British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell wishes she “never met” disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The 61-year-old was sentenced to 20 years in a US prison last year after being found guilty of luring young girls to massage rooms so Epstein could molest them between 1994 and 2004.
In an interview for TalkTV’s Jeremy Kyle Live: Ghislaine Behind Bars, which aired on Monday evening, Maxwell also said she believes Epstein was murdered.
Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
His death was ruled a suicide.
Maxwell said: “I believe that he was murdered. I was shocked. Then I wondered how it had happened because as far as I was concerned, he was going to… I was sure he was going to appeal. And I was sure he was covered under the non-prosecution agreement.
“But I wasn’t in the indictment. I wasn’t mentioned. I wasn’t even one of the co-conspirators.
“I honestly wish I had never met him.
“Looking back now, I probably wish I had stayed in England. But leaving that aside, you know, I tried to leave and start another new job and move on from the end of ’98, ’99.
“So I wish I had been more successful in moving on… Because I’d been a banker and so I should have moved on completely.”
Maxwell said she “didn’t know” Epstein “was so awful” – though he is “obviously now, looking back with hindsight, of course”.
She added: “But at the time, I mean he had lots of friends. He was friendly with just about everybody you could imagine. There was no reason to imagine that he was someone of interest to people.”
Maxwell also said the well-known photograph showing the Duke of York next to Virginia Giuffre is fake.
Said to be taken inside Maxwell’s Mayfair home, the photograph shows Andrew with his arm around Ms Giuffre.
Maxwell said: “Well, it’s a fake. I don’t believe it’s real. In fact I’m sure it’s not… There’s never been an original. Further, there’s no photograph; I’ve only even seen a photocopy of it.
“I don’t believe it happened, certainly the way as described. It would have been impossible. I don’t have any memory of going to (private nightclub) Tramp (where Ms Guiffre said Andrew danced with her).
“Certainly it’s not an outfit I would have worn.”
Ms Giuffre sued Andrew for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was 17 after she was trafficked by Epstein, a former partner of Maxwell.
Andrew has also questioned the validity of the image of him with Ms Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts.
The duke went on to pay millions to settle a civil sexual assault case to Ms Giuffre – a woman he claimed to have never met.
He previously said he has “no recollection” of meeting Ms Giuffre and cast doubt on the picture, claiming he is “not one to hug” or “display affection” in public.
In an interview with BBC Newsnight in 2019, Andrew said while he recognises himself in the picture with Ms Giuffre, he claimed it is not possible to prove if the image has been faked.