A senior Met police officer who deployed spy cameras to film naked women has been sentenced to three years in prison in a case the judge said would “impact public trust” in the police.
Neil Corbel, a 40-year-old detective inspector who resigned after being suspended by the Met, concealed spy cameras in keys, glasses, phone chargers, air fresheners, tissue boxes and headphones.
Corbel, who planted the devices in rented rooms such as hotels and Airbnbs, posed as an airline pilot booking photoshoots and targeted unsuspecting models and escorts. Police discovered files involving 51 women on Corbel’s hard drive, with some videos up to four hours long.
The former counter-terrorism officer pleaded guilty to 19 counts of voyeurism.
One victim, who told the trial how her life had been affected, said: “I have pulled so much of my hair out with stress I have bald spots and have had to turn down work.” She showed the courtroom her scalp.
Some victims drew parallels between Corbel and Wayne Couzens, who as a serving Met police officer kidnapped, raped and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard while she walked home and sparked a national reckoning on violence against women.
Corbel’s sentencing at Isleworth crown court in London comes after a slate of incidents involving serving officers some say have driven a wedge between the police and the public. After Couzens’ sentencing in September, last month two Met police officers were jailed for taking and sharing pictures of two Black murder victims. Concerns over mistrust in the police were echoed by the judge in Corbel’s case, Martin Edmunds QC.
One of the 19 victims who gave statements against Corbel 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 frightening time to be a woman.”
Sentencing Corbel to three years in prison, Edmunds said there was no evidence Corbel used his role as an officer to locate or intimidate the women. “However, it is clear that the revelation to your victims that you were a serving police officer has for many of them seriously undermined their trust in the police, something that for those individuals, given their various lines of work, is a particularly serious matter, just as the revelation of your offending must impact on public trust.”
Corbel, who was formerly attached to the Met’s continuous policing improvement command and whose police career spanned 13 years, was caught after a model became suspicious of a digital clock. An internet search of the brand name revealed the device was a spy camera that could be smartphone-operated.
“You used a range of deceptions to induce women to take off their clothes in your presence so you could record videos for your sexual gratification,” Edmunds said.
“It is clear that you derived satisfaction from breaching [personal] boundaries by committing these offences rather than seeking out persons who might have offered the opportunity to video them without deception.”
The offences took place in cities such as London, Manchester and Brighton, with Corbel sometimes planting up to nine cameras.