Ghislaine Maxwell has received a 20 year prison sentence from a New York court for sex-trafficking teenagers for her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.
Judge Alison J Nathan said that the former socialite’s crimes were "heinous and predatory", adding she wanted to send an "unmistakable message" that such crimes would be punished. She also fined her $750,000 (€713,000).
Maxwell, 60, continues to maintain her innocence and plans to appeal her conviction. She did, however, address victims and told them, "I'm sorry for the pain you have experienced".
She also admitted:
“It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein. Jeffrey Epstein should have been here before all of you.”
The sentence was less than the 30-55 years that prosecutors had hoped for but significantly more than the five years her lawyers had argued for.
"Ghislaine must die in prison because I've been in Hell and back for the last seventeen years," one victim, Sarah Ransome, argued.
"I was 10 years old when Liz Stein was being trafficked. I was 10. That is how long this sex trafficking ring has been going on for. And it should have just taken one survivor to come forward for us to be taken seriously. It should not have been this hard."
Maxwell has already served two years and with good behaviour could be released early. The Times of London has reported that she hopes to be deported to serve the rest of her sentence in her native Britain; “Given the vile prison conditions in the US, if I were her I would want to be transferred to any civilised country,” a friend told the newspaper.
Riches to prison rags
Maxwell is the daughter of the late press baron Robert Maxwell and the first 58 and a half years of her life were one of luxury.
She met billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein in the 1990s and he introduced her to a world where she rubbed shoulders with the rich and powerful of New York City. She in turn introduced him to her friends - most famously Prince Andrew, Duke of York, whose association with the pair has forced him to retire from public life.
Now her world is a drab prison cell in Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center where she has complained of rats and “dehumanising” treatment by guards.
Main image: Ghislaine Maxwell appears during her arraignment hearing at Manhattan Federal Court in New York City, New York, U.S. April 23, 2021, in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg