Scotland Yard to 'review' UK Ghislaine Maxwell allegations

15 June 2021, 23:59

Ghislaine Maxwell is currently awaiting trial on charges that she recruited three teenage girls for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse
Ghislaine Maxwell is currently awaiting trial on charges that she recruited three teenage girls for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

Scotland Yard has said it will "review" allegations that British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell trafficked, groomed and abused women and girls in the UK.

Maxwell, the former girlfriend of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, is in a US prison awaiting trial on charges that she recruited three teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse between 1994 and 1997.

Channel 4 News said an investigation has found more than half a dozen claims that young women and girls are alleged to have been targeted, trafficked, groomed, or abused in the UK by Epstein and Maxwell over a period spanning more than a decade.

The news outlet said some victims have provided detailed accounts of their experiences, adding that the evidence comes from a combination of publicly available documentation, witness accounts, and interviews, and that the alleged offences include serious sexual assault and rape.

The Metropolitan Police said they always consider any new information and that they will review the information put to them by the broadcaster.

"From what I've seen, there is clearly enough evidence for the police to investigate more thoroughly than they have done up to now," Nazir Afzal, the former chief prosecutor for north-west England, told Channel 4 News.

"It's concerning, because we've got potentially victims here.

"And maybe other victims or alleged victims who may, if an investigation follows its course, be identified."

The Metropolitan Police said they always take allegations of sexual offences and exploitation seriously.

In a statement, the force said: "The MPS is clear that it will investigate allegations where there is sufficient evidence of an offence having taken place, where it is the appropriate authority to do so and where those against whom the allegation are made are alive.

"The MPS stands by the statement by Commander Alex Murray issued at the end of 2019.

"This confirmed that the MPS had received an allegation of non-recent trafficking for sexual exploitation against a US national, Jeffrey Epstein, and a British woman in 2015 relating to events outside of the UK and an allegation of trafficking to central London in March 2001.

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"Officers assessed the available evidence, interviewed the complainant and obtained early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service.

"However, following the legal advice, it was clear that any investigation into human trafficking would be largely focused on activities and relationships outside the UK."

The Met said officers 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.

Officers reviewed the decision making from 2016 in August 2019 following the death of Jeffrey Epstein, and concluded that the position should remain unchanged.

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"The MPS has continued to liaise and offer assistance with other law enforcement agencies who lead the investigation into matters related to Jeffrey Epstein but is unable to comment on individuals with whom they may or may not have interacted with regard any allegations of crime.

"We will always consider any new information and will review the information sent to us from Channel 4," the force said.