A pair of Mormon Bishops watched in a church office as a woman demonstrated how she kicked a teenage girl in the stomach shortly after she gave birth, a jury has been told.
Dennis Campbell and his wife Avril are alleged to have carried out systematic violent abuse against two children over a period of several years.
The jury at Dundee Sheriff Court has heard how the couple administered “almost daily” beatings with a belt and regularly kicked and punched the young children.
They were told on Thursday how Avril Campbell was in the office with Mormon Bishop John Keogh Jnr, when she gave a demonstration of how she kicked a teenager in the stomach.
She gave an “angry” response when she was quizzed about the incident at their local Mormon church, the trial heard.
The jury was told Avril Campbell, 74, and her husband Dennis Campbell, 77 – himself a Mormon Bishop – were prone to bouts of “rage and anger” which led to attacks on children.
Bishop’s office confrontation
A man and woman, now in their 50s, told the court Dennis Campbell – a Bishop himself – and his wife Avril would beat them with a belt when they were young children.
The female complainer’s 52-year-old husband said she had first raised concerns about the Campbells’ behaviour towards her shortly after they met more than 30 years ago.
He said Avril Campbell’s confession about kicking the girl took place in the Bishop’s office in the mid-90s and the accused woman tried to play down the force she had used.
“It was 1995 or 1996, in the Mormon church, in the Bishop’s office.
“It was me, my wife, Dennis and Avril Campbell, and John Keogh Jnr, who was Bishop at the time.
“We were meeting with one of the leaders in the church and there was quite a heated discussion about an event that had happened just after she had given birth as a teenager.
“Avril jumped up and demonstrated how she kicked her in the stomach as she was lying on the floor, a few weeks after she had given birth.
“She was angry and jumped up and was like ‘this is how it happened – I just tapped her’.
“I didn’t believe that.
“I have seen the rage and anger that comes from the two of them.
“They kept wanting her (the alleged victim) to take back what she said.”
The trial has heard how the Bishop and his wife would subject children to “frenzied” beatings on a regular basis and would use a belt to administer punishment.
The female complainer, now 52, told the court she would be told Avril Campbell was “an angel” and that the couple were well-liked pillars of the community.
She said: “Growing up, there was frenzied, angry slapping, and smacking and kicking.
“Slapping on the face. (Avril) was kicking me in the stomach.
“That’s just how it was. She would just get irritated or angry at me and she would react.
“It would be for eye-rolling, a messy bedroom, backchat, that kind of thing.
“There was a lot of fear. I tried to run away. I was very anxious.
“I used to wet myself all the time. If you looked the wrong way you would get hit.”
The other witness told the trial he had been lashed with the belt on an almost daily basis while he was staying with the couple at their homes in Dundee and Angus.
He described how he was forced to eat whole bars of soap, made to stand outside in winter when he was naked and was kicked as he cowered on the floor.
The Campbells, of King Street, Broughty Ferry, are accused of attacking and neglecting children at addresses around Dundee and Angus between 1976 and 1990.
Fiscal depute Lora Apostolova closed the Crown’s case.
Both accused deny the charges against them and the trial, before Sheriff Paul Brown, continues.