Thursday 5 December 2019

Police stand by decision not to probe Epstein abuse allegations

Claims: Virginia Giuffre with lawyer David Boies. Photo: Reuters
Claims: Virginia Giuffre with lawyer David Boies. Photo: Reuters

Tanya Buckler

London's Metropolitan Police has said it stands by its decision not to investigate claims by Prince Andrew's accuser Virginia Giuffre that she was sex trafficked to London by Jeffrey Epstein.

The force added officers had spoken to other law enforcement agencies but have "not received a formal request asking for assistance".

It said it reviewed its previous decision that it was "not the appropriate authority to conduct enquiries in these circumstances" following Epstein's death in August, and that its position remained unchanged.

An interview with Ms Giuffre is to be broadcast on 'Panorama' on the BBC on Monday.

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She alleges Prince Andrew slept with her on three separate occasions.

The duke denies the allegations.

"In July 2015 the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) confirmed it had received an allegation of non-recent trafficking for sexual exploitation," Commander Alex Murray said.

"The allegation was made against a US national, Jeffrey Epstein, and a British woman.

"It related to events outside of the UK and an allegation of trafficking to central London in March 2001.

"The MPS always takes any allegations concerning sexual exploitation seriously.

"Officers assessed the available evidence, interviewed the complainant and obtained early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service.

"Following the legal advice, it was clear that any investigation into human trafficking would be largely focused on activities and relationships outside the UK.

"We therefore concluded that the MPS was not the appropriate authority to conduct enquiries in these circumstances and, in November 2016, a decision was made that this matter would not proceed to a full criminal investigation.

"In August 2019, following the death of Jeffrey Epstein, the MPS reviewed the decision making and our position remains unchanged.

"The MPS has liaised with other law enforcement organisations but has not received a formal request asking for assistance in connection with this allegation."

Epstein's death came over a month after the well-connected money manager was arrested and charged with trafficking dozens of girls as young as 14 from at least 2002 to 2005.

He had pleaded not guilty.

An extra 30 minutes has been added to the running time of the investigative 'Panorama' show.

A BBC News press team tweet on 'Panorama''s official account said: "Change of timing for next week's @BBCPanorama, as the programme is now an hour long."

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