Even for the Queen’s second son it must have felt like the height of luxury.
With its thick burgundy carpets, leather executive chairs and on-board gourmet chef, the private jet was the epitome of elite travel.
From the moment the aircraft reached its cruising altitude at 41,000ft, there was no request the ever-smiling crew would not seek to fulfil. Guests were offered dishes including Wagyu beef steak and caviar blinis washed down with vintage Cristal champagne.
It was the kind of opulent pampering that VIP guests of paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein had come to expect.
Last week, during the trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, a hushed New York courtroom heard bombshell testimony from a woman known only as ‘Jane’ who claims she met Prince Andrew on Epstein’s private jet – dubbed ‘the Lolita Express’ – at a time she was being sexually abused by Epstein as a teen.
Now an MoS investigation has discovered flight logs that show the Duke of York did indeed fly on Epstein’s jet at least four times – and possibly many more.
An MoS investigation has discovered flight logs that show the Duke of York did indeed fly on Epstein’s private jet at least four times – and possibly many more
They included flights to and from Epstein’s private Caribbean island, Little St James, now known as ‘paedophile island’ because of the horrific abuse that took place there.
The revelation raises further questions about the Duke of York’s judgment and his friendship with Epstein, who took his own life in a New York prison in 2019, and Maxwell.
Prince Andrew has admitted visiting Little St James but insists he never saw anything untoward.
Sarah Ransome – one of Epstein’s alleged victims – has described the island as ‘hell on earth’ and claimed she tried to escape by swimming through shark-infested waters, only to be ‘dragged back to Epstein’s lair’ by security staff.
There is no suggestion Prince Andrew was there at the time. ‘I was raped three times in one day,’ Ms Ransome recalled in an interview in 2019.
‘A shark would have been my best friend at that point. I didn’t even think about it. It was just, get me away.’
Shockingly, she also told of ‘orgies’ on the Lolita Express.
‘Many of the stewardesses on the plane dressed sexily. They always smiled,’ she said. ‘Nothing was too much bother.
‘One of the girls started having full-on, hardcore sex on the bed in the plane. There was no privacy. They did it in front of everyone.
‘From the time I got on to the island, that was when the abuse began. There were some days I was raped three time a day. Ghislaine was the socialite. She made Jeffrey look good.’
Epstein owned four jets and an executive helicopter, which were used to whisk under-age girls to his various lavish homes, where they were sexually abused.
The pride of his £62 million fleet was an £8 million Boeing 727, which was dubbed ‘The Lolita Express’ – though the nickname was also used to describe the smaller Gulfstream jets that were also used to traffic underage girls.
In November 2019, during his BBC Newsnight interview, Andrew admitted that he had flown on Epstein’s ‘private plane’ but did not specify which one or how many times.
They included flights to and from Epstein’s private Caribbean island, Little St James (pictured), now known as ‘paedophile island’ because of the horrific abuse that took place there
But flight records seen by the MoS suggest that the Duke’s first flight – on board Epstein’s black Gulfstream II jet – was to the billionaire’s private Caribbean island in the US Virgin Islands on February 9, 1999. Also on board, according to the flight logs, were Epstein, Maxwell and one of the Duke’s personal protection officers.
The group landed at Cyril E King Airport on the island of St Thomas before they were shuttled to the smaller island of Little St James on one of Epstein’s black helicopters.
Fringed with coral reefs, Epstein’s 75-acre island was, on first appearances, an idyllic playground for the super-rich with a mansion and string of luxury villas and beach cabanas surrounded by 40ft palm trees.
The estate included a Japanese bath house, movie theatre and a blue and white-striped building with a golden dome mysteriously referred to as ‘the temple’.
One former employee described Little St James as ‘a Zen-like retreat’ where Epstein would stroll around in flip-flops, with ‘meditative music’ playing and women often sunbathing topless.
Epstein hosted a string of famous guests on the island, including theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. But the exotic surroundings masked a dark secret: it was the centre of Epstein’s international child-sex-trafficking ring.
Images published in 2019 revealed that Perspex boxes filled with condoms were kept in guest bedrooms. One picture showed Epstein touring his island on a quad bike, which he used to transport topless teenagers to and from the beach.
The flight logs show that after spending three nights on the island, Prince Andrew returned to West Palm Beach, where Epstein owned a £15 million home, on the Gulfstream, along with a Russian model called Anna Malova.
Malova was later jailed in the US for failing to comply with a court-ordered programme relating to her use of prescription painkillers.
She was not the only colourful character on the plane that day. Clare Hazell, who later became the Countess of Iveagh, was also onboard. She took 32 flights on Epstein’s planes between 1998 and 2000, according to the flight records.
There is no suggestion she was involved with, or had any knowledge of, any wrongdoing. But she stood down as a patron for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in July 2020 after her links to Epstein were revealed.
A source close to Andrew reportedly said in 2019 that the Duke has ‘no recollection’ of being on the 1999 flight.
The records obtained by the MoS also show Andrew flew on Epstein’s Gulfstream from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to West Palm Beach on May 12, 2000.
And on September 1, 2006 – six weeks after Epstein was arrested for sex offences – the Prince took a flight on the Gulfstream with Maxwell from London Luton to Edinburgh.
For each of these four flights the words ‘Prince Andrew’ are clearly recorded in the logs. The Duke may, however, have enjoyed many more flights on Epstein’s private fleet of planes.
The exact number is impossible to pinpoint because of confusion over the way passenger details were recorded.
Epstein owned four jets (pictured with a Gulfstream G2B) and a helicopter, which were used to whisk under-age girls to his various lavish homes, where they were sexually abused
One of Epstein’s former pilots David Rodgers told investigators that he annotated Prince Andrew’s name to ‘AP’ on an ‘unknown number’ of occasions. Indeed, it is believed ‘AP’ is recorded as a passenger on Epstein aircraft more than 100 times.
The pilot, however, said he also used these initials for other acquaintances of Epstein. On at least 13 occasions where ‘AP’ is listed, the Court Circular, Buckingham Palace’s official register of Royal engagements, shows that Andrew was elsewhere.
Rodgers appears to confirm Jane’s sensational claim that she travelled on a flight with Andrew as part of a sworn testimony during a previous civil case.
This newspaper has unearthed a deposition given under oath by Mr Rodgers in 2016 in which he claimed that ‘Jane’ was on a flight with Andrew, Epstein, Maxwell and others. The initials ‘AP’ appear in the flight log.
Flight records suggest the flight was on one of the billionaire’s Gulfstream jets but the MoS is not publishing further details to protect Jane’s identity. The Court Circular does not include any entry for Andrew on the day Rodgers claims the Duke was on the flight.
A source closely connected with the case last night said: ‘This isn’t a good look for Prince Andrew. Now you have a victim saying she flew with him while she was being abused by Epstein. And you have a pilot backing up her claims.’
Last week, ‘Jane’ was the second witness at the trial of Epstein’s alleged ‘madam’, Ghislaine Maxwell. Maxwell, 59, faces six charges including child abuse and child sex trafficking that could see her jailed for up to 80 years if found guilty.
She has pleaded not guilty and denies all charges against her.
‘Jane’, now a 41-year-old mother-of-two, is one of four alleged ‘victims’ of Maxwell who claim the socialite ‘groomed’ them and participated in sexual abuse.
In her devastating testimony she said she did not want to be identified by her real name because she is a successful Hollywood actress who fears any association with Epstein could damage her career.
Asked by Maxwell’s lawyer whether she remembered Prince Andrew being on one of Epstein’s aircraft, ‘Jane’ replied: ‘Yes.’
Another Epstein pilot, Larry Visoski, told the court he remembered Andrew was one of a number of high-profile figures to fly on the paedophile’s jets but said he knew of no sexual activities on planes he flew.
Last night a spokesman for Prince Andrew declined to comment.
BOX OF SEX TOYS AND MASSAGE TABLE SHOWN TO JURORS
By Caroline Graham in Los Angeles for the Mail on Sunday
Jeffrey Epstein’s green leather massage table and a box of sex toys have been displayed in the trial of the convicted paedophile’s alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell.
A hushed court in New York watched on Friday as prosecutors revealed the folding massage table taken from Epstein’s £15 million villa in Palm Beach, Florida.
In a theatrical flourish, a retired policeman wearing gloves ‘examined’ the table as Maxwell sat impassively five feet away.
Epstein, who killed himself in jail in 2019 while on child sex charges, is said to have abused scores of young women and girls with a ruse of asking for a massage before turning violent and sexual.
Maxwell, 59, faces six charges of child sex abuse and trafficking minors for sex. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges, but faces 80 years in jail if convicted.
Jeffrey Epstein’s green leather massage table and a box of sex toys have been displayed in the trial (court sketch of table pictured) of the paedophile’s alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell
Earlier last week, a victim known as ‘Jane’ testified that Epstein sexually assaulted her on the massage table when she was just 14 while Maxwell watched and ‘gave instructions’. Jurors were shown a box of sex toys labelled ‘Twin Torpedos’.
Jane testified: ‘He liked to use vibrators that were different sizes and even, like, those back massag-es that were, you know, painful.’
She said Maxwell would instruct her on how to massage Epstein, adding: ‘He liked…very hard, like rubbing his shoulders really hard and twisting his nipples hard.’
Epstein’s former house manager Juan Alessi said Epstein received three massages a day. Mr Alessi sometimes found sex toys left on the massage table which he would wash and return to a wicker basket stored in Maxwell’s closet.
Jurors were shown photographs and videos from inside the mansion that showed ‘sexualised’ images of prepubescent girls.
One hanging outside the master bedroom shared by Epstein and Maxwell was an ‘overtly sexual photograph of a clearly underage female,’ prosecutor Maurene Comey said.
Another picture on Epstein’s desk showed him pulling down a young girl’s underwear and pretending to bite her bottom. ‘He prominently displayed that on his desk… when the defendant was the lady of the house,’ Ms Comey said.
Bobbi Sternheim, defending, accused prosecutors depicting Epstein’s home unfairly as a ‘domicile of debauchery’ and insisted the picture of him pretending to bite the young girl’s bottom was a ‘playful moment’ with his goddaughter.
Prosecutors said they would show jurors ‘small schoolgirl outfits’ from a cupboard near the massage room.
The trial continues tomorrow and is expected to last six weeks.