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Andrew ‘flew on Epstein’s jet with Virginia Roberts’, pilot alleges

Buckingham Palace said pilot David Rodgers’s statement has a “number of inconsistencies”.

The Duke of York (Steve Parsons/PA)
The Duke of York (Steve Parsons/PA)

By PA Reporters

A pilot on Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet claimed the Duke of York was a passenger on flights with the since-disgraced financier and Virginia Roberts.

The Sun newspaper reported that David Rodgers said in a testimony released earlier this month that Epstein, Andrew and the-then 17-year-old travelled to the US Virgin Islands on April 11 2001.

Buckingham Palace branded the evidence statement as having “a number of inconsistencies” and said that Andrew was on a different continent in some cases.

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The Duke of York on an engagement in Gosport in April 2001 (Chris Ison/PA)

The duke has vehemently and repeatedly denied any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Roberts.

Ms Roberts claims she was held as a sex slave by Epstein and trafficked to his friends.

A palace spokesman said: “This evidence statement was submitted in a case in which the duke was not a party and in which any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.

“The statement submitted shows a number of inconsistencies between the duke’s alleged location and his actual location when checked with the court circular.

“In some cases he is on different continents.

“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.”

The Sun reported that it is the first time anyone has alleged Andrew and Ms Roberts were on Epstein’s plane at the same time.

Andrew’s former friend Epstein, who was later convicted of being a paedophile, killed himself in prison on August 10 after being charged with sex trafficking.

Ms Roberts alleged in court papers in Florida that she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is under the age of consent in the state.

She claimed she had sex with Andrew “three times, including one orgy” in London, at Epstein’s New York home, and at an “orgy” on his private island Little Saint James in the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.

Her allegations against the duke were struck from US civil court records in 2015 after an American federal judge branded them “immaterial and impertinent”.

Court circular records – the daily record of royal engagements kept by the royal household – show that Andrew went on an official visit to the US on April 9 2001 during which he travelled New York and Boston and carried out engagements as chairman of the trustees for the Outward Bound Trust, before returning to New York on April 11.

Mr Rodgers alleged he flew Andrew, Epstein and Ms Roberts on April 11 2001 from New Jersey to the Virgin Islands.

The duke was reported some days later to be holidaying with his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York and their daughters in the Bahamas.

His next official engagement was on April 19 on a trip to Korea.

Mr Rodgers claimed Andrew was on other flights including on March 31 2001 from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Florida with Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Ms Roberts.

The duke had an evening engagement in London on March 28 2001 and then an evening engagement on April 2 2001, the court circular shows.

Mr Rodgers also alleged Andrew was on a July 4 2001 flight from the Virgin Islands to Florida along with Ms Roberts and Epstein.

But the record of royal engagements shows he was in the UK on the same day carrying out a visit to Portsmouth.

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The Duke of York opening a museum to celebrate the Royal Navy in Portsmouth on July 4 2001 (Chris Ison/PA)

Mr Rodgers also said that the duke was on a Boeing 727 plane owned by Epstein on August 7 2001.

The duke did not have any public engagements listed for August 2001.

Andrew said on Sunday that he was “appalled” by the recent sex abuse claims surrounding Epstein.

He released a statement after new footage emerged showing him inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2010, two years after Epstein’s conviction.

The video, obtained by MailOnline, was reportedly shot on December 6 2010, around the time Andrew was photographed with disgraced financier Epstein in New York’s Central Park.

The duke quit his role as UK trade envoy in 2011 after the fallout from the Central Park photos.

When court documents were released earlier this month in the US, the Federal Appeals Court in New York warned the media to “exercise restraint” in reporting them.

It said materials submitted to a court should not be understood as firm findings or as “some sort of marker of reliability. That would be a mistake.”

PA

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