A senior Met police officer faces prison after ‘using his anti-terror’ skills to secretly film nude models with spy cameras hidden in tissue boxes, phone charges, glasses and keys.
The police officer contacted the women through dating sites under the guise of being an airline pilot named Harrison before using a variety of high-end spyware devices to video them during bogus photoshoots.
He left the women feeling ’embarrassed and humiliated’, with one victim citing the murder of Sarah Everard as she described the traumatic impact of one photoshoot.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: ‘Following the murder of Sarah Everard this feels like a very frightening time to be a woman.’
‘If we can’t turn to the police to protect us, what are we supposed to do?’
DI Corbel, once a lead investigator on an ‘extremely lethal’ case in which he saved ‘countless lives’, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday to be sentenced for 19 counts of voyeurism.
Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Neil Corbel, 40, used devices hidden in items including tissue boxes, phone chargers, an air freshener, and glasses to video his unsuspecting victims
Corbel pictured outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to 19 voyeurism offences
However, the case was sent to crown court where Corbel could face a harsher penalty.
The court heard that police found 51 women had been recorded, 31 of whom were identified and 19 agreed to make statements.
Corbel, part of the team involved in the London Bridge terror attack in June 2017, used a variety of everyday items including tissue boxes, phone chargers, air fresheners, glasses, keys and headphones, to record his unsuspecting victims.
The officer was caught when a model who had agreed to pose naked for a photo shoot became suspicious of a digital clock.
An internet search of the brand name revealed the device was a high-end spyware video recording device which could be controlled from a smartphone.
Opening the case, prosecutor Babatunde Alabi said Corbel, from Hertfordshire, was a police officer when the offences were committed.
He added: ‘He contacted victims online using the name Harrison. He claimed to be an airline pilot who had an interest in photography.
‘He recorded the victims using cameras disguised as everyday items, including phone chargers, tissue boxes, digital clocks, air fresheners and headphones, in addition to using a mobile phone and DSLR camera with which he was taking still photographs.’
Four of the women faced Corbel in court, three of whom took to the witness box to read their victim impact statements.
One model, who was secretly recorded twice by Corbel, said: ‘I feel I was betrayed.
‘It is particularly upsetting knowing he is a high-ranking police officer. I would expect far better from someone in his position.’
Another said: ‘The fact the defendant is a police officer has scared me and shocked me.
The senior Metropolitan Police officer who used spy cameras to secretly film naked women may have used his background in counter-terrorism to obtain the devices
‘He’s supposed to enforce the law.
‘I expect he knows how to deal with people and he’s used his knowledge, experience and training to manipulate me. He was so charming and believable in his role.
‘I just ask myself what else was he capable of?’
Other victims, who were not in court, mentioned the case of 33-year-old marketing executive Ms Everard, who was snatched off the street before being raped and murdered by Met Pc Wayne Couzens.
Couzens, 48, was handed a whole life prison term last month.
The victim said: ‘The fact that he is policeman is a huge deal.
‘These people are meant to protect us. Following the murder of Sarah Everard this feels like a very fragile time to be a woman.
‘Sex work can be dangerous, though I’m lucky in this is the first form of violence I have experienced at work.
‘If you can’t trust police officers, then what are we supposed to do?’
Edward Henry QC, defending Corbel, said in mitigation that the case was ‘light years away’ and disputed the ‘idea he was using his skill as a police officer’.
He added that Corbel suffers from ‘sex addiction’.
Mr Henry QC also referenced his ‘single-handed determination’ in ‘leading and investigating a case which was extremely lethal and he thwarted, he foiled it, saving countless lives’.
Corbel, who has been suspended from his role within the Met’s Continuous Policing Improvement Command, pleaded guilty to 19 voyeurism offences at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in September and appeared to be sentenced on Tuesday.
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring, though, sent the case to Isleworth Crown Court for sentencing at a later date after deeming his powers to jail Corbel for a maximum of one year were insufficient.
He said: ‘I agree with the submission that addiction is an illness. I can’t agree with him in the end that my powers are sufficient. First of all, the offending had substantial planning.
‘There is a suggestion that he used his knowledge in his formal work to secure surveillance equipment. All of the women were vulnerable in some way.
‘On any view, the offending involved considerable deceit, not just using the different identity but essentially a different personality.
‘He went to extraordinary lengths to hide the filming, and of particular concern to me is there is at least a suggestion he used his knowledge in his former work to secure recording equipment of an undercover nature.’