With enormous courage, two British victims of Ghislaine Maxwell attended court to speak in harrowing detail about their horrific ordeals at the hands of the child sex predator – and the mental torment they still suffer.
A British woman who testified under the name ‘Kate’, and Sarah Ransome – who was not included in the indictment at Maxwell’s trial late last year – penned victim impact statements which spelt out in graphic detail how their lives had been destroyed by the fallen socialite.
They made a point of turning up at the courthouse in New York and reading out extracts of their impact statements in person before the judge jailed Maxwell for 20 years for recruiting girls for herself and her former boyfriend, the pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, to molest.
The British victims were among four Maxwell survivors who wanted to come face-to-face with the Oxford-educated sex trafficker and tell the world how her crimes had affected them.
Ransome even provided the court with shocking images of her in hospital following a failed suicide attempt, after she struggled to come to terms with the abuse she had suffered at the hands of Maxwell. An impact statement from Prince Andrew’s teen accuser Virginia Roberts, now known by her married name Giuffre and who was unable to attend court due to a ‘medical issue’, was read out by her lawyer.
Miss Ransome, 37, whose father is Scottish Lord Macpherson, said she was raped up to three times a day during months imprisoned on Epstein’s private Caribbean island, having been tricked by Maxwell into his sordid web of abuse. She said in her impact statement: ‘I became nothing more than a human sex toy with a heartbeat and soul for the entertainment of Epstein, Maxwell and others. On one visit to [Epstein’s private island], the sexual demands, degradation and humiliation became so horrific that I tried to escape by attempting to jump off a cliff into shark-infested waters.
‘They pounced, ensnaring us in their upside-down, twisted world of rape, rape and more rape. Like Hotel California, you could check into the Epstein-Maxwell dungeon of sexual hell, but you could never leave. Ghislaine by her own hand, forced me into Epstein’s room to be raped.’
‘I have never married and do not have children, something I always wished for, even as a little girl.
‘I have attempted suicide twice since the abuse – both near fatal.’
Preyed on by Maxwell after moving to New York aged 18 in 1991, with the ambition of working in the fashion industry, Miss Stein said she was first abused by the British socialite and Epstein at a hotel – on the very first day she met Ghislaine.
‘That night in the hotel was the first of many times they sexually assaulted me,’ she said. ‘Afterwards, I tried to pretend everything was normal…’ Miss Stein said she was ‘assaulted, raped and trafficked countless times’ during a three-year period after Epstein – who died in prison in 2019 – and Maxwell lured her into their sex trafficking ring by ‘seizing upon her vulnerability’.
She had to have an abortion after getting pregnant by one of the ‘countless’ men who raped her while she was being trafficked to their friends. ‘Things happened that were so traumatizing that to this day I’m unable to speak about them; I don’t even have the vocabulary to describe them.
‘In the most literal sense of the word, Epstein and Maxwell terrified me. They told me that if I told anyone, nobody would believe me and if they did, they would kill me and the people closest to me. After meeting Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, it felt like someone shut off the lights to my soul.’
The fourth and final accuser in Maxwell’s trial told jurors how the privately-educated predator gave her a nude massage and groped her as a teen at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch.
‘One of the most painful and ongoing impacts of Maxwell and Epstein’s abuse was a loss of trust in myself, my perceptions, and my instincts,’ she said.
‘When predators groom and then abuse or exploit children and other vulnerable people, they are, in a sense, training them to distrust themselves. When a boundary is crossed or an expectation violated, you tell yourself, ‘Someone who cares enough about me to do all these nice things surely wouldn’t also be trying to harm me.
‘This pattern of thinking is insidious, so these seeds of self-doubt took root even as I learned my sister [Maria] had also been harmed by them, and came to find out years later that many others had been exploited.
‘For years these memories triggered significant self-recrimination, minimization and guilt.
‘I blamed myself for believing these predators actually wanted to help me. I felt tremendous survivor guilt when I heard what other girls and young women had experienced at the hands of Maxwell and Epstein.
‘I remember sitting at my desk physically shaking after seeing the photo of Maxwell with Virginia [Roberts] and Prince Andrew, because it became clear to me how their scheme had continued.
‘Maxwell had many opportunities to come clean, but instead continued to make choices that caused more harm. When my sister and I first spoke out to the media about what happened to us, Maxwell lied about us and threatened Maria, thus helping shut down investigations into Epstein’s behaviour so they could together continue to harm children and young women.’
Prince Andrew’s teen sex accuser, Miss Roberts – now based in Australia – is the most famous Epstein victim of them all. Although she did not give evidence at Maxwell’s trial, the jury found Miss Roberts was one of her sex trafficking victims. In her impact statement, the American vowed to Maxwell: ‘If you ever get out of prison, I will be here, watching you, making sure you never hurt anyone else again.’
She also told her: ‘Without question, Jeffrey Epstein was a terrible paedophile. But I never would have met Jeffrey Epstein if not for you.
‘For me, and for so many others, you opened the door to hell.
‘And then, Ghislaine, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you used your femininity to betray us, and you led us all through it. You could have put an end to the rapes, the molestations, the sickening manipulations that you arranged, witnessed and even took part in.
‘Ghislaine, you deserve to spend the rest of your life in a jail cell. You deserve to be trapped in a cage forever, just like you trapped your victims.’
When British victim ‘Kate’ was a lonely teenager in 1994, Maxwell dressed her as a schoolgirl for sex with Epstein and branded her a ‘good girl’.
She said: ‘The many acts that were perpetrated on me by Epstein including rape, strangulation and sexual assault would have never occurred had it not been for the cunning and premeditated role Ghislaine Maxwell played. What happened to me at that young age changed the course of my life drastically, forever.
‘I witnessed on numerous occasions, over many years, Ghislaine Maxwell trying to recruit other girls and making consistent and insistent demands on me and others to do the same.
‘There was never any ambiguity or doubt about her having full knowledge of what was to take place once she recruited girls.’ In the years following the abuse, she struggled with drug addiction, panic attacks and night terrors, and she told of feeling ‘unable to trust my own instincts in choosing romantic relationships’.
Kate said testifying in the trial had been ‘both terrifying and re-traumatizing’ but added: ‘I do not, however, regret it for one moment.’