A secret "girlfriend" of Jeffrey Epstein identified in bombshell court papers is a Manchester-born publisher turned "spiritual entrepreneur" who took scores of flights on the paedophile's "Lolita Express" private jet.

In a previously sealed email, alleged Epstein "madam" Ghislaine Maxwell named a woman called "Shelley" as the millionaire's girlfriend between 1999 and 2002, during which time sex-trafficked teenager Virginia Roberts alleges she was coerced into having sex with Prince Andrew.

He vehemently denies the allegations.

Shelley Anne Lewis who was reportedly Epstein's secret girlfriend has been identified through flight logs which show she flew on his planes 35 times including trips where she was the paedophile's only passenger.

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She is said to have dated the financier between 1999 and 2002, the exact time period she appears on the flight logs for his plane known as "The Lolita Express".

Among the solo trips a "Shelley" took with Epstein was a two day trip from New York to Paris, the logs show. The name 'Shelley' emerged last week in a newly-unsealed email from Ghislaine Maxwell to Epstein.

Lewis's identity was first reported by the Mail on Sunday, which said it "understood" she was the correct woman. The Lewis in question is 43, grew up in Cheshire and once worked in the contemporary art department of Christie's auction house in New York.

She is now a "spiritual entrepreneur" based between New York and London, and a children's book publisher who claims to have been endorsed by the Dalai Lama.

There is no suggestion Lewis was involved in any wrongdoing or in Epstein's criminality but she could be approached by prosecutors in the US who ordered Maxwell's arrest last month.

Last night, one of those lawyers said: "Lewis may have information which could be valuable and which could aid victims who are seeking compensation from Epstein's estate. We would urge her to tell the FBI what she knows."

The email identifying "Shelley" was part of a tranche of files unsealed in a defamation case brought against Maxwell, 58, by Virginia Roberts, who claims she was forced to sleep with Prince Andrew when she was 17.

He denies these claims.In January 2015 Maxwell wrote to Epstein: "I would appreciate it if Shelley would come out and say she was your g'friend I think she was from end [19]99 to 2002."

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Epstein did not question the assertion "Shelley" was his girlfriend and replied: "Ok with me."

Jeffrey Epstein appeared in court in West Palm Beach before he died. Photo / AP
Jeffrey Epstein appeared in court in West Palm Beach before he died. Photo / AP

Lewis would have been 22 in 1999 when she met Epstein, who would have been 46.

She studied History of Art at Glasgow University and publishing at Columbia University in New York where she met a "mentor".

Lewis has previously said this mentor was "so original in all his thought processes," and added: "And so my already inquisitive and curious nature evolved even further... it made me think I was capable of things that others considered impossible".

The name Shelley appears as "Shelley Lewis", "Shelley Anne Lewis", "Shelley" "Shelly Ann Lewis" in the flight logs between March 29, 1999 and September 10, 2002.

The first flight was from Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands where Epstein's private island was located to Palm Beach in Florida with a woman called Tiffany Gramza.

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She was listed in Epstein's notorious black book under "Massage: California".

A picture posted in 2010 to Lewis's Facebook page shows her posing with a woman who appears to be Gramza.

Among the trips "Shelley" took with Epstein was one from Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles to Oakland, near San Francisco, followed by a stop in San Francisco and then on to Palm Beach all in the same day.

The last flight for "Shelley" was on September 10, 2002, when she flew from Teterboro to Saint Thomas with Epstein and an "Andrea".

This may refer to Andrea Mitrovich, a woman listed as "ballerina" in Epstein's black book.

Further evidence suggests links between the pair. A "Shelley Lewis" is registered at an Upper East Side apartment block between 2000 and 2003, which Epstein used to house many of his victims

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A string of his companies are also registered at the property, which is owned by his brother Mark.

According to a deposition by the bookkeeper for MC2, the modelling agency Epstein invested in, there were 'four girls per apartment' in the building.

Lewis, who is believed to own an 800,000 flat in west London with her sister, did not respond requests for comment. It is not clear whether she is currently in Britain or the US.