Virginia Roberts Giuffre “cried tears of joy” in the cool night air above the Atherton Tablelands in far north Queensland when her American lawyer rang with the news that Ghislaine Maxwell had been arrested.
She had waited years for justice to reach the British socialite, who is alleged to have procured her and many other young girls for the late US billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his powerful friends, including Prince Andrew.
Nothing, not even last year’s arrest and purported New York City watch-house suicide of Epstein — who had abused a teenage Ms Giuffre — could make her happier than Ms Maxwell’s arrest by US authorities.
Ms Giuffre has accused Ms Maxwell, 59, and Epstein of forcing her, as a 17 year-old, to have sex with Prince Andrew — a claim he denied in a now infamous BBC interview last year that led to him abandoning his public duties.
“When I got the call I was elated, crying tears of joy, laughing … finally we got her,’’ she told The Weekend Australian after returning to her Cairns home from a brief holiday with her husband, Robert, and their three kids.
“This woman found me, groomed me, abused me and handed me over to Jeffrey and his friends.’’
At home in far north Queensland, Virginia Roberts Giuffre broke down when her US lawyer rang with the news that ‘evil monster’ Ghislaine Maxwell had been arrested. Video by Ro…
Ms Maxwell, the daughter of disgraced British media mogul and fraudster Robert Maxwell, faces 35 years in jail after police raided her remote retreat in New Hampshire, taking her into custody and laying multiple charges of procuring girls as young as 14.
The arrest has turned up the pressure on Prince Andrew, who Ms Giuffre says she was ordered to have sex with three times in 2001, including at an orgy involving underage girls on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.
After Ms Maxwell’s arrest, the Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, said prosecutors wanted to talk to the Duke of York.
“I will say we would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk to us. We would like to have the benefit of his statement,” Ms Strauss said.
The Duke has so far refused to give evidence about his relationship with Epstein, despite the US Department of Justice formally requesting that the British Home Office question him.
His lawyers said he was “bewildered” by the claim he had not co-operated with the investigation.
“We have twice communicated with the DOJ in the last month and to date we have had no response,” the Duke’s lawyers said.
Prince Andrew has said that he and Epstein met in 1999 after Ms Maxwell introduced them.
Now 36, and recovering from a bout of viral meningitis and a spinal injury after she fell while sick, Ms Giuffre pleaded for Prince Andrew to “tell the truth” and co-operate with the US authorities.
She said Prince Andrew had shown the world “he is a liar” during the BBC interview, disputing her claim he was “dripping from sweat” as they danced in London’s Tramp nightclub in 2001.
The second son of the Queen claimed it couldn’t possibly be true because at that time in his life he was unable to sweat.
“Obviously Prince Andrew is a liar,’’ Ms Giuffre said. “I think 99.9 per cent of the population took that out from the interview.
“He knows what he has done. The lies, after lies, after lies were just incredulous — he sounded like a buffoon.
“He is going to go to jail. He has already lost so much but that is not enough. Justice has to prevail. He has to be held accountable.’’
Ms Giuffre said it was “now only the beginning” and that Ms Maxwell might finally lift the lid on the extent of the sex trafficking and sex abuse racket that was overseen by Epstein.
“Maybe she will squeal and turn other people over, which is obviously what we hope because we want the truth out. Or maybe she will stay quiet and do her time in jail,’’ she said.
“These people did a lot of damage to a lot of other people’s lives. We are not just talking about Tom, Dick and Jane down the street — we are talking about billionaires, the people that run the world.’’
Ms Giuffre said it was Ms Maxwell, who first spotted her as a 16-year-old working her first job as a spa attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
She said Ms Maxwell, who was Epstein’s girlfriend, began talking to her, asking about her ambitions to become a massage therapist.
“This woman came off like Mary Poppins, like this really genuine nice lady, nicely dressed who wanted to help people get further in life,’’ she said.
“She said ‘Oh, I know this guy looking for a massage therapist, you’ll travel the world and make lots of money’.’’
Her childhood had been tough. She had lived on the streets and been sexually abused, and she put her trust in Ms Maxwell, hoping for an education and a better life.
“The abuse started immediately,’’ Ms Giuffre said, including mental, physical and sexual abuse by Ms Maxwell – but she felt trapped and terrified.
“I knew in my heart this was wrong but when you are stuck with these kind of really rich people, you don’t know how to say no to them,’’ she said.
“It is a scary process, especially when they tell you they own the Palm Beach Police Department (in Florida).’’
Ms Giuffre said Epstein’s friends included Donald Trump.
“I met Trump, but I have never seen him doing anything towards me or towards any other victim of Jeffrey Epstein,” she said. “I can’t comment on what I don’t know.”
But Ms Giuffre said Mr Trump may have had some suspicions after a decades-old New York magazine profile emerged, quoting him as saying: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
Ms Giuffre said she now hoped Mr Trump would introduce “stringent laws in America towards people who do this.’’
She said she was now focused on her not-for-profit organisation Victims Refuse Silence to help the victims of abuse.