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In one version of accuser’s accounts Duke is centre stage. In the other, he’s not mentioned

On May 3, 2016, Virginia Roberts was cross-examined in a U.S. court, having brought a defamation action against Ghislaine Maxwell, who had accused her of lying.

Maxwell’s lawyer asked her: ‘Again, is there more than one truth, Miss Roberts?’

She replied: ‘No, there’s not more than one truth.’

Not more than one truth, perhaps. But there is sometimes more than one version of an alleged event. And on occasion these versions can seem to vary or evolve into a different scenario altogether.

In 2011, Miss Roberts wrote the draft of a personal memoir. Titled The Billionaire Playboys’ Club, it describes her life from sexual abuse in childhood, homelessness and drug-taking in her teenage years, through being ‘recruited’ as an underage ‘sex slave’ by Epstein and Maxwell to her escape and redemptive marriage to her Australian husband, Rob Guiffre.

She offered the manuscript to at least two U.S. literary agents with a view to commercial publication. Her covering letter to one New York agent, which has become a legal exhibit, read: ‘I am very serious about getting my book published and believe this story will cover many genres of interest, not only by those following the lengthy case, but it is also a woman’s story of glitz, glamour, sorrow, compassion and true love.’

On May 3, 2016, Virginia Roberts (pictured in 2011) was cross-examined in a U.S. court, having brought a defamation action against Ghislaine Maxwell, who had accused her of lying

In another email to a journalist friend, she wrote: ‘I’m bringing down the house with this book!’

The substance promised to be a publishing sensation — and a legal minefield. She named prominent people — including Prince Andrew — who, she said, had taken advantage of her sexually. The allegations were ruinous to their reputations and might even land them in jail.

On pages 96-97, Miss Roberts describes one episode which, she said, took place on Little St James days after her 18th birthday: August 9, 2001. It is worth quoting at length for the purposes of comparison.

She wrote that, over breakfast: ‘Jeffrey announced that he was expecting a few guests coming over with Brunel (Jean-Luc Brunel, a French model agency boss) no one of importance, just his usual entourage of beautiful girls. Russian models this time, and Jeffrey was also having a photographer flown in to take modelling photos using the island as a background for a sexy shoot . . .

‘We were being photographed in next to nothing . . . the more provocative the more Jeffrey and Brunel loved it.’

Maxwell's lawyer asked her: 'Again, is there more than one truth, Miss Roberts?' She replied: 'No, there's not more than one truth.' Pictured: Jeffrey Epstein

Maxwell’s lawyer asked her: ‘Again, is there more than one truth, Miss Roberts?’ She replied: ‘No, there’s not more than one truth.’ Pictured: Jeffrey Epstein

She went on: ‘After the photoshoot we did some outdoor water sports . . . I knew it wouldn’t be long before we were all intimate with each other. Being the only girl that spoke English was also a huge blunder. The only way we could communicate was through hand gestures.’

Then: ‘After lunch on the beach, we were again ushered into another part of the island, Jeffrey’s cabana. There was no need for words here . . . Through glimpses in between bodies crossing over me, I could see Jeffrey and Brunel watching us, sitting in a chair with their hands around their penises . . .’

‘The best part is they don’t even speak English, so there’s never a need to keep them amused,’ I could hear one of the men divulge and (I’m) pretty sure it came from Jeffrey . . .’

A vivid description of a sequence of events, recalling detail of participants, locations, dialogue and aftermath. It is the only orgy described in the manuscript.

Now consider the testimony she gave under oath in January 2015.

‘The third time I had sex with Andy was in an orgy on Epstein’s private island,’ she stated.

‘I was around 18 at the time. Epstein, Andy, approximately eight other young girls, and I had sex together. The other girls all appeared to be under the age of 18 and didn’t really speak English. Epstein laughed about the fact they couldn’t really communicate, saying that they are the ‘easiest’ girls to get along with. My assumption was that Jean-Luc Brunel got the girls from Eastern Europe (as he procured many young foreign girls for Epstein). Afterwards we all had dinner by the cabanas. The other girls were chatting away among themselves and Epstein and the Prince chatted together . . . Prince Andrew must have flown early the next morning.’

Pictured: Ghislaine Maxwell wrestles with a close friend of Jeffrey Epstein on the financier's private island

Pictured: Ghislaine Maxwell wrestles with a close friend of Jeffrey Epstein on the financier’s private island

In April 2015, the Sunday newspaper which had reported her first interview in 2011, published an updated version. Her allegations of sexual encounters with the Duke that had been excised from the original for legal reasons were now included.

While on Epstein’s island ‘seven Russian girls who didn’t speak a word of English turned up with a modelling agent’, Miss Roberts was reported to have said.

‘Jeffrey was so excited. He said: ‘We’re going to do a big photoshoot with you and the girls.’ The agent took the pictures. They were very provocative. We were topless and he had us in sexual positions.

‘Then we were told to assemble in a big cabana. When I walked in, Andrew and Jeffrey were seated in chairs. Jeffrey directed us with hand gestures. Jeffrey and the Prince were laughing. The next day, Andrew was gone.’

All three accounts have a number of striking similarities: the seven or eight Russian or East European girls provided by Brunel; their lack of English; Epstein’s joke about the utility of the language barrier; the provocative photoshoot which degenerates into an orgy. It is surely the same event.

But in the first account, which appears in her memoir, the Duke simply does not appear. Epstein’s voyeuristic, if not participatory, companion at the orgy is Brunel. In the two other versions the Brunel figure has become the Duke.

Pictured: Ghislaine Maxwell wrestles with a close friend of Jeffrey Epstein on the financier's private island

Pictured: Ghislaine Maxwell wrestles with a close friend of Jeffrey Epstein on the financier’s private island

The Mail asked Andrew’s spokesperson a series of questions about his trip to Little St James in April 2001 and the allegations made by Miss Roberts, but they said: ‘It would not be appropriate to comment on any of these matters.’

Miss Roberts’s representatives in New York have not responded to repeated requests to comment. She has been consistent in alleging that she had sex with Andrew on three occasions.

In her 2015 legal deposition — and a number of media interviews before and since — she states that they had sex first in London, then New York and finally on the private island of Little St James.

But the most detailed of all her accounts that are in the public domain — the memoir — suggests that the third instance was not during an orgy on the island at all, but while she and the Prince were alone at Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico.

If the Queen’s favourite son had participated in such a sensational event on Little St James, why did Miss Roberts not mention it in her manuscript?

Miss Roberts has conceded in an interview that ‘you are left with a foggy memory sometimes, you really are’; and ‘I might be wrong on dates absolutely and I might be wrong on places even, sometimes’.

During the 2016 cross-examination, Miss Roberts said of her manuscript: ‘Just to make it known, this is based on true events.’ She conceded that there were ‘a few mistakes here and there’.

Given that these events are alleged to have taken place almost 20 years ago, mistakes are natural. Memories fade.

Some traumatised people are even prone to what is termed ‘post-event information’ — including media reports distorting what they remember. And legal testimony given under oath is not the same as a memoir. Nonetheless, the variances in her story remain.

ENTER THE BUSTY ‘BRAIN SURGEON’  

The Duke’s Personal Protection Officer (PPO) says he never saw Miss Roberts on the island during that April visit, nor anywhere else, sources have told the Mail.

But he did recall speaking to the resident housekeepers, a South African couple. Sources say that as a result of the conversation, the bodyguard felt ‘something wasn’t quite right’ on the island.

In 2011, after they had left Epstein’s employ after his arrest, the housekeepers — Miles and Cathy Alexander — gave an interview to a Sunday newspaper.

They said they hadn’t seen any orgies but there were often a lot of girls there, some ‘very young looking’ and scantily dressed who ‘looked like they had stepped out of an underwear catalogue’.

The Alexanders said the Duke had first visited the island just before they took up their posts in February 1999, which tallies with flight logbook records which show him on an Epstein jet heading for the U.S. Virgin Islands that month.

The Duchess of York and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie had also stayed there, they said.

Now retired back in South Africa, the couple declined to comment further when approached by the Mail this week. Mr Alexander said: ‘We want our privacy respected.’

But a source who was on Little St James at the relevant time, and asked not to be named, did speak to us. They said the housekeepers had been tasked with collating passport numbers and dates of births of guests along with any dietary requirements.

The source said they had found only one girl — a French national — was underage. She had a letter of consent from her parents and was ‘strictly chaperoned’, they claimed.

The housekeepers have not been approached by the FBI, said the source. But investigators from the American Virgin Islands’ government had been in touch with them.

So what evidence is there left to find?

The Mail has been told by former staff on the island that after Epstein was first arrested in 2006 — he was subsequently briefly jailed for procuring underage prostitutes — one of his corporate lawyers flew in to St Thomas, the nearest town, to speak to Mr Alexander.

The lawyer collected all the records of the comings and goings on Little St James, which were kept in official log books.

In their 2011 interview, the Alexanders recalled the Duke of York’s second visit to the island, when both Epstein and Maxwell were present. This is believed to be the April 2001 visit.

But the first visit they witnessed was far more memorable. ‘The Duke came via helicopter with his bodyguard and a woman in her 30s, who said she was a brain surgeon,’ Mrs Alexander is reported to have said.

‘She was tall, bleached blonde and had big boobs. They shared a room and spent most of their time windsurfing, sailing or doing other water sports.’

Shown photographs of several women connected to Epstein with whom the Duke has been linked, the source thought the ‘bleached blonde’ might have been Gwendolyn Beck. She is a financier.But there was a brain surgeon among Epstein’s female entourage. And as we shall see tomorrow, she allegedly spent at least one weekend in the Duke’s company. But not on the private island. 


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