Duke of York 'lacking in compassion' for Epstein's victims

18 November 2019, 02:23 | Updated: 18 November 2019, 16:15

The Duke of York is "utterly lacking in compassion" for the victims of billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Those are the words from a lawyer acting for five of those victims a day after Prince Andrew spoke publicly for the first time about allegations surrounding his friendship with the disgraced American.

The Duke of York was interviewed on BBC's Newsnight about his links to the convicted paedophile, who died in prison earlier this year, and allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl.

But his efforts to justify the friendship with Epstein and to deny knowledge of Epstein's illegal activities were labelled "disastrous", with one public relations expert comparing the interview to "watching a man in quick sand".

Lisa Bloom, representing five of Epstein's victims, said the interview was "deeply disappointing".

She told Sky News that Epstein's victims were "very disturbed by all those who were around Jeffrey Epstein who don't seem to get it".

"He seems utterly lacking in the compassion and the astonishment that the rest of the world has felt after hearing from Jeffrey Epstein's victims."

The duke's friendship with Epstein allegedly led to him being introduced in 2001 to Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, who says she was trafficked by Epstein as a teenager and forced to have sex with his friends.

:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Ms Roberts-Giuffre claims she and Prince Andrew dined and danced together at a nightclub in London before having sex. He denies ever having met her.

The duke travelled to Epstein's mansion in New York in 2010 after Epstein's release from jail, saying he intended to break off their friendship.

But he has been criticised for staying at the mansion for what was reported to have been four days.

He said: "It was a convenient place to stay... at the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do but at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do."

Ms Bloom told Sky News: "Many of his answers just give rise to additional questions because they make no sense.

"Why would you think it's honourable to go visit a convicted sex offender in his home for four days?

"Why you don't regret meeting him because he introduced you to people - when you're a member of the Royal Family, you can meet anyone you want in the entire world.

"So I think these additional questions need answering by way of an FBI investigation or any other investigation that will get to the bottom of what Prince Andrew knew, when he knew it and what he is accused of doing."

Despite criticism of the interview, the BBC reported that sources told them the duke was standing by his decision to be interviewed.