A Met policeman tried to secretly record a woman while she was having a shower for his own sexual gratification, a court has heard.

Police Detective Sergeant Benjamin McNish claimed he was looking for his razor when he poked his mobile phone into the shower while the woman was naked, London’s Southwark Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor William Eaglestone told the jury that McNish’s actions in placing his telephone above the shower window panel could be considered as more sinister than being a “peeping Tom, Carry On film-type behaviour”.

News Shopper:

He said: “This is an offence known as being a peeping Tom, Carry On film-type behaviour but in fact you can see it is a criminal offence and you might think that nowadays with Me Too it is far more sinister.”

He added that the woman having the shower “might be upset by this behaviour”.

McNish, 30, of Benfleet, Essex, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of voyeurism. He is charged with observing a person doing a private act for his sexual gratification on February 18 2019.

The woman was “clearly” in the shower at the time of the alleged incident and she had not given any consent to being watched, the court heard.

McNish was a serving police officer who was working in community safety, had been involved in child abuse investigations and the force’s sexual offences unit.

Mr Eaglestone told the jury: “You might think of all the people to do that kind of behaviour, Mr McNish might have been one to have second thoughts.”

The court heard that the woman did a “double take” when she spotted the telephone in the bathroom.

Mr Eaglestone said: “She was in the shower washing. She looked up and saw this telephone poking up above it. She did a bit of a double take and the telephone went away.

“Then she looked up and she saw it again. She grabbed her towel and then saw Mr McNish.”

He was making gestures that she should calm down, the court heard.

The jury was told the woman confronted McNish about whether he was taking images of her and he replied: “Yes, I was but I deleted them.”

Another person who was nearby heard McNish say this to her, the court heard.

McNish told police officers who were called that he suffered from a disorder called dyspraxia and that one of the symptoms was to act impulsively.

The woman said she had been in the shower for just a matter of minutes when she noticed some movement to the left-hand side of the shower window. She said it was a mobile phone with the camera pointing into the bath and she could see a finger and thumb on the telephone.

Speaking in court from behind a curtain, she said that from her first glance it looked to her that it was “angled on a diagonal towards the bath and shower area”.

She said she looked twice and recalled thinking to herself that “it was really weird, something is there, someone is trying to take pictures, what is going on.”

She told the court that she estimated the distance between her face and where the camera was to be less than two metres.

She said: “Once I had seen the telephone for the second time, I was quite confused and shocked. My assumption was that someone was filming me.

“I did not turn off the shower. I just grabbed the towel to my chest, wrenched open the door and immediately after I opened the door I saw Mr McNish standing outside.”

She said he looked “a bit shocked like a rabbit in the headlights” and that she started shouting at him. He told her to “shush”, she told the court.

Holding back tears, the woman told the court she wished she had at that point asked to look at the phone and added: “I remember thinking I do not know who this man is and he might have naked pictures of me on his phone.”

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Smith, who was nearby, heard her screaming and came to see what the commotion was about, the court heard.

Under cross-examination, defence counsel Richard Atchley told the woman: “His (McNish) case is that he never took a picture of you at all. The only photograph that was taken was mistakenly when you crashed out of the bath and he took a photograph of the door.”

Mr Atchley said that no photographs were found on the phone despite what it looked like to the woman at the time. He said McNish claims he had lost his razor and was using his phone as a periscope to try and find it.

DCI Smith told the court that the woman was shouting that McNish had taken pictures of her and she had seen him.

McNish denied this but then later said “yes I did, I deleted them, nothing really came out anyway”, DCI Smith told the court.

DCI Smith, who called the police, told the court he seized the phone along with McNish’s other electronic equipment and the woman was moved to a different place.

The hearing was adjourned to Tuesday at 10.15am.