Salon boss who 'saw Duke of York with sex accuser'

Salon boss who 'saw Duke of York with sex accuser'

December 31, 2021

EXCLUSIVE: The woman who could hold the key to sex claims against Prince Andrew: Ex-student ‘who saw royal with his accuser Virginia Roberts in NY mansion’ is found working just miles from Epstein’s Palm Beach House of Sin

  • Johanna Sjoberg lured by Ghislaine Maxwell into Epstein’s ‘pyramid of abuse’
  • Now 41, she alleges it was there that the Queen’s second son groped her 
  • She claims alleged incident took place at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion  
  • Ms Sjoberg also claims she and Andrew slept together in a massage room
  • It comes as Duke’s lawyers say Maxwell’s conviction will not impact his NY case 

This is the American hair salon owner who could hold the key to Virginia Roberts’s hotly disputed sex claims against the Duke of York.

As a college student 20 years ago, Johanna Sjoberg was lured by Ghislaine Maxwell into Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘pyramid of sexual abuse’ and says that within days she met Prince Andrew at the tycoon’s Manhattan mansion.

Now 41, she alleges it was there that the Queen’s second son groped her in an incident during which a latex Spitting Image puppet of the duke was used to abuse Miss Roberts, then 17, with Maxwell in attendance. 

According to legal documents, the alleged inappropriate conduct did not end there. Miss Roberts, now 37 and a mother of three who uses her married name Giuffre, claims that after the Spitting Image incident, she and Andrew slept together in a massage room at Epstein’s house dubbed ‘the dungeon’.

Andrew vehemently denies her assertions and says he cannot recall meeting Miss Roberts, despite a notorious picture of them together at Maxwell’s London home in March 2001.

The claims come as lawyers for the Duke maintain that Maxwell’s guilty verdict will not have any impact on the lawsuit he is battling in New York.

Joanna Sjoberg, one of the Maxwell victims, and friend of Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts) who was allegedly groped by Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew leaves sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s home and go for a stroll together through New York’s Central Park. Taken in 2011

A source for his legal team told The Times that ‘they are two separate cases’.

Meanwhile, Miss Sjoberg’s salon is a few miles from the site of Epstein’s now-demolished ‘House of Sin’ in Palm Beach. 

The hairdresser was photographed by the Mail in the Florida town this week.

What she could potentially say about the alleged encounter in Manhattan may have a vital bearing on the outcome of Miss Roberts’s rape lawsuit against the duke. 

She could help corroborate Miss Roberts’s story or give evidence that aids the prince’s case.

Johanna Sjoberg, who worked for paedophile financier Jeffery Epstein for four years, pictured in 2007

Next week Andrew’s legal team will try to get Miss Roberts’s legal action against him thrown out at a New York court. The showdown will come days after Maxwell, 60, was found guilty of sex trafficking children for her paedophile boyfriend Epstein to sexually abuse.

The verdicts were seen as a blow to Andrew’s hopes of stopping the action in its tracks and left him with more questions to answer. His team have been locked in discussions, with Maxwell’s fate thought to be high on the agenda.

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents a number of Epstein victims, said yesterday Andrew should be ‘quaking in his boots’ as his friend languishes in jail, unlikely ever to taste freedom again.

However, a source said the prince and his team were simply ‘focusing on his own hearing next week’.

Unlike many caught up in the Epstein saga, Miss Sjoberg – who was not an alleged victim in Maxwell’s trial – has remained consistent in her account of what she says happened with the duke in 2001. It was in 2007 that she first told of the alleged encounter with Andrew at Esptein’s East 71st Street mansion.

Described as ‘church-going’ and an ‘all American brunette’ from Maine, she recalled that she returned to the grand home after some ‘sightseeing’ and ‘Prince Andrew was there and a couple of other girls my age’. ‘

Andrew was very charming,’ she said. ‘She [Ghislaine] came down with a present for him – a latex puppet of him from Spitting Image.’ 

Miss Sjoberg added the duke had thought the puppet ‘funny because it was him’.

Then ‘I just remember someone suggesting a photo and they told us to get on the couch. And so Virginia and Andrew sat on the couch and they put the puppet on her lap.

‘And so I sat on Andrew’s lap, I believe of my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast and so Andrew put his on mine.’

It was all done in ‘a joking manner’. ‘Everybody laughed,’ Miss Sjoberg said. ‘Ghislaine… had a very dirty sense of humour.’

According to her accounts, the prince, while being inappropriately tactile, had not caused offence. She thought him ‘charming’.

But what took the alleged encounter into a whole new sphere were the subsequent testimonies of Miss Roberts. Many times over the years, in interviews, an unpublished memoir and a deposition, she has corroborated Miss Sjoberg’s puppet story.

But Miss Roberts also went on to claim that afterwards she and Andrew retired to Epstein’s massage room ‘dungeon’, where they had sex. 

She claims they first slept together in London a month before this, and after Manhattan, at Epstein’s private ‘paedo island’ in the US Virgin Islands.

The infamous photo of Virginia Roberts, Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell was taken at Maxwell’s home in Belgravia

The duke sidestepped questions about the alleged encounter with Miss Sjobjerg during his notorious BBC Newsnight interview two years ago, saying he may have visited the paedophile’s property but ‘definitely didn’t, definitely, definitely no, no, no activity’.

Miss Sjoberg said Maxwell recruited her to provide massages for Epstein in 2001 when she was at college in Palm Beach.

She added she was under the impression she was being hired as a personal assistant but soon realised her job was to provide ‘sexual massages’ to Epstein, who she has said told her he needed to have ‘three orgasms a day’.

Miss Sjoberg claims she was ‘punished’ when Epstein failed to orgasm as a result of one of her massages. Maxwell allegedly told her ‘she [Maxwell] would not be able to please him as much as he needed and that is why there were other girls around’.

She has told how Maxwell referred to herself as being like a ‘mother hen’ and her young female massage recruits were like her ‘children’.

On her salon’s website she talks proudly of visiting Vidal Sassoon in London and Toni and Guy in New York to educate herself on cutting and colouring techniques.

I wish her well in hell: She was groomed by the ‘calculating witch’ Ghislaine Maxwell to give Jeffrey Epstein massages on his private island. And as Chauntae Davies recalls, it was the start of a nightmare of multiple rapes at the hands of the billionaire

By Stephen Wright for the Daily Mail 

Her message to the ‘calculating witch’ who destroyed her life was uncompromising and to the point.

‘I wish her well in hell,’ says Chauntae Davies. ‘Ghislaine Maxwell is a monster in every sense of the word. 

‘She deserves to die behind bars for what she did to me and the countless other women’s lives she destroyed. She and Epstein will meet each other in hell when her time comes.’

Still scarred by the four years she suffered at the hands of Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein, Chauntae was jubilant at the sensational conclusion of the New York trial this week.

Maxwell, 60, was branded a ‘sophisticated predator’ who procured and served up young girls to her lover in what prosecutors described as a ‘pyramid scheme of abuse’.

Chauntae was one of those girls. She was a 21-year-old trainee massage therapist when she was lured into the couple’s depraved circle, where she was repeatedly raped over many years. 

‘She and Epstein destroyed my life in every way. My relationships. My family life and my health,’ she says.

Portraits of Chauntae Davies who was a victim of financier Jeffrey Epstein

 Chauntae Davies was a trainee massage therapist when she was lured into the couple’s depraved circle, where she was repeatedly raped over many years

Chauntae travelled with Epstein and Maxwell, and was part of a group of dignitaries and celebrities that flew on the billionaire’s private jet to Africa in 2002. Former US president Bill Clinton, together with actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker, visited the five African countries during the five-day humanitarian trip, part of a project for Clinton’s foundation to raise awareness about poverty and the Aids crisis. (Above, Chauntae with Clinton)

Unlike Epstein’s other young victims, who were below the age of consent, Chauntae was older and, some may assume, wiser. Which brings us to the troubling question of why, having been assaulted on one occasion, she continued to put herself in harm’s way.

For four years she continued to be a part of Epstein and Maxwell’s circle, enduring repeated rapes by her depraved employer. Chauntae still struggles to come to terms with why she didn’t attempt to break free earlier.

‘There is a decent amount of shame and guilt I carried with me for years over this, and in many ways still do,’ she says.

‘Those feelings are now mixed with embarrassment and anger. It’s hard to understand why the strong, brave and independent woman that I’ve become could allow that to happen.

‘I am only now beginning to understand the manipulation and control that was used by both Jeffrey and Ghislaine. But especially Ghislaine. She was wearing a mask throughout the time I knew her. I wish I could have seen her for who she was.’

Chauntae is reassured only by the knowledge that many other girls were similarly duped, and then intimidated into not speaking out sooner.

‘My story is so similar to that of the other survivors who were initially tricked by Maxwell and then delivered to Epstein whose power and connections made escaping and leaving seem utterly terrifying.’

How Chauntae came to be recruited by Maxwell, and delivered to Epstein, was fairly typical of how the couple operated. 

She was just weeks into her training as a masseuse, in 2001, when her LA-based tutor and mentor Gypsy Gita took her to the five-star Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills to give a massage to Maxwell. 

There is no suggestion Gita had any awareness of Epstein and Maxwell’s wrongdoing.

Chauntae recalls a ‘charming, tall, thin, sophisticated British woman, with a pixie haircut’. 

‘Her stare was sharp, and she seemed to look me over like a farmer assessing his cattle. She continued to ask me questions throughout the session,’ Chauntae remembers.

‘I remember feeling a bit uneasy that there was so much focus on me during her paid hour.’ 

She obviously made an impression, because within hours Gypsy got a call asking if Chauntae would be available for hire for the weekend at a home in Palm Beach, Florida – Epstein’s luxury mansion.

A dream opportunity, surely, for any young woman at the start of her career.

Bill Clinton and Ghislaine Maxwell pose together for the camera as the pair prepare to board Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet

‘My first reaction was that it just wasn’t possible. I had only been in massage school for a couple of weeks,’ says Chauntae. 

‘Looking back on it now, the speed of it is so suspicious but this is how her and Epstein were operating all along. Little did I know that this was to be the start of the worst period of my life. She was so charming that I trusted her implicitly.’

Chauntae’s first encounter with her billionaire boss should have sounded alarm bells that had her running to the airport.

Epstein, she later told prosecutors, performed a sex act on himself in front of her during the session. 

But somehow – through fear she wouldn’t be believed or the sheer force of Maxwell’s charm and reassurance – she was persuaded to join the couple again.

Within weeks, Chauntae was fully immersed into Epstein’s bizarre life of wealth and luxury, travelling the world on his Boeing 727 nicknamed the Lolita Express. 

She even went to Little Saint James, his private island home in the Caribbean – nicknamed Orgy Island – where Prince Andrew previously admitted visiting.

‘The island was stunning. Turquoise waters moving back and forth across white sand. It was breathtaking.’

And it was here that she came to realise the true nature of her ‘dream job’.

She was reading a book in bed late at night when Epstein’s assistant Sarah Kellen came to the room of her private bungalow and knocked on the door.

Kellen has been accused by some of helping to facilitate Epstein’s abuse, but insists she was in fact a victim herself.

‘She peered cautiously around the door with a shy smile and said, “Jeffrey’s ready for his massage”,’ recalls Chauntae. 

‘I froze. It was late, I thought we were all going to bed. I knew I was brought here to work as their massage therapist, but I also knew this late-night call on an island where I already felt isolated did not feel right.

‘She led me to another, bigger private villa on the opposite side of the main house, a part of the island I had not yet seen; Jeffrey and Ghislaine’s villa.

‘It was a large room with a large bed that centred the room, and you could hear the waves crashing against the rocks just outside the windows. 

A beautiful bathroom, which lit the room, sat to the left and just in front of that, a massage table was set up.

‘Sarah mumbled something as she closed the double doors behind her, and Jeffrey would be here shortly. I took a breath. I knew this didn’t look good and I wanted to run right then and hop in one of the boats and drive to the nearest island and fly myself home.

‘But I didn’t. I stood there, nervous, wondering how this would play out.

‘Suddenly the doors flung open, and Jeffrey came waltzing in, smug, happy, and climbed on the table.

‘He didn’t stop talking, I supposed to avoid any awkwardness, and asked me how I liked the island and how he had strained a muscle in the gym that day. 

He asked me about my massage school and many other things while I attempted to answer his questions without giving away the fact that I was nervous as hell.

‘I wondered where Ghislaine was and hoped that because this was their room, he wouldn’t pull any funny business.’

But the massage session took a dark turn as Epstein’s personality suddenly switched – the details of which she still finds difficult to talk about.

He grabbed her wrist and pulled her body ‘on to his already naked body,’ she said. She begged him to stop but ‘that just seemed to excite him more’, and he raped her.

Afterwards Epstein simply climbed off the bed without speaking, and calmly walked into the bathroom for a shower while she fled through the night, running back to her cottage in bare feet.

‘I still wonder why I didn’t protect myself from this sociopath,’ Chauntae recalls. ‘I would think, “You idiot, get out of there” like you do in a scary movie and the bad guy is hiding round the corner with a knife.

Chauntae Davies and Jeffrey Epstein pictured together at a table

Bill Clinton lies back in a chair as he receives a neck massage from a former victim of Jeffrey Epstein

‘We stayed on the island a few more days after this, but I don’t remember much. That first night is burned in my memory for ever, and I’m sure the next few days were the same, but it’s a block for me.

‘I’ve been told that sometimes memories are too far a burden to bear and that’s why our minds block them.’ And so it was that Chauntae continued to travel with Epstein and Maxwell, and was part of a group of dignitaries and celebrities that flew on the billionaire’s private jet to Africa in 2002.

Former US president Bill Clinton, together with actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker, visited the five African countries during the five-day humanitarian trip, part of a project for Clinton’s foundation to raise awareness about poverty and the Aids crisis.

During a stopover at a small airport in Portugal to refuel, Chauntae was pictured giving the former president a neck massage – he had complained of ‘stiffness’ after falling asleep in his seat.

‘Ghislaine Maxwell chimed in to be funny and said that I could give him a massage,’ she recalls. ‘Everyone had a little chuckle but Ghislaine in her prim British accent insisted and said I was good. The president then asked me, “Would you mind giving it a crack?”

‘He turned his back to me, and I reached up and I started to rub out the kink in his neck and shoulder.’

The moment was captured on camera: ‘Although the image looks bizarre, President Clinton was a perfect gentleman, and I saw absolutely no foul play involving him.’

However, there was an embarrassing moment: as she massaged Clinton’s neck, she asked, innocently: ‘I’ve got a bad angle, would you mind getting on your knees?’ After Clinton’s infamous ‘inappropriate’ relationship with his former intern, Monica Lewinsky, her choice of words could have been better.

‘I have always been the queen of putting my foot in my mouth,’ Chauntae says. ‘The room fell silent. I couldn’t believe I’d said that. Then, although his face had turned the colour of fire, he laughed. The whole room was laughing. And being the good sport he was, he sat down so I could get a better angle.’

The encounter would prove to be one of the few lighter ones that marked her four years in Epstein’s circle of hell.

In July 2019, Chauntae told everything to the FBI and the Assistant Attorney General of New Mexico. Epstein was arrested five days later. He hanged himself in his Manhattan prison cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial.

Chauntae, who has a young daughter and is raising her in a remote part of the US, now finally hopes her life can resume.

‘I am now starting a new chapter of my life and am determined to move on. Maxwell’s conviction is long overdue.

‘I just hope that myself and the other brave women who came forward and fought for justice now finally get some peace.’

As for her charming seducer with the cut-glass accent, however, Chauntae issues a note of caution.

‘I doubt this is the last we have heard from her. A rat will always try to force its way out of the sewer.’

Daddy’s depraved darling: Born into a life of unimaginable privilege and power, Ghislaine Maxwell never escaped from the shadow of the monstrous father who doted on her with the same passion as he bullied and beat her 

By Richard Pendlebury for Daily Mail 

The party should have been one of the social events of a gilded undergraduate year.

 The lawns of Headington Hill Hall, the 53-room Italianate mansion home of media tycoon Robert Maxwell and his large family, had been floodlit and covered with marquees. The catering was ‘beyond lavish’.

Magnums of champagne and a powerful sound system would further fuel the party spirit as Ghislaine Maxwell, Balliol undergraduate, ‘social queen of Oxford’ and Daddy’s favourite child, celebrated her coming of age in the company of a couple of hundred other Bright Young Things.

‘There was a lot of drinking and some surreptitious drug-taking,’ recalls one of the guests, who had known Maxwell from her time at Marlborough public school. ‘Someone, inevitably, fell fully clothed into the swimming pool. 

All par for the course at such an event. No cause for alarm. But then, well before midnight, the music suddenly stopped. The lights came up and we were all ordered to leave.

‘I remember her father being there, watching the festivities. He didn’t look very happy and, obviously, he didn’t like what he saw. So he pulled the plug, as if it were Ghislaine’s 11th birthday rather than her 21st.’

Once a well-heeled member of London and New York’s social scene and daughter of a newspaper tycoon, Ghislaine Maxwell now faces life in prison after being convicted of sex trafficking charges on Wednesday. Pictured: Maxwell holding a photo of her late father Robert Maxwell in 1991

Robert Maxwell (back row, center) pictured with his wife Betty (sat with youngest daughter Ghislaine on her knee) and seven of their eight children at home in Headington Hill Hall, Oxford. When this photo was taken Ian was 11 years old and attending preparatory school, while Isabel, then 17 was at grammar school with their sister Christine, and youngest son Kevin, 8, was at preparatory school. Second oldest son Philip, had entered his second undergraduate year at Balliol College, Oxford, while Anne was also studying at the university, but at St Hugh’s College. Michael, the eldest, was terminally ill after a car crash

Ghislaine Maxwell is seen sifting through the mountain’s of ‘Draw Coupon’ entries at Maxwell House in 1984 – before getting involved with Jeffrey Epstein 

Maxwell is seen in 2005 with Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in jail in July 2019

The fun ceased unexpectedly that evening in 1982. But it would be another four tumultuous decades before the party was truly over for the ‘vivacious’ and ‘bulletproof’ socialite known as ‘Good Time Ghislaine’.

She spent her latest red-letter birthday – her 60th, which fell on Christmas Day – behind bars. 

And now she is a newly convicted sex criminal; a confirmed paedophile and child-trafficker, deserted by the rich and famous ‘friends’ whose contact details appeared in Jeffrey Epstein’s notorious little black address book. 

None was prepared to risk their own position in what passes for high society by giving evidence in her defence. The most connected woman in London and Manhattan is today a toxic pariah.

The story of Ghislaine Maxwell is a tragedy in two acts. The first was not of her making: she was the youngest and most spoilt child of a monstrous father who was also a megalomaniac, fantasist and financial criminal on a vast scale. 

You cannot choose your family, and life chez Maxwell was a tyranny dressed up as a romantic fairy tale.

The second act, though, was almost entirely her own work. When Robert Maxwell fell to his death from a superyacht he had named after her, Ghislaine could have chosen a fresh path.

Instead, she almost immediately took up with a man of similar mien; a financier, smoke-and-mirrors crook and substitute ‘Daddy’ figure who would provide the extreme wealth she was used to. 

In return, Maxwell groomed and pimped the underage girls who were Epstein’s means of sexual gratification. Often, she abused them with him.

Ghislaine was Robert Maxwell’s youngest child, born on Christmas Day 1961 She’s pictured with her father in 1984

Ghislaine Maxwell (right) and the American financier (left) were believed to be dating at the time and the Duke subsequently struck up a friendship with Epstein 

And she was rewarded with the kind of ultra-sybaritic lifestyle that tempted US presidents, a British prince, Silicon Valley titans and Hollywood stars to join her on the passenger manifest of Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’ private jet.

To understand something of what drove the daughter to the moral abyss, one must consider the hard-scrabble background and ruthless ambition of her father.

Robert Maxwell was born Jan Hoch in 1923, in Solotvyno, a border town in anti-Semitic Czechoslovakia. 

His parents were poor Orthodox Jews who spoke Yiddish, and Maxwell would later say that he did not possess his own pair of shoes until the age of four. 

Home was a two-room wooden shack in which the Hochs and their nine children lived in some squalor.

Jan was the tall, clever firstborn, doted on by his mother. He was expected to become a rabbi but had other plans. 

At 16, as Czechoslovakia was being carved up by its neighbours and Europe was within weeks of war, he gave up his Talmudic studies. 

After many adventures – real or imagined – he joined the Czech army in exile in France. 

When France fell, he joined the British Army, became an NCO and began using the name Ivan du Maurier. By the time he had received a commission and won a Military Cross for a frontal assault on prepared German positions, Jan Hoch had become Robert Maxwell. Cap’n Bob was born. Or, rather, self-created.

The Making of a RUTHLESS tyrant

Along the way, he had also acquired a French wife – Betty – and a rather strange, quasi-upper-crust British accent. And when peace came, there was nothing to go back to. His parents and many other members of his family perished in the Holocaust.

Instead, he set about creating a business empire, based on his acquisition of a scientific book publisher which he renamed Pergamon Press. According to Betty, he also wanted to recreate the family he lost in the war — and so there would be nine Maxwell children. Ghislaine was the last.

The youngest in any family is prone to be the most overlooked or, alternatively, mollycoddled.

Ghislaine experienced both extremes, thanks to her arrival in this world being overshadowed by family tragedy. 

Three days after she was born in Paris, the eldest Maxwell son, 15-year-old Michael, suffered critical head injuries in a car crash. He fell into a coma from which he never awoke, dying almost seven years later.

His parents and siblings were devastated by the accident. Betty, who rushed home from the French maternity hospital, was to keep a daily vigil beside Michael’s bed. 

Baby Ghislaine – her exotic first name a belated acknowledgement of her mother’s nationality – was all but forgotten.

‘She was hardly given a glance and became anorexic while still a toddler,’ Betty later admitted. Robert Maxwell’s attitude toward his children changed because of the crash, John Preston writes in Fall, his acclaimed biography of the tycoon.

‘The most obvious thing was we were effectively confined to barracks,’ Ghislaine’s brother Ian recalled. ‘ He had this horror of something happening to another of us . I think it was especially hard for my sister Ghislaine because she was basically ignored.’

And then, everything in the family changed again. One day, aged three, the neglected child stood in front of her still-grieving mother and said: ‘Mummy, I exist.’ Betty was ‘devastated’ by Ghislaine’s precocious plea for affection. ‘In an attempt to compensate for the fact that she had been neglected, her parents began showering Ghislaine with attention,’ Preston writes.

Prince Andrew first met Ghislaine Maxwell when she was at university and the pair had known each other for nearly 20 years when she is alleged to have introduced him to Epstein 

Ian Maxwell said his sister’s relationship with Epstein developed after the family advised her to remain in the U.S. because the Maxwell name was ‘in the dirt’ at home

IGNORED CHILD TO father’s favourite

‘Pretty, coquettish and indulged, she soon became her father’s favourite. Perhaps her father saw something of his younger self in Ghislaine’s wilfulness, her refusal to compromise and her apparently cast-iron belief in her own allure.’ 

Betty would later note the predictable result. Ghislaine ‘became spoilt,’ she recalled. ‘The only one of my children I can truly say that about.’ 

Ghislaine attended Oxford High School for Girls, then boarded at a prep school in Somerset before returning to Oxford and Headington School.

She and her siblings were objects of fascination to her classmates, living as they did in a mini-palace with domestic staff and limousines. But life at home was always challenging, and often brutal.

At meal times the father, a sometime Labour MP, demanded that the children prove their erudition.

They would have to expound across the table on topics chosen at random by him. If a child’s discourse failed to meet his approval, the meal would be interrupted while he beat the miscreant – boy or girl – with a belt.

Beatings would also be administered for failures at school, or untruths. ‘Bob would shout and threaten and rant at the children until they were reduced to pulp,’ Betty admitted in her memoir.

His youngest completed her secondary education at Marlborough public school in Wiltshire.

It was there that ‘Good Time Ghislaine’ began to emerge, like a butterfly from the stifling Headington cocoon. 

‘I liked her, very much,’ one contemporary told the Mail. ‘She was a vivacious, flirty, very pretty girl. Good fun and naughty.’

But Ghislaine’s education, both intellectual and social, had to be completed. And that meant going to Oxford University.

Therein lay a problem. For all her charisma and daredevil energy, Ghislaine was not academic. ‘She was never considered one of the brainy ones at school,’ a Marlborough contemporary confirms.

How, then, did she get into Balliol, one of the most prestigious Oxford colleges? There is one explanation. In 1965, Ghislaine’s father – then MP for Buckingham – instituted the Robert Maxwell Fellowship in Politics. It would be endowed upon Balliol.

Balliol is the former college of several prime ministers, including Boris Johnson. And Kevin, Ian and Ghislaine Maxwell.

It is even said she failed her first entrance exam but was allowed a second go. The power of money?

While an undergraduate reading modern history and modern languages, Maxwell’s reputation as a party animal, social tornado and networking queen grew.

One of the pictures brought in as evidence showed Epstein and Maxwell relaxing at Balmoral, the Scottish home of Queen Elizabeth. Her son, Prince Andrew, is one of the men who was said to have flown on Epstein’s plane

QUEEN OF THE Oxford SCENE

She liked the company of men and hung out with the hard-drinking, restaurant-trashing toffs of the Bullingdon Club. Why would she be fazed by them? She was Robert Maxwell’s daughter.

It was around this time she first met Prince Andrew, who was not at the university. Maxwell shared digs with an English aristocrat, a jewellery heiress and the daughter of an Old Etonian Liberal peer.

Their student house parties were not typical. Before one of them, two limousines arrived from Headington Hill Hall, to disgorge Filipino domestic staff and all the food and drink.

Cap’n Bob, who bought Mirror Group Newspapers in 1984, was simply investing in his youngest and most loved. While her brothers Kevin and Ian were toiling in the boardrooms of the family empire, Ghislaine was front of house.

When she was 22 and still an undergraduate, her father made her a director of Oxford United Football Club, which he had bought two years previously. She was ‘the youngest and best-looking director in the league’, it was reported.

Ghislaine gamely professed her love of football and was often photographed next to her father in the directors’ box. It is perhaps not surprising that she did not shine in her finals. In the summer of 1985, Ghislaine Maxwell graduated with a third-class degree. She came bottom of her course.

Boat NAMED AFTER HER

But did it really matter? She had other advantages. Daddy loved her more than his other three Maxwell daughters or, indeed, his wife Betty.

To further demonstrate that pecking order of affection, in 1986 the tycoon invited his youngest to accompany him to a shipyard in the Netherlands.

The Arab businessman Emad Khashoggi had commissioned a 55-metre, state-of-the-art superyacht. But before delivery, Khashoggi changed his mind. Robert Maxwell made an offer for the four-storey boat.

At the Dutch shipyard, his unsuspecting daughter was invited to smash a bottle of champagne against the hull. And so the vessel was renamed the Lady Ghislaine.

Ghislaine was set up with her own company — Maxwell Corporate Gifts. When her father launched The European newspaper in May 1990, she was given a paid consultant role.

She was then dispatched to New York as ‘emissary’ for her father as he bought the city’s ailing Daily News. Daddy gave her a flat overlooking Central Park. But she needed a thick skin. While she remained Daddy’s girl, he often crushed her.

In his book Maxwell: The Final Verdict, Tom Bower described how Ghislaine, then 29, was reduced to tears and had to write her father a pitiful note of apology for failing to – in his eyes – adequately report a dinner in New York she had attended on his behalf. 

‘I am very sorry my description of the dinner … made you angry,’ she wrote. ‘Please forgive me.’

Her own ability to cultivate people was beyond question. Years later, after the Epstein scandal had first broken and he went briefly to jail, the writer Vicky Ward would declare: ‘I like her. Most people in New York do. It’s almost impossible not to.

Ghislaine spent the first half of her life with her father, a rags-to-riches billionaire who looted his companies’ pension funds before dying a mysterious death when he fell off his superyacht – named The Lady Ghislaine (pictured) 

Robert Maxwell (middle) at a party on his yacht with daughter Ghislaine (left) and wife Elisabeth (right)

‘She is always the most interesting, the most vivacious, the most unusual person in any room. Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else’s I can think of.’

There is one photograph in particular, taken at a London party in June 1991, that seems to capture the essence of the public Ghislaine Maxwell as she was about to enter her 30s while the family empire seemingly conquered the world. 

She has just turned away from talking to Rolling Stone Mick Jagger and fellow socialite Susannah Constantine. Her expression suggests rapture. 

But unknown to her — and the world — Daddy’s empire was billions of dollars in debt and about to fall apart. Cap’n Bob was desperately laundering money and pension funds to stave off bankruptcy.

Disaster — and recovery

When Robert Maxwell went overboard from the Lady Ghislaine off the Canary Islands in November 1991, the extent of his theft became clear, not least the £426 million hole in the Mirror pension fund.

But she stood by her father, who, it transpired, had provided her with a substantial trust fund linked to a Lichtenstein bank, the payments from which continued after the Maxwell business empire disintegrated. 

In an interview with Vanity Fair the following year Ghislaine said: ‘He wasn’t a crook – a thief, to me, is someone who steals money. Do I think my father did that? No.’

By then she had relocated to New York. She told Vanity Fair: ‘We’ll be back. Watch this space.’ 

And by late 1992 she had met her father’s replacement: Epstein. By 1996, ‘broke’ Ghislaine was the queen bee of Manhattan again, rubbing shoulders with the great and good and spending a reported £20,000 a month on her Visa card alone.

A ‘friend’ reportedly said her dependence on Epstein was ‘pretty total’ but that ‘he can treat her very well or very badly. He bullies and pampers her. He can be impatient, demanding and extremely critical’.

That sounded terribly familiar.

Now Epstein is dead. Maxwell has had to face the music for their years of paedophile abuse alone. No one from her past whom the Mail approached wanted to speak on the record about her. Save one.

Jonathan Aitken has known the Maxwells since the 1960s, when he was close to Ghislaine’s sister Anne. 

He suffered his own fall from grace when he was jailed for perjury and perverting the course of justice. Ghislaine’s niece wrote to him every week when he was behind bars.

He said: ‘Ghislaine was the daughter of a dictator, tyrant, king. Yet I believe there is good in her, whatever else we have heard in court. 

She trusted her father rather more than she should have done. And I think she did the same with Epstein.’

Maxwell verdict as experts warn socialite’s conviction will raise questions over how much prince knew about his friend’s ‘debauched behaviour’ – amid royal fears she will ‘name names’ to reduce jail term

 By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter for MailOnline

Prince Andrew’s US lawyers have reportedly held emergency talks after Ghislaine Maxwell’s convictions for child sex trafficking as experts told MailOnline the guilty verdicts are ‘not good news’ for the Duke of York whose future as a frontline royal is now looking increasingly ‘bleak’.

Lawyers in the US believe the ninth in line to the British throne should now be ‘quaking in his boots’ as his old friend faces spending the rest of her life behind bars unless she flips and ‘names names’.

Experts also believe that the Duke of York’s chances of defeating the legal action brought against him by Virginia Roberts Giuffre will now be even harder after Maxwell was found guilty by a New York jury yesterday. 

The 60-year-old British socialite was labelled a ‘dangerous’ predator as she was convicted of helping to entice vulnerable teenagers to Jeffrey Epstein’s homes for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004. 

Miss Maxwell, a friend of Andrew’s for many years who decided not to give evidence at her trial, could now try to cut a deal to reduce a sentence that would see her die in prison.   

Andrew’s lawyers spoke after yesterday’s verdicts to discuss the fallout – but also believe the decision not to call Mrs Giuffre as a witness was ‘disastrous’ for her credibility, the Mirror has claimed, describing them as emergency talks.

Today royal experts have said the Duke of York’s reputation is now ‘a busted flush’ because of his friendship with billionaire paedophile Epstein and now-convicted sex trafficker Maxwell.

This photo of Jeffrey Epstein in front of one of his private planes was submitted into evidence during the trial of his alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell

And the Queen’s continued and unwavering support for her son, including reportedly spending millions of pounds privately funding the Duke of York’s defence case against allegations of sexual abuse, risks bringing the Royal Family into disrepute, critics have claimed.

Robert Jobson, author of Prince Philip’s Century, told MailOnline: ‘Whatever way you look at the Maxwell verdict it is not good news for the Duke of York. Not only has he admitted a judgement failure regarding his friendship with the dead convicted paedophile Epstein, but it is known that he also enjoyed a longer friendship with convicted sex trafficker Maxwell’.

Prince Andrew has consistently denied any wrongdoing and is not facing a criminal prosecution in the United States – but was named twice in proceedings including by a pilot as one of the passengers flown on sex offender Epstein’s private jet, the so-called ‘Lolita Express’ because it was used to ferry the billionaire paedophile’s victims around the globe. 

Epstein and Maxwell were also snapped relaxing on the bench at the Queen’s secluded log cabin in Glen Beg, Balmoral, after Andrew personally invited them to stay.

Mr Jobson said: ‘Prince Andrew may well be innocent and his accuser’s allegation baseless, as he claims. But in the court of public opinion his association with these convicted criminals calls his own character and lack of judgement into question. Why did he spend so much time with them? What did he know of their debauched behaviour?

‘At the moment this is a civil case again the Duke of York, but I am sure the authorities will be watching the developments in this case very closely. Unless he is cleared his position as a working royal representing the Queen going forward is untenable unless the Queen is prepared to bring the institution into disrepute.’

Andrew’s biographer Nigel Cawthorne told Newsweek: ‘The verdict does not help Prince Andrew at all in the court of public opinion. The famous picture is now seen in a whole new light. 

‘Now we have Ghislaine Maxwell, sex trafficker, standing there next to a woman who says she was trafficked, next to Prince Andrew who says he wasn’t there.

‘If Maxwell was acquitted that would have helped him, indeed they could have called her as a defense witness. Things are looking a bit more bleak for him now.’

On January 4, a New York judge will decide whether to throw out Andrew’s accuser Mrs Giuffre’s civil lawsuit over the Prince’s argument that she lives in Australia and cannot justify her claim to be a Colorado resident. If the royal’s challenge fails, he then faces the increasingly uncomfortable prospect of a trial in the US in front of a jury who are unlikely to be sympathetic to a British prince after Maxwell’s conviction.     

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said: ‘Andrew was barely mentioned in Maxwell’s trial. Yet the photograph of him, Virginia Roberts, now Giuffre and Maxwell, taken in 2001, remains unexplained and is constantly reproduced.

‘He has not fulfilled his promise to help the FBI, who are attempting to trace Epstein’s accomplices. The conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell adds yet another name to the list of notorious friends of his. Every appearance in public ends up with photographs which are bad publicity and at 61, he has no foreseeable role of any sort.

A sleazy haul of never-before-seen photos unearthed in an FBI raid and introduced as evidence showed Ghislaine Maxwell giving Jeffrey Epstein foot rubs on his private jet dubbed Lolita Express

‘His hopes obviously rest on either having the case against Virginia Roberts Giuffre dismissed, or ultimately in winning it. He might eventually have to settle, if the case against him goes ahead this would be extremely damaging to the monarchy.

‘Even if he were to win, his close friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell will leave him tainted’.  

One of the five charges Maxwell was guilty of related to Andrew’s own accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre. She claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew three times after being trafficked by Maxwell and Epstein. 

New York defence attorney Bradley Simon, a former federal prosecutor, said that Andrew could face trouble because the required burden of proof in a criminal trial is higher than a civil case. He said: ‘Every jury is different and the facts will be different – but it does not bode well for the prince.’ 

Los Angeles attorney Lisa Bloom, who represented eight victims of Epstein, said: ‘He [Andrew] should be quaking in his boots. Because this shows that a jury is willing to come back with a guilty verdict even if the accusers are not perfect’.

Mrs Giuffre is suing the duke for alleged rape, which he strenuously denies. Piling the pressure on Andrew in the minutes after the Maxwell verdicts came in, she tweeted:  ‘I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served. Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be.’ 

She added: ‘My soul yearned for justice for years and today the jury gave me just that. I will remember this day always. Having lived with the horrors of Maxwell’s abuse, my heart goes out to the many other girls and young women who suffered at her hands and whose lives she destroyed’.

The duke’s lawyers say her civil action is ‘baseless’. They have also convinced District Judge Lewis Kaplan to take into account a 2008 financial settlement deal between Giuffre and Epstein, which Andrew and his team believe will discredit her claim against him. 

The jury’s confirmation that Maxwell was the willing accomplice for the late Epstein will serve to place Andrew beyond the pale for his elder brother Prince Charles, who already saw him as a liability for the Royal Family, with a return to any royal duties now highly unlikely. 

As Andrew’s relationship with Maxwell and Epstein further tarnished his reputation, it also emerged today:

  • Ghislaine Maxwell could now start naming names to get a shorter prison sentence after the British socialite was found guilty of sex trafficking schoolgirls for her and her pedophile boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to abuse. Her family said they were ‘very disappointed’ with the verdict and had already begun the appeal process with the belief she will be ‘vindicated’;
  • Prince Andrew’s accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre piles more pressure on after the Ghislaine Maxwell guilty verdicts, declaring: ‘Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable’;
  • BBC admits an interview with guest pundit Alan Dershowitz about Maxwell verdict was a mistake and says it should have told audience he was Epstein’s lawyer and is accused of sex assault by Mrs Giuffre;
  • Ghislaine Maxwell is expected to be placed on suicide watch at the notorious Brooklyn jail where she is being held. She is expected to be moved to a federal jail in Connecticut;

Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell sits as the guilty verdict in her sex abuse trial is read in a courtroom sketch in New York City on Wednesday 

‘He’s a busted flush,’ one seasoned royal expert told MailOnline, adding: ‘Unfortunately for Andrew, it’s no longer so much about evidence and proof, or what if anything went on with Virginia Giuffre – it’s all about public perception.

BBC admits interview with Alan Dershowitz about Maxwell verdict was a mistake after failing to tell viewers HE represented Jeffrey Epstein and is also accused of sexual assault by Virginia Roberts

The BBC labelled Alan Dershowitz a ‘lawyer’ without saying he represented Jeffrey Epstein and is also accused by Virginia Giuffre

The New York sex abuse case against Prince Andrew was weakened because prosecutors in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial failed to call his accuser as a witness, it was claimed last night.

Jeffrey Epstein’s former lawyer Alan Dershowitz insisted the fact the Maxwell jury didn’t hear from Virginia Giuffre was because the authorities don’t believe she is telling the truth.

But critics pointed out Mr Dershowitz is also accused of sexual abuse by Ms Roberts, said that taints his opinion on the case and slammed the BBC for interviewing him on the subject without giving any context.

And royal experts said there was ‘no way back’ for Andrew’s reputation now the Maxwell verdicts are in regardless of the outcome of the case against him.

Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz both deny all the allegations against them.

Mr Dershowitz, 83, who was formerly Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyer, told the BBC he thought the case against Andrew was ‘weakened considerably’ after the Maxwell trial.

‘I think the most important thing for British viewers is that the Government was very careful as to who it used as witnesses,’ he said.

‘It did not use as a witness the woman who accused Prince Andrew, who accused me, who accused many other people, because the Government did not believe that she was telling the truth.

‘And in fact that she, Virginia Giuffre, was mentioned in the trial as someone who brought young people to Epstein for him to abuse.

‘So this case does not do anything at all in any way to strengthen the case against Prince Andrew. 

‘In fact it weakens the case against Prince Andrew considerably because the government was very selective in who it used.

‘It used only witnesses it believed were credible and they deliberately did not use the main witness, the woman who started the whole investigation, Virginia Giuffre because ultimately it did not believe that she was telling the truth. 

‘They didn’t believe that a jury would believe her and they were right in doing so, so it was very smart on behalf of the government.’

The fact Mr Dershowitz was introduced on to the BBC News Channel as a ‘constitutional lawyer’, with no mention of his involvement in the case, drew condemnation last night. His claims about Ms Giuffre were not challenged by the interviewer. 

Adam Wagner, a human rights barrister, said that the interview represented a ‘huge error by the BBC’.

 

‘Andrew’s handling of this whole affair, coupled with his car crash Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis, have made him into a toxic brand for the rest of the Royal Family. Only the Queen, who has always considered him as her favourite, remains loyal, while the other Royals are keen to keep him at arm’s length.’

A lawyer for Jeffrey Epstein’s victims says Prince Andrew should be ‘quaking in his boots’ over Ghislaine Maxwell’s guilty verdict.

Los Angeles attorney Lisa Bloom, who represented eight victims of the billionaire paedophile, said the conviction of Epstein’s madame for sex trafficking brought her and her clients to tears.  

If the judge sides with Giuffre, the case could go before a jury in the Autumn of 2022.

Bloom said in the wake of Maxwell’s conviction, she believes the prince’s technical objections ‘aren’t going to fly’. 

‘Even if there were grounds for cross-examination, which there were, they looked to the essence of the story and they found that Ghislaine Maxwell was guilty of sex trafficking.’ 

Lisa Bloom said that if the case goes to trial Andrew’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, is likely to try to trip up Giuffre by pointing out inconsistencies in her testimony – but the tactic would now be ineffective with a jury.

‘I think in his case he’s hoping that his lawyers can cross-examine Virginia and get her on some prior statements that she’s made and mistakes that she’s made. And I just don’t think that’s going to fly. I think he should be very concerned,’ she said.

The lawyer added that Wednesday’s verdict now makes Prince Andrew a self-confessed close friend of a child sex trafficker – after admitting his friendship with Maxwell in a car-crash interview with BBC journalist Emily Maitlis.

‘He clearly had a relationship with Jeffrey Epstein,’ said Bloom. ‘And an even closer relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell. I mean, he said it himself in the interview that he gave that he was actually closer to Ghislaine. And she is now a convicted sex trafficker. So that just brings us one step closer to Prince Andrew.’   

Attorney Brad Edwards, who was honored last month by the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children for his pivotal role representing victims and helping bring down Epstein, told DailyMail.com that Prince Andrew has been denied his ‘hope for evil to win’.

‘That hasn’t worked out so well. Maybe he will repent and provide information now’.

Prince Andrew may face another bombshell ahead of his January 4 hearing after Manhattan federal judges Lewis Kaplan and Loretta Preska ruled that a 2009 settlement agreement between Epstein and Giuffre, which bears directly on Giuffre’s civil lawsuit accusing Britain’s Prince Andrew of sexual abuse, will be made public early next week.

Kaplan is presiding over Giuffre’s lawsuit against the prince for allegedly forcing her to have sex with him at Maxwell’s London home, and abusing her at two of Epstein’s mansions.

Brettler will argue in the upcoming hearing that Giuffre has long lived in Australia and can’t back up her claim to be a Colorado resident.

‘They’re trying every kind of legal loophole they can come up with, because he clearly does not want the case to be decided on its merits,’ said Bloom. ‘He does not want her to get into the courthouse door and get a trial. And that’s what she’s fighting for.

‘It’s very disappointing that he wants to deprive her of her day in court. If he’s innocent, he should want a trial where he would be exonerated, and yet he’s doing everything he can to fight it.

‘I wouldn’t advise him because I am 100% victims’ side now for the last four years,’ the attorney added. ‘But if I were advising him, I would tell him to come clean and apologize and cooperate with law enforcement, as he said he would do and then he never did.

‘Stop hiding behind your lawyers and let’s just get to the bottom of this.’

One of Bloom’s clients, named only as Kiki, said the verdict means Maxwell will have a small taste of how she and other victims felt.

‘No sentence or punishment will take away the trauma that we all had to endure at their hands, but now she will have to live with what she did, just the way the survivors have to live with it every day of our lives,’ Kiki said.

‘What she and Jeffrey did for their own sadistic pleasures, sentenced all of their victims to their own metaphorical prisons. I fight everyday to escape those 4 walls that entrapped me the day I was abused, and now she will know what that’s like for all of the girls she damaged for life.’

‘No matter how rich you are or powerful you are, if you choose to exploit and abuse, your day will come,’ Edwards said.

‘When I heard about Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell 13 years ago, I decided not to stop until justice was served for all of the victims. Today is another huge step. But it’s not over. Everyone else who played a role knows who they are.’

Ghislaine Maxwell was last night facing up to 65 years behind bars after jurors declared her a child sex predator.

The British socialite was found guilty of sex trafficking schoolgirls for her and her paedophile boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to abuse.

The guilty verdicts in New York will intensify the pressure on her friend Prince Andrew to speak to US prosecutors about his time with Epstein.

Victims sobbed with relief and vowed Maxwell’s ‘powerful co-conspirators’ should also face justice.

Prince Andrew leaves sex offender Jeffrey Epsteins home and go for a stroll together through New York’s Central Park. Taken in 2011

Prince Andrew is just days from a crucial hearing in the US as his old friend Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of trafficking young women and enticing them to be abused by Jeffrey Epstein

BBC admits interview with Alan Dershowitz about Maxwell verdict was a mistake after failing to tell viewers HE represented Jeffrey Epstein and is also accused of sexual assault by Virginia Roberts

The BBC labelled Alan Dershowitz a ‘lawyer’ without saying he represented Jeffrey Epstein and is also accused by Virginia Giuffre

The New York sex abuse case against Prince Andrew was weakened because prosecutors in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial failed to call his accuser as a witness, it was claimed last night.

Jeffrey Epstein’s former lawyer Alan Dershowitz insisted the fact the Maxwell jury didn’t hear from Virginia Giuffre was because the authorities don’t believe she is telling the truth.

But critics pointed out Mr Dershowitz is also accused of sexual abuse by Ms Roberts, said that taints his opinion on the case and slammed the BBC for interviewing him on the subject without giving any context.

And royal experts said there was ‘no way back’ for Andrew’s reputation now the Maxwell verdicts are in regardless of the outcome of the case against him.

Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz both deny all the allegations against them.

Mr Dershowitz, 83, who was formerly Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyer, told the BBC he thought the case against Andrew was ‘weakened considerably’ after the Maxwell trial.

‘I think the most important thing for British viewers is that the Government was very careful as to who it used as witnesses,’ he said.

‘It did not use as a witness the woman who accused Prince Andrew, who accused me, who accused many other people, because the Government did not believe that she was telling the truth.

‘And in fact that she, Virginia Giuffre, was mentioned in the trial as someone who brought young people to Epstein for him to abuse.

‘So this case does not do anything at all in any way to strengthen the case against Prince Andrew. 

‘In fact it weakens the case against Prince Andrew considerably because the government was very selective in who it used.

‘It used only witnesses it believed were credible and they deliberately did not use the main witness, the woman who started the whole investigation, Virginia Giuffre because ultimately it did not believe that she was telling the truth. 

‘They didn’t believe that a jury would believe her and they were right in doing so, so it was very smart on behalf of the government.’

The fact Mr Dershowitz was introduced on to the BBC News Channel as a ‘constitutional lawyer’, with no mention of his involvement in the case, drew condemnation last night. His claims about Ms Giuffre were not challenged by the interviewer. 

Adam Wagner, a human rights barrister, said that the interview represented a ‘huge error by the BBC’.

 

British accuser Kate, who told jurors that Maxwell dressed her in a schoolgirl uniform aged 18 to be molested by Epstein, yelled ‘finally’ and would not stop crying, according to her lawyer. The jury took just over 40 hours to find 60-year-old Maxwell guilty on five of six charges. She was already working on an appeal last night. 

Following the verdicts, Maxwell simply poured herself a glass of water and leaned into her lawyer, Jeffrey Pagliuca, who put an arm around her. Her sister Isabel sat behind her with her head bowed, while siblings Kevin and Christine stared into space.

Maxwell was led out of court by two female US marshals, barely looking back to see her family. Kevin, Isabel and Christine left the courthouse arm in arm, and later issued a defiant statement saying: ‘We believe firmly in our sister’s innocence. We are very disappointed with the verdict. We have already started the appeal tonight and we believe that she will ultimately be vindicated.’

But US attorney Damian Williams said: ‘A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable – facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children.

‘Crimes she committed with her long-time partner and co-conspirator, Jeffrey Epstein. The road to justice has been far too long. But, today, justice has been done.’

Annie Farmer, who was lured into a terrifying sex trap by Maxwell when she was 16, sobbed with joy, declaring: ‘I am so relieved and grateful that the jury recognised the pattern of predatory behaviour that Maxwell engaged in for years.

‘She has caused hurt to many more women than the few of us who had the chance to testify in the courtroom.

‘I hope that this verdict brings solace to all who need it and demonstrates that no one is above the law. Even those with great power and privilege will be held accountable when they sexually abuse and exploit the young.’

Her sister Maria, also targeted by Maxwell and Epstein, added: ‘We are proud of one another. I have spent every moment for seven years, working towards this verdict. No pay, just due diligence. I never gave up. This is the best thing I have ever had happen in my life. It means I don’t have to hide.’

Lawyers for victims vowed to pursue other individuals. David Boies, who acts for Mrs Giuffre and Miss Farmer, said: ‘The scope and scale and duration of their sex trafficking crimes depending on many wealthy and powerful collaborators and co-conspirators. They too are not above the law. They too must be brought to justice.’

Sigrid McCawley, the women’s other lawyer, added: ‘Today’s verdict is a towering victory, not just for the brave women who testified in this trial, but for the women around the world whose young and tender lives were diminished and damaged by the abhorrent actions of Ghislaine Maxwell. For too long their voices were ignored and discounted and their characters impugned and disgraced, but no more.’

Maxwell will be placed on suicide watch in jail after jurors agreed she was financier Epstein’s ‘partner in horrific crimes’. She masterminded a sick scheme to round up schoolgirls on an industrial scale for them and their friends to molest. Epstein killed himself while on remand two years ago.

The daughter of the late tycoon Robert Maxwell, who rubbed shoulders with two US presidents, a pope and a host of global A-listers, was deserted by all her VIP friends, including the Duke of York, during her four-week trial for sex trafficking vulnerable teenagers.

The jury of six women and six men took just over five days deliberating to seal her fate, finding her guilty of five of six charges she faced, which were read out by the trial judge Alison Nathan in Court 318 of the Thurgood Marshall courthouse.

Jurors unanimously believed four women, including a Briton, who gave chilling testimonies of being ‘served up’ by Maxwell for sexual abuse by Epstein.

The Mail can reveal that Prince Andrew, who is facing renewed pressure to cooperate with the FBI, did not offer any support and Maxwell’s husband Scott Borgerson also snubbed the trial. In the 2000s, Andrew spent weeks as a guest at Epstein’s ‘House of Sin’ villa in Florida – where ‘lady of the house’ Maxwell forced children to dress in schoolgirl outfits for underage sex with her boyfriend.

For more than two years, US prosecutors have been asking the British Government to facilitate a formal interview with the duke, under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. The Home Office has yet to act on the request, and a stand-off continues between the duke’s legal team and US prosecutors over the terms of any interview by the FBI in London.

Maxwell had pleaded not guilty to the six charges she faced, forcing her victims to relive their ordeals in court as her £5million team of superstar lawyers tried to unpick their stories.

Over two weeks of harrowing prosecution evidence, jurors heard how ‘giggling’ Maxwell had enticed a 14-year-old known as ‘Jane’ into sordid orgies after she and Epstein approached her at a 1994 school summer camp when she was eating an ice cream. Maxwell was acquitted of one of the four charges relating to Jane.

Maxwell had bragged of her friendship with Prince Andrew to Kate and told her she was just Epstein’s type, as he favoured ‘cute, young, pretty’ girls.

A third accuser, ‘Carolyn’, said she too had been recruited as a 14-year-old and that Maxwell had groped her breasts and bottom and told her she had ‘a great body’ for paedophile Epstein ‘and his friends’.

The jury accepted Carolyn’s story that she was trafficked.

Accuser number four, Miss Farmer, described how Maxwell and Epstein had forced themselves on her aged 16 after she was enticed to the paedophile’s remote ranch in new Mexico. She ‘froze’ as Maxwell massaged her breasts.

Maxwell’s shambolic defence focused on Epstein, with her lawyer Bobbi Sternheim telling jurors that women had been blamed for the bad behaviour of men ‘ever since Eve was accused of tempting Adam for the apple’. They painted the four accusers in the case as money-grabbers looking for a ‘jackpot’.

Maxwell did not take to the witness stand in her defence, a gamble which did not pay off. She still faces two charges of perjury that will be tried at a later date.

The New York sex abuse case against Prince Andrew was weakened because prosecutors in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial failed to call his accuser as a witness, it was claimed last night.

Jeffrey Epstein’s former lawyer Alan Dershowitz insisted the fact the Maxwell jury didn’t hear from Virginia Giuffre was because the authorities don’t believe she is telling the truth.

But critics pointed out Mr Dershowitz is also accused of sexual abuse by Ms Roberts, said that taints his opinion on the case and slammed the BBC for interviewing him on the subject without giving any context.

And royal experts said there was ‘no way back’ for Andrew’s reputation now the Maxwell verdicts are in regardless of the outcome of the case against him.

Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz both deny all the allegations against them.

Mr Dershowitz, 83, who was formerly Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyer, told the BBC he thought the case against Andrew was ‘weakened considerably’ after the Maxwell trial.

‘I think the most important thing for British viewers is that the Government was very careful as to who it used as witnesses,’ he said.

‘It did not use as a witness the woman who accused Prince Andrew, who accused me, who accused many other people, because the Government did not believe that she was telling the truth.

‘And in fact that she, Virginia Giuffre, was mentioned in the trial as someone who brought young people to Epstein for him to abuse.

‘So this case does not do anything at all in any way to strengthen the case against Prince Andrew. 

‘In fact it weakens the case against Prince Andrew considerably because the government was very selective in who it used.

‘It used only witnesses it believed were credible and they deliberately did not use the main witness, the woman who started the whole investigation, Virginia Giuffre because ultimately it did not believe that she was telling the truth. 

‘They didn’t believe that a jury would believe her and they were right in doing so, so it was very smart on behalf of the government.’

The fact Mr Dershowitz was introduced on to the BBC News Channel as a ‘constitutional lawyer’, with no mention of his involvement in the case, drew condemnation last night. His claims about Ms Giuffre were not challenged by the interviewer. 

Adam Wagner, a human rights barrister, said that the interview represented a ‘huge error by the BBC’. 

The Duke of York’s lawyers will try to have the civil lawsuit brought by his accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre thrown out of court early next month. 

But last night’s result will make that much more difficult.

And royal observers believe that even a victory for Andrew at that stage – or at a full trial expected in the Autumn – would still not be enough to remove the stigma attached to his name over his friendship with Epstein.

And the sensational verdict in Maxwell’s case will have done nothing to bolster confidence in Andrew’s camp at having Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit dismissed.

‘He’s a busted flush,’ one seasoned royal expert told MailOnline. ‘Unfortunately for Andrew, it’s no longer so much about evidence and proof, or what if anything went on with Virginia Giuffre — it’s all about public perception.

‘Andrew’s handling of this whole affair, coupled with his car crash Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis, have made him into a toxic brand for the rest of the Royal Family.

‘Only the Queen, who has always considered him as her favourite, remains loyal, while the other Royals are keen to keep him at arm’s length.’

Officially, Andrew’s position is that he has ‘stepped back’ from royal duties while the court case is resolved, but it’s difficult to envisage how he could once again take his place in public life in the same way as previously.

Last night Lisa Bloom, a lawyer representing many of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims in several cases, said anyone connected to the paedophile financier should be ‘concerned’.

‘I think anyone who was associated with Jeffrey Epstein, who either participated in sexual abuse, or helped him by sending girls to him, trafficking, etc, should be very concerned today about this verdict.’

She added: ‘The case [against Prince Andrew] has been filed, it has been served after various attempts on his behalf to duck service. Eventually the courts said ‘you’ve been served, move forward’.

Virginia Roberts’ statement on Maxwell verdict  

My soul yearned for justice for years and today the jury gave me just that. I will remember this day always.

Having lived with the horrors of Maxwell’s abuse, my heart goes out to the many other girls and young women who suffered at her hands and whose lives she destroyed.

I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served. Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be.

‘Now he is trying to get the case thrown out on some technical grounds, he says Virginia is not a resident of the United States, that she’s really a resident of Australia, therefore the case should not be heard here.

‘He seems to be doing everything he can to avoid the case being decided on its merits, hoping to get it thrown out on technical grounds, so we’ll see what the judge does.’

Said it was possible that the case could be thrown out but Virginia says she has residency of the US in Colorado.

‘She has outstanding attorneys.

‘I am rooting for her and I hope the case is decided on its merits, so that her dispute with Prince Andrew, and whether he sexually assaulted her can ultimately be decided once and for all by a jury.’

That case is likely to dominate the news heading through the early part of 2022. 

At the moment, the Duke is not expected to play any high-profile part in the forthcoming commemorations for the 40th anniversary of the Falklands war in June, despite his role on active service as a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter pilot during the 1982 conflict.

As a veteran, Prince Andrew would be perfectly entitled to attend any of the events to mark the recapture of Port Stanley, but it is understood that no official invitations have been extended.

Prince Andrew was frequently mentioned by the prosecution in the trial, as a friend of Epstein and Maxwell, a visitor to the billionaire’s townhouse in Manhattan and his private island Little St James – and as having travelled at least four times on the infamous ‘Lolita Express’, Epstein’s private jet.

Few references to the Prince have not been accompanied by the photograph of him with his arm round the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Roberts at Ms Maxwell’s mews house in London, an occasion which he claims not to recall.

Prince Andrew strongly denies Ms Giuffre’s allegations that he slept with her as a 17-year-old sex slave after she claimed to have been trafficked to him at the London house. It has even been reported at one stage that ‘sources close to Andrew’ suggested the photo could have been faked.

That said, his team must have breathed a sigh of relief over the fact that Ms Giuffre was never called to the stand to give evidence during the Maxwell trial, despite being ‘available to do so’.

In a hearing on Saturday, prosecutors taunted Maxwell’s defence lawyers by saying they could have invited Mrs  Giuffre to take the stand but had chosen not to. Andrew Rohrbach said: ‘The most obvious witness who was available to both sides and who we expect the defence to comment on is Virginia Roberts, who was described as a victim but did not testify and she was fully available to the defendants. They did not call her.’

A source close to the Duke told MailOnline: ‘This was Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial – not the Duke’s. Nothing new of any substance has been raised in relation to the Duke – any mentions have been glancing blows, not body blows.’

Prince Andrew first met Maxwell when she was at university and the pair had known each other for nearly 20 years when she is alleged to have introduced him to Epstein.

She and the American financier were believed to be dating at the time and the Duke subsequently struck up a friendship with Epstein.

It was that relationship which allegedly saw him make multiple visits to Epstein’s homes and his island.

Andrew’s lawyers will bring their motion to the District Court in New York next month, seeking a dismissal. Court filings state that he ‘unequivocally denies’ sexually abusing or assaulting Ms Giuffre.

His lawyer Andrew Brettler states in the court papers that ‘accusing a member of the world’s best known royal family of serious misconduct has helped Giuffre create a media frenzy online and in the traditional press.

‘It is unfortunate, but undeniable, that sensationalism and innuendo have prevailed over the truth.

‘Giuffre has initiating this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another payday at his expense and a the expense of those closest to him Epstein’s abuse of Giuffre does not justify her public campaign against Prince Andrew’.

Those who have known Prince Andrew for decades say he is a victim of his own boorish, entitled arrogance and his biggest mistake – and one which many other high-profile individuals also made, not least former US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, was to allow himself to associate with the likes of a man like Epstein at all.

‘Andrew is out in the cold now and likely to stay there, whatever happens’ said one who has met the Duke many times over the years. ‘He doesn’t help himself with his couldn’t-care-less attitude, which makes people resent him.

‘I don’t think we’re likely to see much of him in the future, whatever happens in the civil case in New York, because he’ll find it impossible to shake off this stigma.

‘He’s likely to see out his days as a rather lonely figure riding out in Windsor Great Park and possibly assisting the Queen behind the scenes, but it seems very unlikely we’ll see him doing public engagements again.’  

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