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Met Police ‘not appropriate authority’ to investigate Epstein sex trafficking claims

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

The Duke of York (PA)
The Duke of York (PA)

By PA Reporters

The Metropolitan Police has said it stands by its decision not to investigate claims by the Duke of York’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.

Panorama’s interview with Ms Guiffre is to be broadcast on Monday. She alleges the duke slept with her on three separate occasions.

The duke denies the allegations.

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

“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.

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Andrew in his Newsnight interview (Mark Harrison/BBC)

“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.”

Ms Giuffre has criticised the Met for failing to investigate her allegations.

She claimed that the UK inquiry was abandoned because of “corruption” at the highest level.

The duke has said he is “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

He made the pledge as he stepped down from public duties in the wake of his disastrous Newsnight interview about his association with convicted sex offender Epstein.

Andrew’s attempts to defend himself against Ms Giuffre’s accusations and explain his friendship with Epstein, a convicted paedophile, in the BBC programme were branded a “car crash”.

He was widely criticised for failing to show remorse for his association with the disgraced financier or empathy with Epstein’s victims during his television appearance.

Lisa Bloom, a lawyer representing some of Epstein’s victims, demanded further action by Andrew.

“He and his staff must cooperate with all investigations, show up for civil depositions and trials, and produce all documents. We are just getting started,” she said.

Ms Giuffre claimed in court papers in Florida that she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17, under the state’s age of consent.

Andrew strenuously denies the claims, and Buckingham Palace has branded the allegations “false and without any foundation”, stating: “Any suggestion of impropriety with under-age minors” by the duke was “categorically untrue”.

Ms Giuffre alleges the duke slept with her on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage.

During his Newsnight interview, the duke said an alleged encounter with Ms Giuffre 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.

Ms Giuffre alleged the duke sweated heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp.

But Andrew said he had a medical condition at the time, after suffering an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War when he was shot at, which meant he did not sweat.

Epstein killed himself in August in a New York prison while he was being held on sex trafficking charges.

PA

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