16 Aug 2019

Exclusive: Met Police decided not to conduct full investigation into court claims of sex trafficking of girl in Prince Andrew photo

The Met Police decided not to conduct a ‘full investigation’ into allegations a 17 year old girl was trafficked as part of Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘sex ring.’

Channel 4 News can reveal that the Metropolitan Police began a review of “available evidence” in 2015 after receiving a complaint over claims in court papers that a girl was “forced to have sex with Prince Andrew”.

Channel 4 News also understands that lawyers for Virginia Roberts independently contacted the Metropolitan Police in 2016.

The Metropolitan Police said it “reviewed the available evidence” and decided that the matter “would not progress to a full investigation”.

It is not clear what constituted the available evidence.

The Met Police has refused to answer detailed questions about the allegations and whether they ever spoke to Epstein, his friend Ghislaine Maxwell, Prince Andrew or anyone from the Royal Household.

Prince Andrew has always denied “any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts”.

Tonight, lawyers for Virginia Roberts told Channel 4 News she is “hopeful” that “the London authorities will view the abuse she suffered while in London … as a serious investigative matter.”

In U.S court documents released last week, Virginia Roberts, now Giuffre, alleges that she was one of many girls and young women that were part of a sex trafficking network run by disgraced financier and paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell earlier this month.

In the court documents, Ms Roberts alleges that in 2001, aged 17, she was trafficked to the UK by Mr Epstein, accompanied by Ghislaine Maxwell, during which time she was “forced to have sexual relations with a member of the British Royal Family, Prince Andrew.”

A photo from early 2001, taken in a house believed to be that of Ghislane Maxwell, shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the bare waist of Virginia Roberts. Ms Maxwell is in the background of the photo.

These court documents contain various historical allegations made by Virginia Roberts, who says that she was subjected to repeated sexual abuse, sex trafficking and exploitation by Mr Epstein and his ‘sexual abuse ring’ from 1999 until 2002.

There is no suggestions that Prince Andrew was aware of any of Jeffrey Epstein’s activities.

A complaint to the police regarding the alleged sexual trafficking to the UK of Ms Roberts was received in 2015 from an unconnected third party.

Channel 4 News asked the Metropolitan Police a series of questions about Virginia Robert’s account of what she says happened to her at Maxwell’s London residence in early 2001.

The Met told Channel 4 News: “[We] can confirm that the Metropolitan Police Service [MPS] received an allegation of non-recent trafficking for sexual exploitation.

“The MPS reviewed the available evidence and the decision was made that this would not progress to a full investigation. As such, the matter was closed.”

There are of course several reasons why a full investigation would not be launched, but they have not made clear why further action was not taken on this matter.

Lawyers for Virginia Roberts, now Giuffre, told Channel 4 News: “Virginia Giuffre has been and remains hopeful that, given all the factual evidence that is now in the public domain, the London authorities will view the abuse she suffered while in London …  as a serious investigative matter and they would be prepared to prosecute and hold those responsible accountable — regardless of status or power.”

In a court application filed in 2014 Virginia Giuffre alleged that she was forced to have sexual relations in three places when she was under 18.

The court ruled that “lurid” details in her application were “unnecessary” in determining if she could join the action. It ruled the details around sexual activities concerning Prince Andrew were “immaterial and impertinent” to the application, and should be stricken.

Allegations

Ghislaine Maxwell has previously denied any wrongdoing – including the allegations now in the public domain from court filings in the United States.

Buckingham Palace released a statement in relation to these allegations on behalf of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

“This relates to proceedings in the United States, to which The Duke of York is not a party. Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”

“It is emphatically denied that The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”