Ex-Met Police detective jailed after filming naked women with hidden cameras loses appeal to have jail term cut

Neil Corbel posed as an airline pilot to book models for photoshoots before planting the gadgets in hotel rooms

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A former senior Metropolitan Police officer who used hidden spy cameras to film naked women has lost a bid to have his three-year jail term cut.

Ex-Detective Inspector Neil Corbel posed as an airline pilot to book models for photoshoots before planting the gadgets in hotel rooms, flats and Airbnbs.

The 41-year-old, who resigned after being suspended by the Met, pleaded guilty to 19 voyeurism offences and was jailed for three years at Isleworth Crown Court in January.

He challenged his sentence at the Court of Appeal in London at a hearing on Tuesday, with his lawyers arguing it was “too long” in all the circumstances.

His barrister, Edward Henry QC, argued the Crown Court judge did not take enough account of Corbel’s sex addiction or of a medical report which gave details of it.

He also argued the judge did not give enough weight to Corbel’s lack of previous convictions, his previous good character, his “extreme vulnerability” in prison as a police officer or the fact he had “considerably aided” the investigation into his crimes.

Mr Henry told the court: “His remorse was genuine and profound and the mitigation… was very considerable.”

Neil Corbel
Neil Corbel

But, dismissing his appeal, Mrs Justice Cutts said the judge had not made any error when setting the length of the sentence.

Sitting with Lord Justice William Davis and Judge Deborah Taylor, she said: “We have reflected on the submissions made but we are unable to accept them.

“This was a complex case… they were not compulsive acts, the appellant meticulously planned each offence.”

She said his crimes caused his victims “distress, anxiety and a reduction in confidence” and also said the discovery he was a police officer caused an “additional sense of betrayal for the victims and was likely to have an impact on public confidence in policing”.

The court heard Corbel committed the offences across the London, Manchester and Brighton areas between January 2017 and February 2020.

He hid cameras in everyday items, including tissue boxes, phone chargers, air fresheners, glasses, keys and headphones, to film his unsuspecting victims for up to four hours.

Married father-of-two Corbel, a former counter-terrorism officer, was caught after 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.

When he was arrested, Corbel told police he was addicted to pornography and officers found images of 51 women on his hard drive, with 19 victims, including 16 models and three escorts, agreeing to make statements against him.

Sentencing him, Judge Martin Edmunds QC said: “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.

“You did so using multiple strategically placed covert cameras, sometimes as many as nine.”

The judge said the victims “were entitled to have the personal autonomy” and each had set “clear boundaries”.

“It is clear that you derived satisfaction from breaching those boundaries by committing these offences rather than seeking out persons who might have offered the opportunity to video them without deception,” he added.

“You did not exploit your police role either to locate or intimidate your victims – rather it was something concealed from them.

“Further, the covert recording devices you used appear to have been readily available to purchase on the internet.

“There is no evidence you used police equipment or specialist police knowledge.

“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 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.”

Three of Corbel’s victims watched on as he was jailed in January, having faced him in court to read their victim impact statements.

One model, who agreed to pose for a “fashion and artistic nude shoot”, was visibly angry as she told Corbel his crimes had “affected every aspect of my life”.

“I have pulled so much of my hair out with stress I have bald spots and have had to turn down work,” she said, showing her scalp to the court.