A former counter-terrorism officer posed as a pilot to secretly film naked models using spy cameras after arranging fake photo shoots, a court has heard.
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.
He booked models on internet sites giving false details and claiming to be a pilot, then planted the cameras in hotel rooms, flats and Airbnbs.
Corbel was caught after a woman, who had agreed to pose for a naked photo shoot, became suspicious of a digital clock and found it was a spy camera.
Police found images of some 51 women on Corbel’s hard drive and were able to identify 19 victims willing to make statements against him.
Corbel, a former counter-terrorism officer who has been suspended by the Met, pleaded guilty to 19 voyeurism offences at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
The offences, which were said to not be linked to his work as a police officer, took place across the London, Manchester and Brighton areas between January 2017 and February 2020.
Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring adjourned sentencing to October 4 for reports to be prepared.
He said Corbel, from Hertfordshire, “went to quite extraordinary lengths to hide what he was doing” and warned he faces a possible jail sentence.
Prosecutor Babatunde Alabi said: “By and large they were all models.
“Apart from one, who agreed to be videoed, the others did not agree to be videoed.”
He told the court the victims included escorts, who had agreed to have sex with Corbel but not to be filmed, while two of the models had some relationship with the officer.
“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,” said the prosecutor.
“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.”
He added: “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 realised 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.
“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,” said Mr Alabi.
Edward Henry QC, defending, said reports from a forensic psychologist and an addiction specialist have been prepared as part of Corbel’s mitigation.
The Met said Corbel will also face misconduct proceedings.
Detective Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett 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 that 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.”