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‘The sentencing submissions did not express remorse or accept responsibility. Ms. Maxwell is entitled to exercise her right to go to trial. But I will take into account her lack of remorse. I conclude that a sentence of 240 months is right.’

The sentencing represents a huge moment for the victims, watchers around the world and not least Maxwell. It is the culmination of a decades-long pursuit for justice which saw Jeffrey Epstein die before trial in the Metropolitan Correctional Centre, his victims left without a sense of resolution.

While prosecutors asked for a sentence of between 30 and 55 years, Maxwell’s lawyers were hoping for no more than five. In a pre-sentencing report, the department of parole recommended 20 years. At 60 years old, a 20-year-long sentence could see Maxwell die in prison. 

This is, according to victim Sarah Ransome, precisely what Maxwell deserves. Outside the courthouse earlier today, she told Sky News, ‘Ghislaine must die in prison,’ adding that she has spent the ‘past 17 years in her own prison’ and that she has ‘been to hell and back.’ Meanwhile, Maxwell’s lawyer Christian Everdell has argued that ‘she has never been accused of a crime in the 18 years since’.

Victim impact statements from Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Elizabeth Stein echoed Ransome. ‘Together, you damaged me,’ said Roberts Giuffre in a letter that was read out to the court. ‘Together, you did unspeakable things. I want to be clear: without question, Jeffrey Epstein was a terrible paedophile. But I only met him because of you.’ Stein said, ‘things happened that were so traumatising 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.’

In the early stages of the hearing, Judge Alison Nathan said that ‘the controlling date for ex-post facto purposes is the last date of the offence conduct.’ This means less harsh sentencing guidelines from 2003 were used, which were between 15.5 and 19.5 years. Within these terms, the 20-year sentence handed down was significant.