(Bloomberg) -- A serial rapist London police officer was sentenced to life imprisonment for carrying out an “unrestrained campaign of rape and abusing” 12 women over almost two decades.

David Carrick pleaded guilty to 49 charges, that include 24 counts of rape and further counts of controlling and coercive behavior, sexual assault and false imprisonment. The 48-year-old most recently served in the elite force protecting the UK’s Houses of Parliament and foreign embassies.

“These convictions represents a spectacular downfall for a man charged with upholding the law,” Judge Bobbie Cheema-Grubb said in handing down the sentence. “You took monstrous advantage of women drawn into intimate relationships with you. You brazenly raped and sexually assaulted many women, some you barely knew.”

The conviction has plunged London’s Metropolitan Police Service into a fresh credibility crisis. The organization has been beset by a string of damaging scandals that have shaken public trust in the UK’s biggest police force. 

Touching on that issue, Cheema-Grubb said that the repeated reluctance of his victims to come forward illustrates “an astonishing degree of moral corruption” in the way victims of sexual crime are treated in society.

Its previous chief quit following an investigation that revealed misogyny, racism and homophobia were rife among its officers. In 2021, protests erupted around the country after a serving police officer abducted and murdered Sarah Everard.

“There are women whose trust in the police is profoundly shaken,” said Mark Rowley, the Met’s commissioner. “We have let down women across London but we are more determined than ever to put it right.”

Prosecutors on Monday gave details about gruesome and abusive nature of his crimes against 12 women to court. The frequency and the level of humiliation he inflicted on the victims increased with time, prosecution lawyers told the court.

“You drilled into her that you’re the police, you’re the law and you owned her,” Cheema-Grubb said referring to accounts of one of the victims.

Carrick exploited his position as a police officer to commit the offenses and silence victims, lawyers said. He committed many of the offenses in three coercive relationships where he kept the women under constant surveillance and controlled when they slept and what they ate.

“Mr. Carrick takes full responsibility for what he’s done,” his lawyer, Alisdair Williamson, said in court on Monday. “He cannot ask for mercy and does not.”

(Updates with the Met Police’s statement in the seventh paragraph)

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