Prince Andrew could face a hefty prison sentence after UK police launched a new criminal investigation into credible child rape claims made against him.
According to Metropolitan Commissioner Cressida Dick, Prince Andrew faces serious repercussions over allegations he raped an underage girl who was trafficked to him by convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
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Speaking in response to a lawsuit filed against the Duke of York by a victim in a New York federal court this week, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said UK police are “looking into” the allegations.
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As News Punch first reported this week, Virginia Roberts (now known as Virginia Giuffre) is set to sue Prince Andrew in a New York court over claims that pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein forced her to have sex with the Duke when she was a teen.
She says she was also raped by the prince when she was 17-years-old at the London home of Epstein’s VIP child pimp Ghislaine Maxwell after being trafficked into the UK by the pair.
Commissioner Dick told London radio station LBC: “As a result of what’s going on I’ve asked my team to have another look at the material.”
Ms. Giuffre says Epstein passed her around to his VIP elite friends to be raped when she was a minor.
Her lawyer, David Boies, told Sky News on Monday the duke will have to answer serious questions of a criminal nature.
“The court process now is going to compel him,” he said.
“If he were to try to ignore the court the way he’s ignored us, there would be a default judgment entered against them.“
“That could be enforced in the United States or in England or elsewhere in the world.“
“So I don’t think he’s going to ignore the court.“
“And as a result, he’s going to be held to account.”
Dailymail.co.uk reports: The Daily Mail understands that both Charles and Prince William have doubts about the way such serious allegations have been dealt with by Andrew and his legal team.
He has previously denied any wrongdoing and strongly maintained his innocence, claiming to have no recollection of having ever met Miss Roberts.
Prince Charles, 72, and William, 39, were instrumental in forcing Andrew to step back from royal duties in 2019 in the wake of the disastrous BBC interview he gave in an attempt to clear his name.
A royal insider told the Mail yesterday: ‘The family find themselves in an extraordinarily difficult and sensitive situation given the nature of the allegations.
‘They are limited in what they can say publicly and now that the Duke of York is no longer a working royal they are actually rather limited in what control they can exert over the situation privately.’
The Met has twice reviewed whether any crimes were committed when Jeffrey Epstein allegedly paid Virginia Roberts $15,000 to fly to London for sex with Prince Andrew in 2001.
In 2015 Scotland Yard’s Specialist Crime unit shelved the complaint by Miss Roberts, after consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service. In 2019 the same unit looked at it again when Epstein’s PA, Johanna Sjoberg, gave evidence alleging that Andrew had placed his hand on her breast while posing for a photo with his Spitting Image puppet. Commander Alex Murray said at the time: ‘Following the legal advice, it was clear that any investigation into human trafficking would be largely focused on activities and relationships outside the UK’. Commander Murray is expected to carry out the third review ordered by Commissioner Dick today.
Last night, sources close to the prince’s family expressed growing frustration with his legal team for the policy of continued silence.
The duke is said to have personally instructed criminal defence solicitor Gary Bloxsome, of City firm Blackfords, to help mastermind his response to Miss Roberts’ allegations.
Mr Bloxsome, a 40-year veteran of the company, has defended British troops against war crimes allegations, as well as footballers in assault cases.
However, a source close to Andrew’s family told the Mail yesterday: ‘We are beginning to question the tactics of Blackfords.
Not to put out a statement reiterating or expanding on his denial may work in a restricted, legal sense, but in the court of public opinion his reputation is being shredded.’
Miss Roberts’ attorney, David Boies, revealed that he anticipates the case could be heard in New York as early as the ‘middle of next year’.
The Queen, 95, is due to celebrate her historic Platinum Jubilee with a series of major public celebrations in June.
Asked if he felt the lawsuit would be enough to get the ninth in line to the throne to answer questions about the allegations, Mr Boies told Sky News: ‘Prince Andrew is going to have to now. He can’t ignore the process.’
Mr Boies has previously accused Andrew and his legal team of ‘stonewalling’ both Miss Roberts and the FBI, which is investigating the crimes of Andrew’s friend Epstein. The prince has said he has offered to co-operate with FBI.
Mr Boies also confirmed new evidence and new witness statements will form part of their case when it comes to court for trial, which he believes will throw further doubt on the Duke of York’s account.
It is believed he was referring to Johanna Sjoberg, the only other woman to have publicly accused Andrew of sexual misconduct.
Andrew is currently holidaying with the Queen at Balmoral, her Scottish estate. Sources have denied claims he was summoned by his mother for crisis talks.
The beleaguered royal had always planned to arrive in time for today’s ‘Glorious Twelfth’ – the start of the grouse shooting season – along with his former wife, Sarah, Duchess of York.
He was joined yesterday by his youngest daughter, Princess Eugenie, 31, her husband, Jack Brooksbank, and their six-month-old son, August.
The Princess jetted into Aberdeen Airport with her family on a commercial BA flight from London Heathrow which arrived at around 3.20pm.
Eugenie was first off the plane, followed closely by Jack and their nanny carrying baby son August down the stairs to an awaiting Range Rover.
It is the also the first time the couple have been pictured together since Jack was spotted sipping rosé on a vintage speedboat off the Italian coast while surrounded by bikini-clad models. A source close to Jack said he was on a business trip to Capri for his tequila brand Casamigos.
The couple appeared to make a quick stop to chat with ground staff while their luggage was offloaded before driving off the tarmac towards Balmoral Castle.
Her father Prince Andrew arrived yesterday, travelling by car with his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, for their annual August jaunt while his lawyers held crisis talks over the case launched by Ms Roberts.
The 61-year-old was already on his way to Scotland when the legal summons landed at his Royal Lodge home in Windsor. However, with the legal action hanging over him the prince could be in for some awkward discussions with his mother.
Yesterday Ms Roberts’s legal team claimed Prince Andrew had ‘stonewalled’ against efforts at cooperation ‘for the last five years’ – as it was revealed that the Duke of York could face a second lawsuit from another of Jeffrey Epstein’s victim.
Mrs Boies, who is representing Ms Roberts in her US civil case against Andrew, said the Duke’s legal team had been ‘totally uncooperative’ in attempts to discuss the abuse claims made by his client.
‘We’ve reached out to Prince Andrew’s legal team, a number of times over the last five years, we’ve made an attempt to engage with him to give him an opportunity to tell his side of the story, to provide any explanation or context, that he might have for his actions to try to resolve this without the necessity of litigation. Every such effort has been rebuffed,’ he told Sky News today.
He added: ‘They have totally stonewalled us just like they’ve stonewalled the criminal prosecutors in the United States.’
It comes as it was revealed that the Prince could face another US lawsuit from one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims who accused the royal of groping her breasts in a sickening attack involving a Spitting Image puppet of himself gifted to him by Ghislaine Maxwell.
Ms Sjoberg has accused the Duke of York of sexually assaulting her when she was 21 years old and working as paedophile Epstein’s PA.
The incident is alleged to have taken place in front of Ms Roberts, now known as Virginia Giuffre, who has launched a bombshell legal action accusing Andrew of rape.
The lawsuit – filed on Roberts’ 38th birthday – claims that she was ‘loaned’ to the British royal and forced to have sex with Andrew three times on the orders of Epstein, fearing she would be killed if she disobeyed.
Ms Sjoberg, now 43, had previously been unable to sue because of the amount of time since the alleged attack. But a pending US law change could now allow her to bring her allegations to court.
In her civil lawsuit filed in New York on Monday, Miss Roberts – who has accused Andrew of having sex with her on three occasions when she was aged 17, knowing that she had been trafficked by Epstein – claims his actions amounted to ‘rape in the first degree’.
He has 21 days to respond and if he fails to do so, she could ask the court to find in her favour without a trial.
It would raise the prospect of Andrew facing demands for damages. But if he does decide to come out fighting he could face having to give an account of his dealings with Epstein, as well as his previous sexual history.
Lawyers could also demand access to any communications with Epstein, as well as their mutual friend Ghislaine Maxwell.
She is due to go on trial later this year for allegedly acting as his ‘madam’ and helping to traffick vulnerable young victims.
But the prince can – and this is the most likely option for his team – also ask the court to dismiss the case as groundless or try to challenge it on other legal grounds.
Andrew’s accuser Ms Roberts says she was forced to sleep with the Duke of York at Ghislaine Maxwell’s home London, in New York and the US Virgin Islands as a 17-year-old in 2001.
While her claims were first made public in 2015 with the opening of US court documents, and the scandal worsened for the Prince following his decision to clear the air with a BBC Newsnight interview two years ago.
Andrew has always vehemently denied the allegations he had sex with Virginia three times.
On November 16 2019, the prince gave a ‘disastrous’ BBC interview in which he spoke about his friendship with Epstein and addressed allegations of his own sexual conduct.
He faced a barrage of criticism following his television appearance, with the royal accused of a lack of empathy with Epstein’s victims.
During the interview, Andrew, questioned by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, twice stated his relationship with Epstein, who died in jail while facing sex trafficking charges, had some ‘seriously beneficial outcomes’, giving him the opportunity to meet people and prepare for a future role as a trade envoy.
The duke denied he slept with Virginia on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.
The same alleged sexual liaison, which the American said began with the royal sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was factually wrong as the duke said he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.
He cast doubt on the authenticity of a picture that appears to show Andrew with his arm around the waist of Virginia.
The Duke’s supporters have repeatedly claimed the photo is fake and edited, which he also suggested himself.
As Prince Andrew is again hit by accusations of sexual abuse from Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts, he appears to have an unlikely companion at his side.
In one of the most dramatic cases of royal redemption, the Prince’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson is accompanying him to Balmoral where he will face his mother for the first time since a civil suit was filed against him in New York.
Fergie was exiled from the firm following her divorce from Andrew in 1996.
The Duchess of York has however become a lodger at her ex-husband’s Royal Lodge home in Windsor, and has slowly but surely been welcomed back into the fold.
And last week, the Mail revealed that Fergie had been invited to stay at the Queen’s Scottish retreat this summer.
There will also be a major difference because, unlike previous visits, when she had to make a quick getaway before Prince Philip arrived, the Duchess can stay at Balmoral for as long as her ex-husband
It is believed The Queen has appreciate the loyalty that Sarah has demonstrated to the Royal Family since her divorce and has been impressed by the close relationship she has maintained with Andrew, 61.
The Duchess has also said she is ‘100 per cent’ certain that Andrew is telling the truth about his part in the scandal surrounding convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
She told the Financial Times: ‘I want him [Andrew] to come through this. I want him to win.’
When asked why she was sure of his probity, she replied: ‘No question. I know everything about him. I think he is an extraordinary person.’
The Duchess said she and Andrew, who split in 1996, were ‘the happiest divorced couple in the world’, living under the same roof at Royal Lodge, Windsor, but with their own rooms.
‘We support each other like pillars of strengths,’ she added.