Wednesday 11 December 2019

Met Police face questions into why complaint about Prince Andrew was shelved

Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts in 2001
Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts in 2001

Martin Evans in London

Scotland Yard was last night under pressure to explain why it failed to carry out a full investigation into allegations a teenager had been trafficked to the UK to have sex with Prince Andrew.

Four years ago, the Met received a complaint alleging that in 2001, Virginia Roberts (17) was flown to London by paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and coerced into having sex with the Duke of York.

It was claimed the incident took place at the Kensington townhouse of Ghislaine Maxwell, a close friend of the duke. A photograph appeared to show him with his arm around the girl while Miss Maxwell looked on in the background.

Police decided the matter did not warrant a full investigation.

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The duke vigorously denies having sex with Miss Roberts and insists he knew nothing of Epstein's activities. But victims' rights campaigners have questioned why the matter was not pursued, especially given that in 2015 the Met adhered to national policy stipulating "victims must be believed", introduced in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Such was the Met's determination to pursue the policy to the letter it spent 18 months and more than £4m looking into complaints by fantasist Carl Beech, who told police he had been raped and abused by a string of VIPs in the 1970s and 1980s.

It is understood the decision to shelve the girl's complaint was taken by an assistant commissioner.

The Met has so far declined to explain why the complaint relating to Miss Roberts was not taken further. The UK Victims' Commissioner is understood to have demanded an explanation but declined to comment because of the rules around election purdah.

But Harry Fletcher, a victims' rights campaigner, said the Met needed to be transparent about the 2015 complaint.

"There appears to be some worrying double standards here in terms of how Scotland Yard approached two complaints of historic sexual abuse," he said.

It has also emerged the duke held a meeting with Ms Maxwell a fortnight after Epstein was placed under investigation by US authorities on fresh sex-trafficking allegations.

Sources have now revealed the meeting took place in the duke's private quarters at Buckingham Palace.

US authorities are understood to be keen to trace Ms Maxwell, who has been accused of helping to procure young girls for Epstein - a charge she has always firmly denied.

Irish Independent

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