Ghislaine Maxwell

Daily Mail

The world’s media descended on New York in late 2021 for the long-awaited trial of Ghislaine Maxwell. Competition for scoops was intense but it was a long-serving Fleet Street journalist who outwitted the dozens of journalists, authors, TV crews and news anchors covering the case to land a series of scoops including a world exclusive interview with one of the four women who testified against Maxwell, Carolyn Andriano.

The Daily Mail’s Stephen Wright persuaded Miss Andriano to waive her anonymity, for no interview fee, to tell the world how Prince Andrew’s teen sex accuser Virginia Roberts had confessed to her in 2001 about sleeping with the Duke and showed her then the notorious picture of them together. It was an astonishing and deeply harrowing interview which proved to be a final nail in the coffin of Prince Andrew who would later settle out of court with Miss Roberts and which was the envy of rivals across the globe. And it was not a gift wrapped scoop but the result of old school reporting in the finest traditions of Fleet Street. When the prosecution case ended in mid December, Wright discretely left the ‘pack’ in New York for Florida where – with the permission of his legal department - he knocked on doors and made a courteous approach to Miss Andriano to grant him an exclusive interview. She finally agreed to do so over lunch on New Year’s Day, after which US-based freelance Barbara McMahon assisted Wright on what was a major operation.

Days earlier, Wright had persuaded Miss Andriano’s mother to do a separate bombshell interview about the guilt she felt about her daughter being a victim of Maxwell and Epstein and her anger at how Epstein had been protected. It was the sensitive way that Wright approached the interview with her mother that persuaded Miss Andriano to speak out. She said she wanted to be a ‘voice for all survivors of sexual abuse so they are not afraid to come forward’ – words which received widespread support and acclaim. She detailed the emotional toll that the appalling abuse by Epstein, Maxwell and others had taken on her. In the aftermath of the Maxwell verdicts, Wright also landed another front page scoop about a key witness who had potentially damning evidence about Prince Andrew and his contact with Miss Roberts. To scoop Fleet Street is one thing, but to scoop the world on the global stage is another. These were stories hugely in the public interest which rocked Prince Andrew and Buckingham Palace.