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Why Scotland Yard dropped its investigation into Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein

Virginia Roberts Guiffre has accused the royal of ‘rape in the first degree’ in US lawsuit

The Metropolitan Police will be taking no further action against Prince Andrew following a review prompted by Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the force has confirmed.

Giuffre filed a civil lawsuit in New York in August alleging that the Duke of York sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager - claims that he denies. Days later, the Met said it would review its decision not to investigate allegations connected to Epstein.

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Scotland Yard officers recently spoke to Guiffre about the allegations, although “it remained unclear whether the Met had taken a formal statement” from her. 

The Met also reviewed several documents, including one relating to the ongoing US civil lawsuit concerning Giuffre. But in a statement last night, the force said that “this review has concluded and we are taking no further action”.

A spokesperson added that the Met “continues to liaise with other law enforcement agencies who lead the investigation into matters related to Jeffrey Epstein”, who killed himself in a New York prison in August 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking minors.

The force has carried out at least two previous reviews of the case, but ruled out opening a full investigation each time, saying it was a matter for the US authorities.

In 2016, the police decided not to launch a criminal investigation on the grounds that it “would be largely focused on activities and relationships outside the UK”. Epstein’s suicide in prison prompted the second review, but the verdict was that “our position remains unchanged”.

Announcing the latest review back in August, Metropolitan Police Chief Cressida Dick said that “no one is above the law”. The review could have paved the way for the Met to open a criminal investigation of Giuffre’s claims, which Andrew has denied repeatedly.

Royal veto for the duke

Prior to yesterday’s announcement that the Met will not be taking any further action, Andrew was said to “remain convinced there is still a royal role in some shape or form, if the dust ever settles”, according to The Sunday Times’ royal editor Roya Nikkhah. But that was “not a view shared up the chain of command”. 

Sources said that Prince William, in particular, “is no fan of Uncle Andrew” and believes his “ungracious and ungrateful” attitude towards his position poses “a risk” and “threat to the family”. “The Royals are reading the room,” wrote Nikkhah. A YouGov poll last month of more than 3,200 people found that 69% thought it never be appropriate for Andrew to return to public life as a working member of the Royal Family.  Royal rifts and public disapproval aside, the most concerning element of the row over Giuffre’s claims is how the Met’s decision will further undermine trust in police, said Victoria Richards in The Independent. ”What hope is there for women’s confidence in the judicial process if Scotland Yard won’t look thoroughly into each and every claim?” Public trust in the force is already “at an all-time low in the wake of Sarah Everard’s tragic death”, Richards wrote. And ruling out further investigation of the allegations against Andrew “only cements that lack of trust”, because “any claim made by any victim deserves to be taken seriously”.

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