A former nursery assistant who sat on two young children while videoing her actions to make money for a holiday was shown mercy by a sheriff, it can now be revealed.
Gemma McFee was spared jail because 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 Andrew Kerr, who recruited her through Facebook.
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 banned her from having any contact with any child under 17.
The sentence was handed down at Dundee Sheriff Court in November but any mention of the case was banned until the resolution of proceedings against Kerr.
McFee, of Barry, Angus, pled guilty in October 2019 to assaulting children, under the age of two, to the danger of their lives, at a house in Arbroath, in June 2018.
Kerr, 35, pled 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 a non-custodial sentence would achieve the purposes of punishment and societal disapproval as well as give an opportunity for “effective rehabilitation”.
She told McFee, a first offender: “Although you committed assaults against two very young children, it’s clear that you did not intend to harm or physically hurt the children.
“You exercised extremely poor judgement at a time when your mental health was frail and you were experiencing financial difficulties.
“You were manipulated and exploited by a male who took advantage of your vulnerable state.
“I think that your relative youth may provide an explanation for your naivety in response to the suggestion posed by the male.
“It is accepted there was no actual danger to the lives of the two children. Had the assaults continued then their lives would have been in danger, but they did not.
“No medical treatment was required and you eventually came to your senses and refused the increasingly more dangerous suggestions [made by Kerr].
“While the psychological impact of the knowledge of these offences when the children are older is unknown, there is no significant physical impact upon them.
“You’ve expressed considerable remorse.”
McFee, who was 25 and unemployed at the time of the offences, had wept openly in the dock as the video clips were played in court, showing her placing a cushion on babies and repeatedly sitting and putting her weight on them.
Thy could be seen in severe discomfort, crying and struggling to breathe at times.
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.”
He also suggested 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’.”
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.”
Medical evidence showed it was unlikely that the children had suffered any physical damage from the assaults, the prosecutor said. However had the assaults continued for any longer, doctors said, it would have caused danger to their lives.
Sheriff Martin-Brown said said McFee had “fully co-operated” with the police and could have been required to give evidence against Kerr.