A HELENSBURGH man repeatedly abused two children by forcing them to play along with his bizarre fantasy that he was a three-year-old girl.

Simon Cunningham admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner towards the children at a property in the town, and sexually assaulting one of his victims.

One of the offences of abuse was carried out over the course of almost 10 years, while the second was committed on various occasions across a period of seven years.

The 46-year-old was put on the sex offenders register after pleading guilty to three charges at an earlier hearing.

Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard last week that Cunningham had admitted shouting offensive remarks, and telling one of the children that he was an ‘adult baby’ and that he enjoyed dressing up as a three-year-old child called Molly.

The court was told that between April 2011 and March 2021, Cunningham repeatedly dressed up as a baby in the child’s presence, including wearing adult nappies, and provided the child with a baby bottle and dummy on various occasions.

He also offered the child a nappy to wear, sent them text messages describing to the child his experiences of dressing up as “Molly”, and made references to standing in front of the child in a soiled nappy, asking them to buy him new ones.

Cunningham also pleaded guilty to a second charge in which he made another child wear nappies while they slept.

That charge stated that he “expressed disappointment” when the child did not soil the nappy, and accused the child of wasting his money by not doing so.

That offence was committed on various occasions between March 2014 and March 2021.

As well as dressing up as ‘Molly’ in front of the second child, in a costume which, according to the charge admitted by Cunningham, included a “baby-girl style dress, wig and accessories in form of a bottle and dummy”, he would encourage the child to change into a nappy and to watch cartoons with him whilst pretending to be a toddler.

Cunningham, who was listed in court papers as currently being a resident of West Princes Street, pleaded guilty to a third charge alleging that he sexually assaulted one of the two children on a single occasion between March 2014 and March 2016 by forcing them to remove their lower clothing, putting a cloth over their naked lower body, and touching them on the body in order to put a nappy on them when there was no need.

Sentence had been deferred until March 22 to allow social workers to prepare a background report – but at the hearing, a judge said he still needed to know more about Cunningham before deciding how to sentence him.

Addressing Cunningham’s solicitor, Kenny McGowan, Sheriff Maxwell Hendry said: “The [social work] report tells me that it is likely to have caused psychological trauma, the extent of which is unknown.

“Does he recognise and the impact of what he has done?”

Mr McGowan replied: “He does his utmost to accept responsibility. He indicates that his actions were inappropriate and wrong.

“His conduct could very much have a very adverse effect.”

Addressing Cunningham Sheriff Hendry said: “If you have gained the impression that I take the view this is an extremely serious matter, then you have gained the correct impression.

“I am not going to make a decision today because I want to gain further information.”

Sentence was further deferred until May.