The man who identified the body of Ghislaine Maxwell’s father has said he is shocked at how the “sweet young woman” came to be.
Ken Lennox, originally from the Isle of Barra, knew Maxwell well and helped prepare her to speak to the media in the wake of Robert Maxwell’s shock death.
The retired photographer is convinced that the death of the media mogul left a void in Ghislaine’s life, which she would later fill in with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Last week, Ghislaine, now 60, was found guilty of five out of six charges of trafficking and recruiting girls to her former partner, who committed suicide in a New York jail in 2019.
Lennox, now 78, said: “It’s clear to me that Epstein filled the father role for Ghislaine.
“It’s not an excuse for what she’s done. I think she’s rightly going to spend a lot of time in jail for her crimes.
“But while I was following the trial, I just had a very hard time coming to terms with what I heard about Ghislaine.
“What happened to the sweet, vulnerable girl? I can only guess that it was people like Epstein who corrupted her.”
Newspaper snatcher Lennox spent years photographing the family and knew them well. He was sent to the Canary Islands a few hours after Maxwell disappeared in 1991, identifying the tycoon’s body.
He said: “I spent a lot of time with Ghislaine in the wake of Maxwell’s death.
“We got a helicopter from the Mirror offices with the family before we caught a private plane where he was found in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria.
“I was sent to accompany the family when he disappeared and I was brought in to identify him when his body was found.
“Ghislaine was in a real state when we met the next day. She was, I think, flown in from New York.
“It was clear she was her father’s eye service.”
Maxwell had named the yacht after his daughter Ghislaine, one of nine children he had.
Ghislaine, then in her late 20s, spoke from the yacht. Lennox said: “I had to go and tell the waiting press pack, ‘Ghislaine will speak, but she will just read a statement – any question will see her dissolve into tears.’ ”
Lennox, who also worked as an official snapper for former US President Ronald Reagan and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, would continue to accompany the Maxwell family to Israel, where the media mogul was laid to rest.
He said, “I took a picture of Ghislaine while she was rocking a big picture of her father in Jerusalem.”
The empire of the Maxwell family slowly crumbled when it became clear how their father had stolen to feed his appetite for money and power.
And Lennox believes it was the shadow of her father that would force her into the arms of the rapist Epstein.
He added: “I have spent some time around Epsteins and Maxwells in the world.
“There are definitely parallels between Jeffrey Esptein and Robert Maxwell.”
Ghislaine risks up to 65 years behind bars. A judgment date must be decided.
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