Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years in prison by New York court for sex trafficking

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for luring young girls to massage rooms for disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein to molest.

The 60-year-old looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as a judge in the Southern District of New York passed sentence in front of a packed public gallery.

Her accusers came face to face with her on Tuesday as several women read victim impact statements to the court - describing her as a "manipulative, cruel and merciless person."

Maxwell, who was described as "dangerous" by the prosecution during her three-week trial last year, helped entice vulnerable teenagers to Epstein's various properties for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for luring young girls to massage rooms for disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein to molest.

Jurors heard that the socialite summoned a 14-year-old girl to an orgy, groped another victim, and laid a schoolgirl outfit out for a third accuser before a sexualised massage with Epstein, because she "thought it would be fun".

She was convicted of five offences in December last year, including sex trafficking minors, conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

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Judge Nathan said it was important that although "Epstein was central to this scheme" she was not being sentenced "as a proxy" for him. She said: "The defendant's conduct... was heinous and predatory. Ms Maxwell worked with Epstein to select young victims who were vulnerable and played a pivotal role in facilitating sexual abuse."

Continuing her sentencing remarks, Judge Alison Nathan told the court: "The damage done to these girls was incalculable."

The judge said Ghislaine Maxwell's victims were forced to live through the "painful, horrific and lasting impact of that trauma". "Those who engage in and facilitate sexual abuse will be held accountable by the law. Whether you are rich or powerful, nobody is above the law."

Ghislaine Maxwell has apologised to the victims of her abuses and says she hopes her sentencing will allow them "peace and finality".