UK police reportedly speak to Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Giuffre
Scotland Yard officers have spoken to Prince Andrew’s accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who alleges she was forced to have sex with him when she was 17 years old, it has been reported.
In an interview in August, after Giuffre filed a civil lawsuit against the prince, the Met commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, said “no one is above the law” and that she had “asked my team to have another look at the material”.
The Sunday Times reported that Met officers had since questioned Giuffre, who now lives in Australia, about the allegations. It said it was unclear whether they had taken a formal statement from her.
The prince has “absolutely and categorically” denied having sex with Giuffre and Buckingham Palace has called the claims “false and without foundation”.
Dick said in August that there had already been two previous reviews of the case. She said matters for consideration included whether there was evidence of a crime and whether the UK was the right jurisdiction for the case to be dealt with.
The lawsuit accuses Andrew of sexually abusing Giuffre at the home of the socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in London and at properties owned by the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
A now notorious photo of Andrew with an arm around Giuffre’s waist is said to have been taken by Epstein at the home of his friend Maxwell during a visit to London in 2001, when Giuffre was about 17. Sources said to be close to the prince have suggested the photo was faked – a claim vehemently denied by his accuser – while Andrew has said he has “no recollection” of meeting her.
Giuffre’s US lawyer, Sigrid McCawley, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner, told the Sunday Times: “Given the clear and compelling evidence implicating Prince Andrew, the Metropolitan police should reopen its investigation and stand by their statement that no one is above the law.”
In a statement a Met spokesperson said: “We would not confirm who we may or may not have spoken to.”
Giuffre claims in the lawsuit that she was “lent out for sexual purposes” by Epstein, a registered sex offender, including when she was a minor under US law. The prince faces a deadline of 29 October to formally respond to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.
In August it was reported that Andrew was considered a “person of interest” in the investigation into Epstein, who killed himself in jail in 2019, and Maxwell.
The phrase “person of interest” is used by law enforcement to refer to someone who has not been arrested or formally accused of any crime, but can refer to someone who may have information that would assist the investigation.
Maxwell, who is facing trial in New York in November, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges regarding her alleged involvement with Epstein.
Andrew, 61, stepped back royal duties in 2019 in the aftermath of a disastrous interview with Emily Maitlis for BBC’s Newsnight. He told Maitlis that he could not have had sex with Giuffre at Maxwell’s London home on the date in question because he was at home after attending a children’s party at Pizza Express in Woking.