uist said an experienced psychiatrist who produced a risk assessment report on Harlow concluded that he had “an enduring propensity to seriously endanger the public”.

He pointed out that a forensic psychologist who was asked to produce a report for the defence had assessed him as being “a high risk to the safety of the public at large on being at liberty”.

The judge told Harlow he would fix a minimum period of 30 months that he must serve in jail before he becomes eligible to apply for release on parole.

Lord Uist added: “You must not assume you will be released at the end of that period. You will be released only when it is considered no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you continue to be confined in prison.”

Harlow was also told that he would be on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

August 2015

Offender’s false ID to date mother

A sex offender ignored a court order to stay away from children and took on a false identity to date a young mum via social media.

Michael Harlow, 23, a prisoner at Perth, admitted that between June 11 and 26 at a house in Dunfermline, he breached a Risk of Sexual Harm Order which prevented him having contact with any child under the age of 16.

Depute fiscal Claire Bremner told Dunfermline Sheriff Court that the woman was a single parent with a young son and daughter.

She had put her profile on a Facebook dating site and began online conversations with Harlow, who was acting under the name of ‘Michael Hatchet’

He began to spend nights at the house and was in contact with the children.

The mother reported that most of Harlow’s attention was aimed at her daughter and she began to feel uneasy with his presence in the home.

After ending the relationship, she later received a message from a woman who said she was Harlow’s former partner, that he was a sex offender and was using a false name.

Sheriff Simon Collins told Harlow this had been a “serious, premeditated and prolonged” breach of the Risk of Sexual Harm Order and ordered Harlow to serve 263 days in prison, the unexpired portion of a previous sentence.

He also sentenced him to serve 22 months consecutive to that term for this latest offence.

February 2014

Jail for man sheriff labels ‘danger and predator’

A sheriff labelled a 22- year- old man a “predator” towards children as he jailed him yesterday.

Sheriff Grant McCulloch sentenced Michael Harlow, a prisoner at Perth, to 26 months at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

Harlow was subject to A Risk of Sexual Harm Order prohibiting him from living in accommodation not approved by the chief constable but on occasions between November 19 and November 24, he failed to stay in approved accommodation at Keir Hardie Street, Methil, contrary to the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005.

Harlow also failed to adhere to instructions that, having been granted bail on November 19 on the condition he did not approach or contact his former partner, he, on November 28, at an address in Kirkcaldy, failed to comply and approached and contacted the woman.

Harlow, who pled guilty, was told by the sheriff: “This is your second conviction under the Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences Scotland Act.

“You were placed in accommodation so the authorities could keep an eye on you, as you are a danger and a predator.

“You need to be kept on a short leash.”