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Prince Andrew allegations: Met chief says ‘no one is above the law’

The Guardian logo The Guardian 12/08/2021 Kevin Rawlinson
Cressida Dick wearing a suit and hat: Cressida Dick said her force was ‘open to working with authorities from overseas’. © Photograph: Reuters Cressida Dick said her force was ‘open to working with authorities from overseas’.

Britain’s most senior police officer has said “no one is above the law” when questioned about allegations of sexual assault against Prince Andrew.

Dame Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan police commissioner, spoke after a lawyer for Virginia Giuffre, the woman who has accused the Duke of York of sexually abusing her while she was a minor, said he must not be allowed to hide behind his wealth and power to avoid the civil suit she has brought in the US.

On Thursday, Dick said she had also asked officers to review the decision not to formally investigate allegations that Jeffrey Epstein, the former financier and friend of Andrew who killed himself in a US prison after his arrest on sex trafficking charges, had also committed sexual crimes in the UK.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 11: Prince Andrew, Duke of York, attends the Sunday Service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor, following the announcement on Friday April 9th of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99, on April 11, 2021 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images) © 2021 WPA Pool WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 11: Prince Andrew, Duke of York, attends the Sunday Service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor, following the announcement on Friday April 9th of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99, on April 11, 2021 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

She said the force would be watching developments with the civil case against Andrew and would review its position again in response.

Asked about the allegations against Prince Andrew on LBC radio, Dick said: “I’m not going to talk about individuals, but what I can say is that I think what you’re referring to is associated with Jeffrey Epstein, who I will talk about since he is deceased. And the position there is that we have had more than one allegation that is connected with Mr Epstein and we have reviewed those, assessed those, and we have not opened an investigation.”

She added that police had previously considered “is there evidence of a crime, is this the right jurisdiction for this to be dealt with, and is the person against whom the crime is alleged still alive? We have concluded that there is no investigation for us to open and we haven’t [opened one].” Dick added that she believed it was the “right decision” after advice from the Crown Prosecution Service and two reviews.


Video: Prince Andrew 'can't ignore' US lawsuit (Sky News)

But, she said: “I’m aware that currently there is a lot more commentary in the media and an apparent civil court case going on in America and we will, of course, again review our position ... But, at the moment, there is no investigation.”

Asked about the duke’s position, the Met police chief said: “No one is above the law.” She said the force was “open to working with authorities from overseas”, adding: “As a result of what’s going on, I’ve asked my team to have another look at the material.”

Andrew is named as the sole defendant in a civil suit filed at a New York federal court. Giuffre claims she was “lent out for sexual purposes” by Epstein – including while she was a minor under US law. The document frequently mentions Epstein and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.

It is alleged that Giuffre, then known as Virginia Roberts, was sexually abused at Maxwell’s London home and at Epstein’s homes in New York and the Caribbean. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges and faces trial in November. Epstein died in August 2019; a month after he was arrested on the same charges.

On Thursday, the Times quoted a source close to Prince Charles as saying the allegations cause “unwelcome reputational damage” to the monarchy and that the heir to the throne has “long ago concluded that it is probably an unsolvable problem”.

The source said: “This will probably further strengthen in the prince’s mind that a way back for the duke is demonstrably not possible, because the spectre of this [accusation] raises its head with hideous regularity.”

A representative of Prince Andrew on Thursday said: “No comment.” The duke has previously denied the allegations. Buckingham Palace declined to comment, saying the allegations were a private legal matter for the duke.

::Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK

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