The Metropolitan Police has announced it is taking no further action after a review prompted by a Jeffrey Epstein accuser who is taking legal action against Prince Andrew.
Virginia Giuffre is suing the Queen’s son for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She claims she was trafficked by Epstein, the duke’s former friend, to have sex with Andrew in London when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
The Duke of York has denied all accusations made against him.
What has the Metropolitan Police said?
On Sunday 10 October, the Met said: “As a matter of procedure, MPS officers reviewed a document released in August 2021 as part of a US civil action. This review has concluded and we are taking no further action.”
The force also says it has reviewed allegations – reported in June by television broadcaster Channel 4 News – that British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell trafficked, groomed and abused women and girls in the UK, but again confirmed there would be no further action.
The Met said: “We also reviewed information passed to us by a media organisation in June 2021. This review is complete and no further action will be taken.”
The police force said it is continuing to liaise with other law enforcement agencies who are leading the investigation into matters associated with Epstein.
What is the lawsuit about?
Giuffre begun legal action against Prince Andrew in August over allegations that he sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager.
The civil suit was filed by Giuffre’s lawyers at a federal court in New York, seeking unspecified damages and accusing the Duke of York of sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The court documents claimed Giuffre was “lent out for sexual purposes” by convicted sex offender Epstein, including while she was still a minor under US law.
The 15-page suit was brought about under New York state’s Child Victims Act, with Andrew named as the only defendant, though Epstein and Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.
Giuffre alleged that Epstein and Maxwell made her have sex with Prince Andrew in 2001 on three separate occasions when she was under the age of 18, when she was known as Virginia Roberts,
She claimed that this took place in three different locations including Maxwell’s home in London, Epstein’s mansion in New York and on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.
Giuffre’s lawsuit stated: “In this country no person, whether president or prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law’s protection.
What has Prince Andrew said?
These claims have previously been strongly denied by Buckingham Palace.
“It is emphatically denied that [Prince Andrew] had any form of sexual contact or relationship with [Giuffre]. The allegations made are false and without any foundation,” the Palace said in a statement at the time.
He denied claims that he slept with Giuffre on three separate occasions, and said: “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
In response to a well-known photograph of him with his arm around Giuffre’s waist at Maxwell’s house, the duke said he had no memory of the picture being taken - and even questioned whether it was his own hand in the image.
“I don’t believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested,” he said.
“I think it’s, from the investigations that we’ve done, you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not, because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph. So it’s very difficult to be able to prove it, but I don’t remember that photograph ever being taken.”
In the aftermath of the interview, Andrew received widespread criticism for his lack of empathy for Epstein’s victims and for appearing unapologetic over his friendship with Epstein.
Following on from this, Andrew quit his royal duties and publicly promised to co-operate with US authorities investigating Epstein’s crimes, though has since faced a war of words between his camp and American authorities over his availability to answer questions.
“In the right circumstances, yes I would... there’s just as much closure for me as there is for everybody else.”
Despite promising this, Giuffre’s legal action requested a trial by jury was brought because the duke “stonewalled” requests to co-operate, according to court documents.
The court documents state: “Again Prince Andrew stonewalled—ignoring (the) Plaintiff’s letter and emails without any reply or response, thereby making this action necessary now.”
A spokesman for the duke said there was “no comment” when she was asked to respond to Giuffre’s legal action.
When did the allegations come about?
It was in 2014 when Giuffre first made allegations against Andrew in court filings, in a case brought by Epstein’s victims against the Department of Justice.
Who is Virginia Giuffre?
Virginia Giuffre, previously known as Virginia Roberts, is a justice advocate for sex trafficking victims.
In 2015, Giuffre set up a non-profit organisation Victims Refuse Silence for survivors of sexual abuse and sex trafficking.
The organisation’s aim is to “help survivors surmount the shame, silence, and intimidation typically experienced by victims of sexual abuse, and to help others to escape becoming victims of sex trafficking.”
She now lives in Australia with her husband and three children.
What is the Childhood Victims Act?
Giuffre’s 15-page suit was brought under New York State’s Childhood Victims Act that was signed into law in 2019 by the then Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The law enabled survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file a case that had already been time-barred or expired within a one-year time frame.
Due to the pandemic disrupting court services, that one-year window was extended and ended on 14 August.
What happened to Epstein and Maxwell?
In August 2019, Epstein took his own life while in jail, just one month after he was arrested on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell is currently in custody, awaiting her trial in November after pleading not guilty to sex trafficking charges in Manhattan federal court.