Virginia Roberts said she is ‘disappointed’ that she wasn’t able to face Jeffrey Epstein’s friend Jean-Luc Brunel, who allegedly procured more than a thousand women and girls for the paedophile financier to sleep with, ‘in a final trial’ after he died today in an alleged prison suicide.
Prosecutors in Paris confirmed Brunel, who is not believed to have been on suicide watch, was found hanging in his cell in La Santé, in the south of the capital city, in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Ms Roberts said Brunel’s alleged suicide ‘ends another chapter’, speaking just days after Prince Andrew, 62, agreed to settle her lawsuit accusing him of sex abuse after they met allegedly through Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. In the settlement, there was no admission of liability by Andrew, who has always denied the specific allegations.
Ms Roberts, also known by her married name Giuffre, has accused the French modelling agent, 76, of procuring more than a thousand women and girls for Epstein to sleep with and he was awaiting trial in France for raping minors.
Taking to Twitter following the news of his death on Saturday, she said she was ‘disappointed’ that she was not able to face Brunel at a ‘final trial to hold him accountable’.
She wrote: ‘The suicide of Jean-Luc Brunel, who abused me and countless girls and young women, ends another chapter.
‘I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to face him in a final trial to hold him accountable, but gratified that I was able to testify in person last year to keep him in prison.’
His death in an alleged hanging will fuel conspiracy theories around the Epstein affair after the financier also died in prison while awaiting trial in what authorities concluded was a hanging.
Controversy over Epstein’s death has been fueled by the fact that prison video cameras at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correction Center were not running at the time Epstein died in the cell he shared with another inmate.
Brunel is thought to have been alone at the time of his death and there were no cameras to record his final hours, according to an investigating source at La Santé – one of the toughest jails in France.
‘A night patrol found his lifeless body at about 1am,’ said an investigating source. ‘A judicial enquiry has been launched, and early evidence points to suicide.’
It was in December 2020 that Brunel was indicted after two days of interviews by an examining magistrate and specialist police from an anti-paedophilia unit.
He was arrested at the city’s Charles de Gaulle airport on while trying to board a plane to Dakar, Senegal, telling detectives ‘I’m going on holiday’.
Prosecutors in Paris confirmed that Jean-Luc Brunel (pictured), 76, was found hanging in his cell in La Santé, in the south of the capital city, in the early hours of Saturday morning
His death in an alleged hanging will fuel conspiracy theories around the Epstein affair after he also died in prison while awaiting trial in what authorities say was a hanging. Pictured, Brunel with Maxwell and Epstein on a private jet
Taking to Twitter following the news of his death on Saturday, Virginia Roberts (pictured with lawyer David Boies) said she was ‘disappointed’ that she was not able to face Brunel at a ‘final trial to hold him accountable’
It comes days Prince Andrew , 62, agreed to settle her lawsuit accusing him of sex abuse after they met allegedly through Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. In the settlement, there was no admission of liability by Andrew (pictured with the Queen)
While CCTV is commonplace in the corridors and gateways of French prisons, the vast majority of cells are not under video surveillance. This is ensure a degree of privacy, and to make sure that European human rights legislation is not violated.
Inmates are sometimes known to record events using devices including mobile phones, but Brunel is thought to have been in a single occupancy cell, said the source.
‘There is an investigation going on to confirm all this, but at the moment it looks like he killed himself alone, and it was a routine patrol that found his body hanging,’ he said.
The source added: ‘There were no obvious fears for the prisoner’s health, and he was not on a suicide watch, having already been in prison for many months.’
The official enquiry into Brunel’s sudden death was on Saturday being carried out by offices from the 3rd Judicial Police district in Paris. An autopsy was set to be carried out, to establish the exact cause of death.
Forensic officers were meanwhile examining the cell where Brunel died. La Santé, which was built in the 19th Century, has housed some of the most dangerous prisoners in recent French history.
There is a so-called ‘VIP section’ where inmates include ‘super terrorist’ and mass killer Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Ilich Ramírez Sánchez.
Brunel was originally indicted and placed in pre-trial detention in December 2020 for the ‘rape of a minor over 15 years old’ and harassing two other women.
He was also suspected of being a ‘pimp’ for Epstein, after becoming a close friend of the billionaire financier.
Brunel had been placed under the intermediate status of assisted witness for acts of ‘human trafficking’ and ‘exploiting minors for the sexual purposes.’
Brunel committed suicide because he was ‘crushed’ by the allegations against him, his defence lawyers said in a joint statement.
‘His distress was that of a 75-year-old man crushed by a media-judicial system which it should be time to question,’ said Mathias Chichportich, Marianne Abgrall and Christophe Ingrain.
‘Jean-Luc Brunel has continued to proclaim his innocence. He multiplied his efforts to prove it. His decision [to end his life] was not driven by guilt, but by a deep sense of injustice.’
Others involved in the ring include Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, who is currently in prison in the USA after being found guilty of sex trafficking. Pictured, Brunel with Manwell on Epstein’s private island
The Dutch model, Thysia Huisman (pictured), who was 18 when she first stayed with Brunel, said she was raped by him in 1991. Huisman is now one of at least four alleged victims represented by Anne-Claire Le Jeune, a Paris barrister, who said Brunel being in custody was a huge relief, because their complaints now ‘take on meaning’
A French judicial enquiry into Brunel’s conduct was opened in August 2019, when prosecutors heard allegations that Brunel and the Queen’s second son shared a lover. Pictured, Brunel with models he scouted
Brunel is pictured with models who worked for his agency. The model scout’s name appears frequently in the flight logs kept for Epstein’s private jets and prison records show he visited Epstein 67 times when he was in jail
A Dutch model, Thysia Huisman, who was 18 when she first stayed with Brunel, said she was raped by him in 1991.
She is now one of at least four alleged victims represented by Anne-Claire Le Jeune, a Paris barrister, who said Brunel being in custody was a huge relief, because their complaints now ‘take on meaning,’ she said.
After news of Brunel’s death broke Ms Huidman said she felt disappointed by the ‘completely different ending without any real justice for his victims.
Brunel was suspected of having been part of a global underage sex ring organised by the late American multi-billionaire Epstein, who committed suicide in 2019, while awaiting trial for numerous sex crimes.
Others involved in the ring include Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, who is currently in prison in the USA after being found guilty of sex trafficking.
Billionaire paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein’s jail cell suicide:
Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself inside his New York City jail cell in August 2019.
The billionaire paedophile was found in cardiac arrest shortly before 7am on Saturday, August 10 at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan.
He was rushed to nearby New York Downtown Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
In a statement, Metropolitan Correctional Center told DailyMail.com that the FBI is now launching an investigation into Epstein’s death.
The former financier, 66, was awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking and was being held at the high-security complex without bail.
Epstein – who once boasted an array of high-profile friends including Prince Andrew and President Bill Clinton – was arrested on July 6, accused of arranging to have sex with dozens of underage girls at his residences in New York City and Florida between 2002 and 2005.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Epstein’s suicide comes just two weeks after he was hospitalised following what may have been an initial attempt to take his own life.
A French judicial enquiry into Brunel’s conduct was opened in August 2019, when prosecutors heard allegations that Brunel and the Queen’s second son Prince Andrew shared a lover.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, an American, has told lawyers she was employed as a ‘sex slave’ when she was forced to sleep with the Duke of York after being trafficked to him at least three times when she was 17.
Almost all of the accusations leveled against Brunel were from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, meaning they fell outside the 20-year limit for prosecuting sex crimes in France.
This meant that Brunel was considered ‘untouchable’ by police who nicknamed him ‘The Ghost’ as he carried on living and working in the French capital, while frequently traveling abroad on scouting assignments and holidays.
But in November 2020, Giuffre responded to an online English language appeal by French magistrates for alleged victims to come forward.
Ms Roberts Giuffre said she had ‘sexual relations with Brunel on several occasions’, between the ages of 16 and 19, according to legal papers filed in America and France.
‘Ms Giuffre now lives in Australia but responded to the appeal,’ said an investigating source. ‘She was interviewed remotely, and provided considerable evidence against Brunel.
‘She said that she was raped by Brunel in the early 2000s, including in 2001. This was a considerable breakthrough for the enquiry.’
It meant that the alleged crime was well within the statute of limitations, and therefore prosecutable.
Officers were set to arrest Brunel in January 2020 following further enquiries, but on December 16 he was intercepted at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris with a one-way ticket to Dakar, capital of Senegal, in West Africa.
‘This led to his immediate arrest and he was placed in custody,’ said the source. ‘The multiple rape charges solely relate to the testimony of Virginia Giuffre, and not any of the other alleged rape victims.
‘The sexual harassment indictment is nothing to do with the Epstein case, and instead relates to incidents in 2016 following a complaint by another woman who has not gone public.’
The ‘multiple rapes’ of Giuffre – now a mother of three who was called Virginia Roberts before her marriage – were said to have mainly taken place at Epstein’s home on the private island of Little Saint James, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Giuffre had produced sworn testimonies saying that both Brunel and Prince Andrew attacked her there.
According to French law, a French citizen such as Brunel can be tried in France for offences committed abroad.
Both Prince Andrew and Brunel vehemently denied these claims, with the Prince considered a key witness who both the Americans and the French wanted to interview in person.
Prosecutors in Paris confirmed Brunel was found hanging in his cell in La Santé, in the south of the capital city, in the early hours of Saturday morning. Pictured, a cell at the prison
Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself inside his New York City jail cell in August 2019. Pictured, Epstein’s cell after his body was found by prison guards
Allegations made against Jeffrey Epstein’s friend and modelling agent Jean-Luc Brunel
Modelling agent Jean-Luc Brunel was arrested at the city’s Charles de Gaulle airport on while trying to board a plane to Dakar, Senegal, telling detectives ‘I’m going on holiday’.
He was indicted in September 2021 on a single count of rape.
Other allegations against him include:
- Ms Roberts Giuffre, 37, said that she had had sex with Mr Brunel several times when she was between the ages of 16 and 19;
- Notified on Friday, December 18, 2020 of the preliminary charges of raping girls between 15 and 18 years old;
- Preliminary charges of sexually harassing a 16-year-old girl in 2016;
- Suspected of having organised the transport and lodging of girls or young women on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein.
Despite vowing to fight the allegations and repeatedly protesting his innocence, the prince has agreed to pay a large sum to settle the case before it ever reaches a jury.
Reports suggested the Queen herself will provide money to pay for the settlement, according to the Telegraph.
The paper reported the total amount that the victim and her charity will receive will actually exceed £12m, with the funds coming from her private Duchy of Lancaster estate, which recently increased by £1.5m to more than £23m.
Although the agreement contained no formal admission of liability from Andrew, or an apology, it said he now accepted Miss Roberts was a ‘victim of abuse’ and that he regretted his association with Epstein, the disgraced financier who trafficked countless young girls.
‘He has never met Brunel. No ifs, no buts,’ a source close to Andrew told the Royal Observer.
The rape of a minor is punishable by up to 15 years in prison in France, while aggravated sexual harassment comes with a three-year prison sentence and a fine equivalent to around £40,000.
Giuffre said Epstein told her he had slept with ‘over a thousand women that Brunel brought in’, in an NBC Dateline special that aired in 2019.
Brunel, who denied any wrongdoing, was being held in custody until a criminal trial on a date to be fixed.
In 2015, Brunel denied involvement ‘directly or indirectly’ in any of Epstein’s offences in a statement issued in 2015. It said: ‘I strongly deny having committed any illicit act or any wrongdoing in the course of my work.’
Brunel was also suspected of using his contacts in the fashion industry to provide victims to Epstein and his friends.
He is said to have flown three 12-year-old sisters from a Paris housing estate to America so they could be abused by Epstein as ‘a birthday present’.
Pictured: Prince Andrew, Virginia and Ghislaine Maxwell at Maxwell’s London flat
Virginia Giuffre, 37, (pictured) is now the key witness in the prosecution of Brunel, 75, after claiming that both him and Prince Andrew, 60, used her as their ‘sex slave’
Epstein – an old friend of Andrew’s and a business associate of Brunel’s – committed suicide in his prison cell in New York on August 10 2019, while awaiting trial for a range of offences, including trafficking minors for sex, and multiple rapes
Brunel was the founder of MC2, the model agency that prosecutors believe was used as a cover for the sex trafficking ring. The out-of-time evidence against Brunel comes from a number of former models, who – like Giuffre – have waived their anonymity to make their allegations public
It was in December 2020 that Brunel was indicted after two days of interviews by an examining magistrate and specialist police from an anti-paedophilia unit. Pictured, the prison where Brunel was found dead
Epstein – an old friend and business of associate of Brunel’s – committed suicide in his prison cell in New York on August 10 2019, while awaiting trial for a range of offences, including trafficking minors for sex, and multiple rapes.
Among his alleged victims, it is claimed in court documents, were the 12-year-old triplets from Paris.
Brunel was the founder of MC2, the model agency – one that prosecutors believe was used as as a cover for Epstein’s sex trafficking ring.
Brunel started his career as a model scout, and has worked with celebrities including Jerry Hall, Sharon Stone, and Monica Bellucci.
Corinne Dreyfus-Schmidt, Mr Brunel’s lawyer, has insisted her client is innocent of any wrongdoing.
Evidence against Brunel came from a number of former models, who had waived their anonymity to make their allegations public.
New Zealander Zoe Brock has claimed in statements made to French investigators that she was abused in his Paris home in the early 1990s.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk