Dame Vera (pictured) is said to have concerns about the lack of an investigation
The Victims’ Commissioner is demanding Scotland Yard explain why it has not launched a full inquiry into claims that a 17-year-old girl was trafficked to London to have sex with Prince Andrew, it emerged yesterday.
Dame Vera Baird QC, a former solicitor general, is said to have expressed concerns about how detectives handled the allegations – first examined by Scotland Yard in 2015.
When the hotly-contested claims by Virginia Roberts were initially considered by the Met four years ago, the force had a post-Jimmy Savile scandal policy of ‘believing the victim’ in sex abuse cases.
Yet it did not launch an investigation into her bombshell accusations against the Duke of York.
Former Labour MP Dame Vera, who was unavailable for comment yesterday due to General Election purdah, had raised her concerns about the Prince Andrew case with a victims’ rights campaigner.
Harry Fletcher told The Observer she told him she would be requesting a meeting with the Met after the election on December 12.
Mr Fletcher said: ‘Before the election was called, I spoke at length with the Victims’ Commissioner and we both find it extraordinary that this matter was not proceeded with.’
He added that it needed to be established whether the Crown Prosecution Service provided ‘pre-investigative advice’ to detectives before the case was dropped.
Miss Roberts claims that, in 2001 when aged 17, she was ‘forced to have sex with Prince Andrew’, allegedly at the London home of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. Miss Maxwell was a former girlfriend of billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in his US prison cell in August while awaiting trial for new sex offences.
According to reports, lawyers for Miss Roberts also independently contacted the Met in 2016 but officers again ruled out carrying out a full investigation.
The Met considered the claim by Virginia Roberts (pictured with Andrew) that she had been trafficked but did not investigate whether Prince Andrew had sex with her
It is understood the Met’s 2015 decision not to launch a criminal investigation into Miss Roberts’ allegations was taken by a senior officer in the force’s homicide and major crime command.
Scotland Yard’s handling of her claims is expected to form a key part of a BBC Panorama investigation into the Epstein scandal due to be broadcast on December 2, which will include an interview with Miss Roberts.
Prince Andrew denies having sex with her and in his interview with BBC Newsnight earlier this month said he did not recall having ever met Miss Roberts.
Scotland Yard confirmed it had received an allegation of ‘non-recent’ trafficking for sexual exploitation. ‘Having closely examined the available evidence, the decision was made that this would not progress to a full investigation,’ the Met said.
Given the profile of the case, the force said that it had reviewed the decision and concluded it was correct.
Mr Fletcher told the Daily Mail last night: ‘Scotland Yard must make a statement about what Prince Andrew’s royalty protection officers saw when he was in the company of Epstein. They must be completely open about that.’
Dai Davies, a former head of the Met’s royalty protection unit, said: ‘Did Andrew’s police bodyguards turn a blind eye to questionable conduct by Epstein and Andrew? There must be a full investigation into the allegations made by Virginia Roberts against Prince Andrew.’