British police investigate Harvey Weinstein sexual assault claim

Bethany Minelle, News Reporter

Police in the UK are investigating an allegation of sexual assault against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

The Met Police's investigation into the alleged sexual assault, which is said to have taken place in London in the 1980s, comes after police in New York reopened a 2004 case involving the Hollywood film producer.

The UK claim was reported on Wednesday morning to Merseyside Police, who referred it to Scotland Yard.

A Met spokesman said it would be assessed by the force's child abuse and sexual offences command.

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In the US, an allegation published in the New Yorker was made by former aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who said Weinstein forced her to perform a sex act on him at his Miramax offices in 2004.

NYPD detectives are also reviewing public allegations against Weinstein to identify, locate and interview any possible complainants or witnesses.

A flood of sexual harassment, assault and rape claims has surfaced against the producer following a report in The New York Times alleging a history of abusive behaviour dating back decades.

A police recording was also published in the New Yorker in which Weinstein appeared to admit to groping Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez.

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While prosecutors have said they were "sickened" by the recording, they claimed there was not enough evidence to secure a conviction.

British actress Kate Beckinsale is the latest woman to speak out against Weinstein, calling him "an emblem of a system that is sick".

Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Lea Seydoux and Cara Delevingne are among a growing chorus of high-profile women who have accused the producer of sexual harassment or assault.

Jane Fonda said she should have spoken out last year when another actress - who has since gone public - told her about sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein.

The media mogul has previously denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.

When approached outside his daughter's home in Los Angeles, Weinstein told photographers: "I'm not doing okay, I'm trying - gotta get help. You know what? We all make mistakes."

He is now understood to be undergoing rehabilitation in Arizona for sex addiction.

Following the scandal, the producer has been fired from his own company and left by his wife, British designer Georgina Chapman.

Bafta - the British Academy of Film and Television Arts - has suspended his membership, while the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - which hosts the Oscars - is to hold a meeting on Saturday to discuss whether to suspend him.