A former counter-terrorism officer pretended to be a pilot so he could secretly film naked models after arranging fake photo shoots.
Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Neil Corbel, 40, pleaded guilty to 19 counts of voyeurism when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
The court heard Corbel – who is currently suspended from duty with The Met – used devices hidden in tissue boxes, phone chargers, an air freshener and glasses to film his victims who believed he was a pilot.
Corbel, from Hertfordshire, booked models on internet sites and gave them false details before planting the cameras in hotel rooms, flats and Airbnbs.
He was caught after a woman, who had agreed to pose for a naked photo shoot became suspicious of a digital clock and found it to be a spy camera.
Corbel’s hard drive was searched and police found photographs of 51 women. They were able to identify 19 victims who went ahead to make statements against them.
The offences are not said to be related to his work with the police. They took place across the London, Brighton and Manchester areas between January 2017 and February 2020.
Chief magistrate, Paul Goldspring said Corbel “went to quite extraordinary lengths to hide what he was doing” and warned he faces a possible prison sentence.
Prosecutor Babatunde Alabi said: “By and large they were all models. Apart from one, who agreed to be videod, the others did not agree to be videoed.”
The prosecutor told the court the victims included sex workers, who agreed to have sex with Corbel but not to be filmed, while two of the models had some relationship with the officer.
He said: “He set up the rooms well in advance with covert devices planted in strategic places capturing the women while they were undressing before the shoots.
“What is obvious from watching the videos is that from time-to-time he would manoeuvre the models so that open-leg photos and open-leg videos were obtained.
“At least two of the models actually expressed concerns about devices which they thought were recording.
“There was one model who agreed to being videoed but insisted to the defendant there were going to be no open-leg videos.
“She of course didn’t realise there were other overt devices hidden around the room.”
The court heard Corbel admitted in police interviews to “surreptitiously using covert devices” to film the women.
Mr Alabi said: “He admitted he was doing it, or recording them, for his own sexual gratification and admitted most of the models didn’t know about the videoing.”
Edward Henry QC, defending, said reports from a forensic psychologist and an addiction specialist have been prepared as part of Corbel’s mitigation.
Corbel will be sentenced on October 4.
Detective Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett, who leads the Central East Command Unit, said: “These are grave and troubling offences. The investigation has been complex and I know that the team who have investigated this have worked incredibly hard. It is vital that the public feel they can trust the police and, if an officer undermines that trust, it is important that their crimes are investigated thoroughly and robustly.
“The victims in this case have shown incredible strength throughout the investigation and I would like to thank them for their courage and patience throughout. I am truly disappointed in the actions of the officer which are not at all representative of the high values and standards we expect, and I am saddened by the pain and hurt that he has caused.”
The Met says misconduct proceedings will now follow.
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