PIPPA’S FATHER IN LAW HELD OVER RAPE OF A MINOR
PIPPA Middleton’s fatherinlaw has been charged with raping a minor, it emerged last night.
David Matthews, 74, allegedly carried out two offences between 1998-9, according to legal sources in France. One is said to have happened in Paris and another on the Caribbean island of St Barts, where he owns a hotel. A woman lodged a complaint against Matthews with French police last year and he was arrested after flying into Paris Orly airport on Tuesday.
Matthews’ financier son James married Pippa Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s 34-year-old sister, in an extravagant ceremony
attended by royals and celebrities last May. French media said last night that Matthews was accused of raping a teenage girl shortly before she legally became an adult nearly two decades ago. Last night he strenuously denied all the claims.
While there is no like-for-like equivalent in the British legal system, Matthews’ official status with French prosecutors is ‘mise en examen’, which is widely considered to be similar to a charge in the UK.
The businessman, who has an estimated £40million fortune, was quizzed by police for 48 hours after he arrived in Paris. He had been heading to the South of France for a holiday over Easter. He has now been charged with the ‘rape of a minor by a person with authority over his victim’, a crime that is punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment in France. He has since been bailed.
The rape investigation is being dealt with by the Juvenile Protection Brigade of the Paris judicial police.
The charge will now be subject to a judicial investigation.
A judicial source said: ‘I confirm that David Matthews was placed in police custody on 27 March at the Brigade for the Protection of Minors.
‘Following his arrest, the Paris public prosecutor’s office opened a judicial investigation, overlooked by an examining magistrate, who charged him with the rape of a minor.
‘He was placed under judicial supervi-Wedding sion by the investigating judge. The inves- tigation alleges that the crimes were committed in 1998 and 1999.
‘The investigations will now continue as a judicial investigation and will be led by an investigating judge.’
One of the alleged offences is said to have taken place in 1998 on the upmarket Caribbean island of St Barts – a French dependency where Matthews owns a £5,000-a-night hotel, the Eden Rock. The other alleged attack is said to have taken place in Paris the following year.
Matthews has now been released on bail, subject to undisclosed conditions. It is not known if he has retained his passport, or whether he can travel home.
Matthews, who lives permanently on St Barts with his wife Jane, 70, originally spent a full 48 hours in custody in Paris – the maximum allowed under French criminal law before charges must be filed.
Last night a spokesman for Matthews said: ‘David Matthews categorically denies the allegation and unequivocally contests the untrue and scandalous accusation.’
Another of Matthews’ sons, Spencer, is known to millions as the star of Made in Chelsea, a reality TV show following the lives of London socialites.
He dated several cast members, earning him a reputation as a hard-partying lothario. But the Eton- educated 28-year-old is now engaged to Irish model Vogue Williams, who is expecting the couple’s first child.
In 2015 he won a spot on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, but he was forced to quit the show after just three days when he admitted to taking steroids.
Speaking about why he took took the pills, he said: ‘It was completely out of vanity. I just wanted to look good in the shower.’
‘Hotel made him feel truly alive’
Paris arrest: David Matthews with Pippa at her wedding in May
Big day: David Matthews, far right, with his son James, Pippa Middleton and the mother of the bride Carole on the couple’s wedding day last May
guests: David Matthews with wife Jane, a former Christian Dior receptionist