In a shocking case that highlights the horrors of child exploitation, a courageous teenage boy has confronted his abusers, Stewart Iain Berry and his ex-husband Matthew Campbell. This brave survivor, who endured unimaginable trauma starting at the tender age of 14, has labeled the perpetrators as “oxygen thieves” who he believes don’t belong on this earth.
The 39-year-old Stewart Iain Berry, a former senior prison guard with the state’s correctional services department, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a child and producing child exploitation material. His accomplice, Matthew Campbell, also pleaded guilty to producing child exploitation material. The revelation came to light during a search of their Salisbury Park home, where authorities discovered a covert camera disguised as a clock radio in the bathroom and disturbing video files of children.
The court learned that the victim, now 19, initially met Berry through his father, who worked with the offender. The young boy was lured into the offenders’ home under the guise of performing chores for money. Tragically, these tasks often involved the victim showering at the premises, strategically placing him in the vicinity of the hidden camera.
In a heart-wrenching victim impact statement, the survivor recounted the “cowardly and selfish actions” that irreversibly altered his life. He spoke of sleepless nights, relentless questioning, and the profound impact on his self-identity, emphasising how the perpetrators shattered any hope of a normal future. Addressing Berry and Campbell, he condemned them as “gutless cowards” who callously exploited his vulnerability.
The victim’s mother, reading her own statement in court, expressed feeling betrayed by the perpetrators. She grappled with guilt, feeling she failed to protect her children from these “sick monsters.” The survivor’s mother vowed to neither forget nor forgive these individuals.
Outside the courtroom, the victim described Berry and Campbell as “oxygen thieves” and advocated for their imprisonment, asserting that there is no room in the world for such individuals. His strong support system, particularly his family, played a crucial role in helping him navigate the aftermath of this traumatic experience.
As the legal proceedings continue, the prosecution highlighted the perpetrators’ disturbing obsession with the victim, culminating in an order for Berry to attend court in December. Campbell’s defense acknowledged the inappropriateness of his actions, attributing them to a desire to maintain his relationship with Berry. Despite this, the court remanded Campbell on bail to face sentencing next month.
This harrowing case sheds light on the urgent need for society to address child exploitation, providing support for survivors and ensuring that those responsible face the consequences of their reprehensible actions. The survivor’s bravery in confronting his abusers serves as a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of darkness.