It is the most extraordinary story of sex, power, influence and the abuse of young girls and it has already sent Jeffrey Epstein, one of the richest men in America, to jail.
And today this sordid saga erupted once again with Prince Andrew sensationally forced to deny having any sexual contact with the woman whose claims have dogged him for years. Last week, the Prince was accused of abusing 'Jane Doe 3' - an anonymous name used in American court papers - at an orgy where she was being used as a sex slave.
Jane Doe 3 is Virginia Roberts, whose story was first uncovered in 2007 by The Mail on Sunday following a painstaking investigation by our reporter Sharon Churcher, who tracked her to Australia.
The story Miss Roberts told was extraordinary - how she spent three years as an under-age 'sex slave' working for billionaire Epstein, a friend of the Prince, and paid to give erotic massages to the tycoon and his associates. She also claimed that Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell, acted as Epstein's 'madame'.
The allegations by Miss Roberts are threatening the reputation of the Queen's second son. The Palace has emphatically denied that the Prince has had relations with underage girls.
Now, thanks to the court documents Miss Roberts lodged in Florida last week, The Mail on Sunday can publish the most complete story yet of how this young woman was exploited by Epstein's shuttered world of seedy sex and influence. We spoke to Miss Roberts twice, the last time just 12 months ago. While fragments of her testimony to us were reproduced last week, only now can we present her comprehensive account with previously unpublished material.
Last week it was sensationally claimed that Prince Andrew had taken part in what, it was implied, was sex with a girl who was under the age of consent according to the law in Florida. As the papers lodged in the Palm Beach court spell out: 'Epstein forced Jane Doe 3 to have sexual relations with a member of the British Royal Family, Prince Andrew (aka Duke of York).
"Epstein instructed Jane Doe 3 that she was to give the Prince whatever he demanded and required Jane Doe 3 to report back to him on the details of the sexual abuse. Maxwell facilitated Prince Andrew's acts of sexual abuse by acting as a 'madame' for Epstein."
In response, Buckingham Palace issued a strongly worded denial.
But Miss Roberts's account differs. She says she first encountered Epstein and later Prince Andrew through Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell.
She was working as a changing room assistant in the spa at Donald Trump's palatial Florida country club, Mar-A-Lago, where her father was a maintenance manager. Soon after her 15th birthday, in 1998, she says she met Ghislaine at the club.
The socialite was a friend of Epstein's and the pair were known in New York and London for their hedonistic lifestyle, which concerned Royal courtiers after Andrew began to associate with them. Andrew was photographed surrounded by topless women during one holiday with them in Thailand and was pictured sweatily cavorting with Ghislaine at a Halloween sado-masochistic-themed party in Manhattan, reinforcing his public image as a party loving playboy.
Miss Roberts says she had no idea of the risks she was running when she leapt at an invitation from Ghislaine to work for Epstein. "I was wearing my sexy white Mar-A- Lago uniform - a white miniskirt and a skintight white polo top - and studying an anatomy book when I was approached by this striking woman in her mid-40s with a very proper British accent - Ghislaine," Miss Roberts told The Mail on Sunday.
"She noticed what I was reading and I told her I wanted to become a masseuse and she said she worked for a very wealthy gentleman called Jeffrey Epstein who was looking for a travelling masseuse and I'd get training and be paid large amounts of money."
Miss Roberts was told she could start work immediately and was driven to Epstein's sugar-pink mansion on the Palm Beach waterfront. The stairway was decorated with photos of naked young girls and Miss Roberts eventually would learn that she, too, was being photographed by hidden cameras.
"But I was too nervous to take it in," she says. "Another lady led me into Jeffrey's bedroom. It had a king-size bed, and a spiral staircase that led down to a pool.
"The lady walked me straight through into the massage room. It was part of a suite - a shower room, a steam room and another closet-sized room where I later learned the sex toys were kept.
"Jeffrey was lying face-down on a table, completely naked. He asked me a whole bunch of questions and within the first hour, he knew my life story. I told him I'd been a runaway and I'd lived on the street and I'd taken ecstasy tablets and I wasn't a virgin and he said, 'So you're a bad girl in a good girl's body'."
"The lady told me to follow her instructions. She had me put oil on my hands and then she grabbed one of his feet and started to massage it and she told me to take his other foot. Then she took off her shirt and started rubbing her breasts across Jeffrey and told me to take off my clothes. He had sex with me and the woman fondled me. I was thinking, 'This is wrong. This is not legitimate massage'. But they liked me. The lady said, "She's got a knack for it." And I thought, "These are important people. I must be doing something right." The lady gave me $200 [£130] and said I was to come back the next day.'
Miss Roberts was nauseated by the sexual acts that she was instructed to perform. But she was charmed by Epstein's rags-to-riches life story - which, he intimated, was an example to her. "Jeffrey said he wanted to be my mentor," says Miss Roberts. "I felt that he and Ghislaine really cared for me. We'd do family things, like watch Sex And The City and eat popcorn.
"But it was a sick family. I was a paedophile's top girl, being trained up for a British Prince. He trained me to do whatever a man wanted. I was worried, but I would do anything to keep Jeffrey happy and keep my place as his No 1 girl."
It was in 2001 that Miss Roberts was told she would be flying to London - and after they landed they drove straight to Ghislaine's house. "Ghislaine showed me upstairs to a small bedroom. That night I gave Jeffrey an erotic massage. I was jetlagged. I went to sleep.
"The next morning, Ghislaine came into my room. She was chirpy and really giddy. She jumped on the bed and said, 'Get up, get up, sleepyhead. You've got a big day. We've gotta go shopping. You need a dress because you're going to dance with a prince tonight.' She said I needed to be 'smiley' and bubbly and very happy to be around him and give a lot of energy to him because he was the Queen's son."
Miss Roberts said they went shopping for a £5,000 Burberry bag and other designer dresses, perfume and makeup. "We got back to Ghislaine's house around 4pm and I ran straight upstairs to have a shower," she said.
"When I went downstairs, Ghislaine and Jeffrey were in the lounge. No one seemed too fussed even though we were expecting the Duke of York any minute. There was a knock at the door. There was a car outside with two men, who I think were security. Ghislaine led Andrew in and introduced me and we kissed each other on the cheek as I'd been told is the English custom.
"Ghislaine served tea. She knew Fergie, who I gathered was the Prince's ex-wife, and they talked very fondly about their daughters. Then Ghislaine played one of her favourite guessing games. She asked Andrew how old he thought I was and he guessed 17 and they all kind of laughed about it and Ghislaine made a joke that I was getting too old for Jeffrey. She said, "He'll soon have to trade her in."
It was widely known in Jeffrey's set that he liked young girls.
Miss Roberts says she sat between Jeffrey and Andrew at dinner, claiming: "Andrew was making eye contact with me at every chance and concentrating on my plunging V-neck top. He didn't ask me anything about myself. I just sat there with a smile frozen on my lips." Ghislaine had whispered, "The Prince seems really interested in you."
"We went on to Tramp. We were led into a VIP area and Andrew got me a cocktail from the bar then he asked me to dance. He was the most hideous dancer I had ever seen. He was grabbing my hips and he was pouring with perspiration and he had this cheesy smile. I was used to being used for sex by men but it was not behaviour that I was used to in public, and not from a Prince who had daughters. I felt everyone was watching us."
By her account, Miss Roberts's first tryst with the then 41-year-old Prince allegedly took place later that night at Ghislaine Maxwell's London townhouse. "All of us went upstairs and I asked Jeffrey to snap a picture of me with the Prince. I wanted something to show my Mom. Ghislaine and Jeffrey left us after that," she said.
"In the morning, Ghislaine said, 'You did well. He had fun'. We flew straight back to the States. I suspected that the only reason we went to London was that I was a "gift" to Andrew.'
Miss Roberts makes the extraordinary claim that she was paid about $15,000 (just under £10,000) by the 58-year-old Epstein as a reward for sleeping with the Prince and other sexual services for Epstein.
There is no suggestion that the Prince knew that Epstein paid her.
"I was totally under Jeffrey's spell. I was his personal sex slave. Ghislaine joked about how young I was when they introduced me to Andrew."
Despite the Palace's vehement denials of impropriety, Miss Roberts says: "It was made clear to me that my job was to do whatever pleased him" - adding that she "wouldn't have dared object" to any demand.
"The Prince didn't give me money with his own hands," she added. "Jeffrey always took care of paying me after I 'entertained' his friends."
Andrew was at the time a special trade envoy, but after Epstein was prosecuted he resigned. He subsequently broke off his friendship with the financier and has been working to rebuild his reputation with his charitable trust. His focus is on trying to grow British prosperity, including training young people to become "economically active" through schemes such as apprentices and a digital enterprise award.
Speaking later, Miss Roberts said she remains mortified by her meeting with Prince Andrew.
"To be honest, I was sort of excited to meet the Prince. That was the lifestyle to which Jeffrey had accustomed me," the blonde, now 30, said.
Miss Roberts says she met Andrew for a second time around Easter 2001, at Epstein's Manhattan mansion.
"I was in Florida when I was called up and told I was needed in New York," she recalls. "When I got to the mansion, I was told, 'Get ready. You are meeting someone in the library'. Andrew was sitting there in a big leather armchair behind which there was a desk covered with photos of girls and young women, including one of me.
"I was almost nude in the picture. I don't think Andrew could have missed seeing it when he walked in. Ghislaine had just given him a present, some kind of big blow-up toy that was his Spitting Image puppet. He was smiling ear-to-ear. He looked like a kid whose parents were taking him to Disney World.
"A beautiful girl called Johanna Sjoberg, who worked for Jeffrey, was sitting on Andrew's knee. Ghislaine guided me over to Andrew and I think he recognised me though I don't know if he remembered my name. We kissed each other on the cheek and Ghislaine placed me on his other knee."
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Johanna has confirmed the encounter, saying she was 21 at the time and had been hired by Ghislaine to answer phones and serve drinks in return for $20 (£13) an hour.
Ghislaine subsequently asked her to give Epstein foot massages, she elaborated, and the tycoon tried to persuade her to "touch his nipples".
"He couldn't believe I refused. No one else had ever done that,' she said.
After being introduced to Andrew in the library, she sat on his lap. Miss Roberts says it was made clear to her that she was expected to have sex with Andrew - although again the Palace completely refutes any suggestion of impropriety.
"Ghislaine said, 'You should take him upstairs for a massage,' she says, burying her face in her hands. "I took him upstairs to the Dungeon. He undressed and lay face down on the table. I started with his feet, then his calves the way Jeffrey liked it."
This time there was no extra payment for the session, she added. 'Because I wasn't on the road, I just got my usual hourly rate, which at that time was $200."
She met Andrew one final time on Epstein's Caribbean island, where she says she entertained him with an "orgy".
"I flew there with Jeffrey and Ghislaine," she says, "and seven Russian girls who didn't speak a word of English turned up with a modelling agent. Jeffrey was so excited. He said, 'We're going to do a big photo shoot 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 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.
"I remember thinking I would never have a normal life again but, as sick as it sounds, Jeffrey was my master. I was totally in his power. I never thought of trying to escape."
For her 19th birthday, in August 2002, Epstein purchased a plane ticket to Thailand for her, where he enrolled her in a massage course.
Asked if she planned to escape, she blushes. Despite the degradation she endured, she insists that she never would have lied to her "mentor".
"I really did think that I could give him better massages if I studied in Thailand," she says.
Shortly after arriving there, however, she met an Australian martial arts expert, whom we have agreed to identify only by his first name, Robert. They fell in love and, just ten days later, they married.
"Robert taught me how to live again," says Miss Roberts.
For 11 years, they lived in virtual seclusion in a rural suburb of Sydney. But a year ago, the couple moved back to America with their three young children. "I still dream about Jeffrey. I still wake up at night in tears," said Miss Roberts, who is working on a memoir.
Her memory of Prince Andrew plays heavily on her mind.
"A lot of powerful men were part of Jeffrey's scene, but I specifically remember Andrew," she says.
But she says it is now time "to fight", adding: "When I think of what he and these other men did, it breaks my heart. I am going to name every guy who deserves to be named when I go to court.'
And yesterday she said she was being "unjustly victimised again" after her account was called into question. "These types of aggressive attacks on me are exactly the reason why sexual abuse victims typically remain silent and the reason why I did for a long time," she says. "That trend should change. I'm not going to be bullied back into silence."
Epstein's lawyer Jack Goldberg said the allegations were old and salacious and had been consistently proven to have no merit.
Ghislaine Maxwell was not available for comment but has previously branded all claims against her as "untrue" and "obvious lies".
- Daily Mail