A former nursery assistant who sat on 16 month-old twins while videoing her actions to make money for a holiday was shown mercy by a sheriff
Gemma McFee was spared jail because the judge believed she had been “naive” and was “manipulated and exploited” by a man with a fetish for women sitting on babies.
McFee, now 28, sent seven separate video clips to RAF serviceman Andew Kerr, who recruited her through Facebook.
McFee, who was 25 and unemployed at the time of the offences, had wept openly in the dock as the video clips showing her placing a cushion on the 16-month-old twin babies and repeatedly sitting and putting her weight on them were played in court.
The boy and girl could be seen in severe discomfort, crying and struggling to breathe at times as she applied “significant” pressure.
Prosecutor Kirsten Letford said Kerr, who had posed as a film stuntman, had initially paid McFee to stand on him, under the guise of it being for a film.
Mrs Letford said: “He then incited her to sit on the babies for payment and from the conversation between them she was a willing participant, for financial gain.
“He gave her detailed instructions and asked her to send him recordings of the assaults. She would be paid for the clips.”
Facebook conversations Kerr had with the accused were read out in court.
On June 18, 2018 Kerr stated: “You can do it on the floor but usually easier to start on the bed or sofa, that way you can apply your full weight.”
He also suggested that she smother the babies, and that she sit on their heads.
Mrs Letford said: “When it is clear she is motivated by financial gain he tells her that the higher quality the clips were the bigger the financial gain would be for her, adding that she needed to cover more of the child and put more weight on them.
“At the time of these assaults, bank statements show she was experiencing some financial difficulties.
“Throughout the conversation,she continually asks questions about how much money she would receive for making the video clips.
“At one stage when asked to make another video she stated, ‘Yeah will do. I’m due a holiday so let’s see if I can make as much as possible’.”
In one conversation McFee told Kerr: “He really really didn’t like that last one. I’ll have to stop and give him a breather.”
The video clips, ranging from four to forty seconds in length, were played in court, showing the accused sitting on the bodies of the children and the head of one of them, placing varying degrees of body weight on them.
One clip showed her kneeling in front of one of the babies and thrusting her buttocks backwards towards the child, while a still photograph showed her sitting on one of the babies.
The videos showed McFee increasing the weight on the children by placing a cushion on top of their bodies — and in one clip on a child’s head — and sitting on the cushion.
Mrs Letford said: “Each of the children appeared to be laughing and giggling at the beginning, however as she places more body weight onto them they become extremely distressed, crying out and attempting to escape from underneath her.”
She was sentenced to 200 hours community service, placed on a restriction of liberty order for eight months, and under social work supervision for three years.
Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown also ordered banned her from having any contact with any child under 17.
The sentence was handed down at Dundee Sheriff Court last November (2019), but any mention of the case was banned until the resolution of proceedings against Kerr.
McFee, a mother-of-two, of Barry, Angus, pleaded guilty in October 2019 to assaulting the twins, a boy and a girl, who cannot be identified, to the danger of their lives, at a house in Arbroath, in June 2018.
Kerr, 35, has pleaded guilty to inciting McFee to commit the offences.
He also admitted attempting to incite a woman in Elgin to assault a child by sitting and standing on them, and possessing child abuse images at addresses including RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.
Sentence on Kerr was deferred for social workers to study a report on him by a psychosexual therapist.
Dealing with McFee, Sheriff Martin-Brown said it was her view that a non-custodial sentence would achieve the purposes of punishment and societal disapproval as well as give an opportunity for “effective rehabilitation”.