Prince Andrew: Four witnesses who could hold the key to sex abuse trial

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Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell
Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell

As the Duke of York and Virginia Roberts Giuffre prepare for one of the most dramatic and high-profile cases in American legal history, their respective lawyers have drawn up a list of potential witnesses.

Prince Andrew’s legal team has said it wants to call from Australia Ms Giuffre’s husband, Robert, as well as her psychologist Dr Judith Lightfoot.

Meanwhile, Ms Giuffre’s team plans to call Robert Olney, the prince’s former equerry, and Shukri Walker, a woman who claims she saw the Duke in Tramp nightclub with the woman who became his accuser 20 years later.

Watch: Prince Andrew's ex-wife Sarah Ferguson to retain royal title

Here is an analysis of who each potential witness is, and what they could say.

Robert Giuffre

Twenty years ago at the age of just 19, Virginia Roberts met a martial arts tutor while she was studying massage techniques in Thailand.

Impressed with the sheer physical prowess of Robert Giuffre - she later said he “was a really good fighter [who] looked really hot” - the couple were married in a Buddhist temple within 10 days of meeting.

She credits their relationship as key to helping her find the courage to flee the clutches of Jeffrey Epstein, who had paid for her trip to study massage in Southeast Asia.

The newlyweds moved to Australia where they had three children, two boys and a girl.

Robert Giuffre with Virginia Roberts Giuffre
Robert Giuffre with Virginia Roberts Giuffre

The revelation that the Duke of York’s lawyers now want to interview Mr Giuffre raises the prospect that he will be a key witness. The Australian-American has been robust in using his Twitter account to defend in no uncertain terms any criticism of his wife.

It is understood the lawyers will want to know what he learned of her “alleged childhood trauma and abuse”, perhaps even why she waited nearly 10 years to make her allegations that the prince had sex with her.

They lived in New South Wales for 11 years before moving to the United States for two years from 2013 to spend time in Florida and then Colorado. In 2019, they returned to Australia to live on a winding cul-de-sac in a £1million (Aus$1.9million) six-bedroom house with a swimming pool.

The couple are clearly close; photographs of them together invariably show them in the small seaside town of Ocean Reef, just north of Perth, Australia, holding hands.

Dr Judith Lightfoot

As Ms Giuffre’s psychologist, it is hoped Dr Judith Lightfoot will be able to offer a valuable insight into Prince Andrew’s accuser’s mental state.

According to court documents, Ms Giuffre “sought counselling” from the Australia-based psychologist after she moved back to Australia.

The prince’s lawyers hope she will have “relevant information” about her abuse at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, as well as her “alleged severe emotional distress and psychological harm”.

They also want to question the psychologist about Ms Giuffre’s claim to have been under threat of death or bodily harm from the financier and convicted sex trafficker.

The lawyer’s letter states that “Dr Lightfoot’s records (or the lack thereof) reflecting” her allegations will be relevant to preparation of the Duke’s defence.

Other legal documents from the prince’s team have suggested Ms Giuffre “may suffer from false memories”, and so Dr Lightfoot should be questioned about that possibility as well as matters discussed during their sessions and any prescriptions she wrote for her.

It remains to be seen whether Dr Lightfoot will be allowed to refuse access to such personal files due to patient/doctor confidentiality.

Robert Olney

As Prince Andrew’s equerry, lawyers for Ms Giuffre will no doubt hope Robert Olney will know better most the personal life of the Duke.

The former Lieutenant Colonel’s role as the royal’s assistant, until 2004, meant he was listed in Jeffrey Epstein’s now notorious “little black book” as the contact for the Duke.

Ms Giuffre’s lawyers have claimed that means there is a possibility Mr Olney has relevant information about Andrew’s travel to and from Epstein’s properties.

Robert Olney
Robert Olney

Mr Olney has certainly appeared in the Court Circular, the official record of royal engagements, as being “in attendance” as a major alongside the prince on foreign trips - including ones to America, Germany, Jordan, Istanbul, Bahrain and the Caribbean - while Andrew was promoting British industry.

He will have also been privy to the Duke’s schedule and meetings, another reason lawyers hope he may be able to shed light on trips to Mr Epstein’s numerous homes.

Mr Olney’s LinkedIn profile says he went on to serve as Commander at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst for two years and as an Aviation Operations Commander in Afghanistan in 2013. His name also later appears as a “defence spokesman” who has handled the media.

He lives with his wife and children in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, where he is also the operations director and coach for the local rugby club.

Since October 2018, he has worked as the head of safety and business delivery at the Civil Aviation Authority.

Mr Olney's wife told reporters on Saturday afternoon: "I'm sorry, but Rob is not going to say anything, he's got nothing to say."

Shukri Walker

It was inevitable Ms Giuffre’s lawyers would call Shukri Walker after she appeared to shoot down Prince Andrew’s claim he was at a Pizza Express party in Woking instead of dancing with Ms Giuffre at Tramp nightclub in London.

In 2020 - a year after Prince Andrew’s disastrous Newsnight interview, Ms Walker gave a written statement to the FBI saying she remembered seeing him at the Mayfair club in 2001.

Ms Walker, who is Somali-born and lives in London, told federal investigators that she distinctly remembered apologising after accidentally stepping on Prince Andrew’s foot.

 Shukri Walker
Shukri Walker

He was said to have replied: “No problem.” She claims she saw Ms Giuffre, then just 17, with the prince, who has repeatedly said he has no recollection of meeting the American teenager.

She said: “He [Andrew] looked like he was having a great time. And he was with this young girl who was close to my own age, even a bit younger than me. The young woman wasn’t smiling. It was the opposite of smiles.”

She also said she was the prince wiping his hand across his face. The Duke has insisted he does not sweat due to a medical condition.

Documents from Ms Giuffre’s lawyers say: “Ms Walker has therefore stated herself that she is a potential witness, and would thus be relevant to this dispute because plaintiff contends that defendant abused her in London after visiting Tramp together, while defendant denies being at Tramp on the night in question or having ever met Plaintiff.”

However, Lisa Bloom, Ms Walker’s lawyer, later said Ms Walker was not sure of the exact date she said she saw the prince and Ms Giuffre at the Mayfair club.

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