Epstein accuser says Duke of York ‘knows the truth’ about sex claims

A woman who alleges she was a victim of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein has said she was forced into sexual encounters with the Duke of York, who "knows the truth".

Virginia Giuffre is one of 16 women who say they were abused by convicted paedophile Epstein, and she has previously claimed in court papers that she was forced to have sex with Andrew as a 17-year-old.

Her allegations, which Andrew strongly denies, were struck from US civil court records in 2015 after a judge said they were "immaterial and impertinent".

In her first broadcast interview along with five other alleged victims, Mrs Giuffre said she was forced into sexual encounters with Andrew in London, Epstein's New York mansion, and a third incident in the US Virgin Islands.

Buckingham Palace has previously contested reports about Andrew's relationship with Epstein, including a private jet flight they are said to have shared with Mrs Giuffre, then known as Virginia Roberts.

Mrs Giuffre said she was introduced to Epstein, and later Andrew, by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

She said: "The first time in London I was so young. Ghislaine woke me up in the morning and said: 'You're going to meet a prince today'.

"I did not know at that point I was going to be trafficked to that prince, and then that night Prince Andrew came to her house in London."

Mrs Giuffre said she spent a night in Mayfair's exclusive Club Tramp with Andrew, Epstein and Ms Maxwell.

She continued: "We leave Club Tramp and I hop in the car with Ghislaine and Jeffrey, and Ghislaine said 'he's coming back to the house and I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein'.

"I couldn't believe it."

Describing Andrew after the alleged incident, she said: "He wasn't rude or anything about it, he said thank you and some kind of soft sentiments like that, and left.

"I couldn't believe that even royalty were involved.

"He denies that it ever happened, and he is going to keep denying that it ever happened, but he knows the truth and I know the truth."

Mrs Giuffre was then asked what Epstein's alleged victims want, after the disgraced financier was found dead on August 10 in his New York prison cell while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.

"Justice now is holding accountable the perpetrators that helped him, and participated with him, and encouraging more people to come forward," she replied.

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Buckingham Palace said it had nothing to add to its previous statement: "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."

Andrew last month issued a statement about Epstein, saying: "At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction."

He said he had "tremendous sympathy" for Epstein's alleged victims, and reiterated that it was a "mistake" seeing the 66-year-old after the American's release from an 18-month prison term in 2010 for prostituting minors.

British actress Anouska de Georgiou was also part of the interview to be broadcast on Friday.

She said: "The only solace for me is that when a group of people who have experienced trauma of this kind come together united against a common enemy.

"There's a very special bond between us all."

Ms Maxwell has repeatedly denied any involvement.

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