An elite Metropolitan police officer waged a campaign of terror and humiliation against women for two decades, committing 48 rapes to become one of the worst sex offenders in modern history.
The force ignored eight warnings about PC David Carrick’s abusive behaviour, leading Downing Street to warn faith in the police had been “shattered” and the force’s new commissioner to say the leadership “should have been more determined to root out such a misogynist”.
The shocking revelations of the sadistic attacks admitted by Carrick against 12 women, came as the detectives who brought the 48-year-old to justice made clear they believe there are even more victims and urged them to come forward.
Police and prosecutors said he exploited his status as a Met officer to put victims at ease then, as they tried to leave him, threatened that their claims against a serving officer would be disbelieved.
On Monday, Carrick pleaded guilty to the remaining charges against him at Southwark crown court, bringing a total of 49 charges covering 85 serious offences, with the voice of his victims yet to be heard.
The Guardian has obtained the first account from a woman who described how the firearms officer sent her selfies from work in his uniform – some showing his Met issue gun – and later threatened to murder her saying: “I can kill you without leaving any evidence.”
She claimed that he restrained her with his police-issue handcuffs and boasted that he was a powerful man who guarded the prime minister. The woman said he coerced her into staying in the relationship by convincing her he would plant drugs in her car, threatening: “Who are they going to believe?”
The woman spoke to detectives from Hertfordshire constabulary, who investigated Carrick, but chose not to make a formal complaint because she did not want to relive her agony during a potentially brutal court hearing.
The Met has admitted errors in failing to spot Carrick’s escalating danger during his 20 years of service. Britain’s biggest police force was told about nine incidents from 2000 to 2021, including eight alleged attacks or clashes Carrick had with women before the arrest that led to his convictions.
No action was taken, with the women either refusing to formally complain or withdrawing their cooperation from the police investigation.
Alarm bells also failed to ring within the force, which promoted Carrick in 2009 from patrolling the streets to being a member of an elite armed unit, the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, guarding embassies, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament.
One incident took place before Carrick joined the Met in 2001. The Guardian understands another, in 2002, included an allegation that he had bitten a woman’s shoulder after their relationship ended, and came during his probation period, when it would have been easier to dismiss him.
A court earlier heard that before one alleged attack on a woman in September 2020, Carrick, from Stevenage in Hertfordshire, flashed his police warrant card to make the woman feel safe, bragged about guarding the prime minister, and said his work nickname was “bastard Dave”.
Police and prosecutors say Carrick sought to dominate and humiliate his victims, forcing some into a tiny understair cupboard where they were forced to stay naked for hours.
He verbally abused the women, calling one his “slave”, and used sexual violence to degrade them, including urinating on some of them.
The Met said it should have spotted the threat Carrick posed to women during his time in the force from 2001, when he first passed the force’s vetting procedure. In 2009, he was given a gun, and despite the complaints against him he passed vetting again in 2017.
Sir Mark Rowley, Met commissioner since September, vowed to reform the force “at speed”. He said: “We have failed. And I’m sorry. He should not have been a police officer.
“We failed as investigators where we should have been more intrusive and joined the dots on this repeated misogyny over a couple of decades. And as leaders, our mindset should have been more determined to root out such a misogynist.
“I apologise to all of David Carrick’s victims. And I also want to say sorry to all of the women across London who feel we’ve let them down.”
Barbara Gray, an assistant commissioner at the Met, said the force was reviewing every past claim of domestic abuse or sexual offence against about 1,000 of the Met’s 45,000 officers and staff.
DCI Iain Moor, who led the investigation into Carrick by Hertfordshire constabulary, said: “He invested time in developing relationships with women to sustain his appetite for degradation and control. The coercive nature of his offending undermined his victims in the most destructive way.
“Many of the rape offences came with violence against the victim, who would have been physically injured.”
Carrick pleaded not guilty to the rape of the woman whose complaint led to his arrest in October 2021, and to a charge of illegally having an imitation firearm.
He will be sentenced on 6-7 February and faces a long prison sentence.
Some of the offences took place in London, but most were in Hertfordshire, where Carrick now lives, with the local force’s investigation leading to Carrick’s convictions.
Carrick met some women via dating apps, others were acquaintances or women he met in real life. One woman was attacked during a three-year relationship with the Met officer.
Moor said Carrick’s abuse of his position cast a “big cloud” over policing. “These victims are now survivors and have showed incredible bravery and courage by coming forward,” he added.
The investigation into Carrick started when a woman alleged he had raped her after a date on Tinder. Peter Burt of the CPS said: “She was the trigger.”
She came forward on 1 October 2021, after she saw extensive publicity following a Met officer’s conviction for the rape and murder of Sarah Everard. She said she was anally raped by Carrick a year earlier.
In July 2021 another woman alleged Carrick raped her. He was arrested but the Met declined to suspend him, instead placing him on restricted duties and taking away the gun.
The woman withdrew cooperation from the police investigation and, weeks later in September 2021, the Met admits restrictions on Carrick were lifted and he was cleared to go back to his sensitive role and get his gun back.
Harriet Wistrich, of the Centre for Women’s Justice, said: “All these revelations in the context of the wider picture that has been revealed of misogyny within the Met is seriously undermining of women’s confidence in the police …
“[Carrick’s] crimes, along with a significant number of other Met police officers, reveals the a deeply rotten misogynistic culture that has been allowed to exist within the Met.”
The Met said it would start the process of formally sacking Carrick on Tuesday. He served in the army before joining Britain’s largest police force.
Now the reporting restrictions have been lifted, the Guardian can reveal that part of the reason Cressida Dick was ousted as Met commissioner in February 2022 by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, was the Carrick scandal, as details emerged of his offending and possible Met errors.