A former firefighter who directed sex attacks and rapes of young girls in the Philippines from his home in the Highlands has been jailed in a ground-breaking legal case.
Gary Campbell, 59, from a remote village in Sutherland, was traced by cybercrime investigators after making online payments to foreign accounts.
In what is thought to be a legal first in Scotland, prosecutors were able to prove Campbell’s direct involvement in the rape and sexual assault of girls thousands of miles away.
The former retained firefighter – who also worked for Scottish Water – admitted sexual abuse charges involving children as young as four, with the eldest no older than 13.
“Gary Campbell was actively involved in a paedophile network in which children were abused for money and on-request”Fraser Gibson, procurator fiscal for high court sexual offences
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) proved Campbell was personally involved in the abuse and just as responsible for the attacks as his fellow perpetrators in the Philippines, known in law as “art and part” guilt.
Campbell negotiated online payments and issued explicit instructions as children were assaulted while he watched over Skype.
In real-time, he demanded that the victims be very young as he initiated serious sexual assaults and rapes which he recorded.
He was tracked to his home in Scotland after an international investigation into the live-streaming of child sex assaults by abusers in the Philippines where the recordings were recovered.
“The extent and nature of his offending is utterly appalling”Detective chief inspector Michael Smith, Police Scotland
Campbell, who has since moved to Perth, pled guilty to 13 charges at the High Court in Edinburgh in February.
He was convicted under legislation designed to protect children anywhere in the world from sexual abuse by British nationals.
In court on Friday, March 24, Campbell was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
He was further given a three-year sentence extension, during which he will be subject to close supervision.
His name was added to the sex offenders register indefinitely.
Fraser Gibson, Scotland’s procurator fiscal for high court sexual offences, said Campbell was complicit and instrumental in appalling crimes against children.
“Gary Campbell was actively involved in a paedophile network in which children were abused for money and on-request,” he said.
“The girls assaulted and raped in the Philippines were vulnerable young children suffering dreadful abuse and exploitation.
“British nationals who sexually abuse children abroad will face justice here. Legislation allows us to prosecute them and we will use every power available to us to ensure that they do, working with specialist police, international partners and cybercrime teams to track down these abusers.
“I would urge anyone with information or knowledge of this kind of offending to come forward and report it as soon as they can.”
Commenting on the case, an NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) Scotland spokesperson said: “This is a deeply disturbing case, which shows the devastating harm that child sexual abusers can cause online.
“Campbell instigated and directed the sexual abuse of very young and vulnerable children, who will desperately need support and care to help them, following the trauma they have suffered.
“The Government needs to ensure its Online Safety Bill robustly disrupts the online activity of abusers by holding companies to account if they fail to tackle the way their platforms contribute to child sexual abuse.
“Anyone concerned about a child’s safety can contact the NSPCC Helpline at email@example.com.”
Detective chief inspector Michael Smith, of Police Scotland’s Specialist Crime Division Public Protection, said Campbell was a “dangerous predator”.
“The extent and nature of his offending is utterly appalling,” he said.
“He will now face the consequences of his despicable actions in prison.
“Protecting children online and offline is an absolute priority for Police Scotland and we are committed to building safer virtual communities for everyone. We want to help keep people safe online.
“We treat all reports of sexual crimes seriously and sensitively and I would encourage any victims of sexual crimes to come forward and report the circumstances, in confidence, to Police, knowing we will investigate thoroughly.
“Anyone who wants to report a crime can contact Police Scotland by calling 101.”