Jeffrey Epstein's 'paedophile island' at centre of sex trafficking probe

Little St James Island, in the US Virgin Islands, was bought by Epstein more than 20 years ago. [Image: Reuters])
The private island owned by billionaire Jeffrey Epstein - who has today killed himself in prison - is at the centre of the sex trafficking probe against him.

There are claims underage girls were used as sex slaves and repeatedly abused inside a temple on the island of Little St James, dubbed paedophile island ‘and’ Orgy Island.

He bought it more than two decades ago and created a high-security oasis, featuring the bizarre blue and white structure, complete with a gold dome, and a mansion.

The 66-year-old had pleaded not guilty to charges involving dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14, before he was reportedly found hanged in his prison cell at Manhattan Correctional Center, New York.

SEE ALSO :Democrats decry Trump for Epstein conspiracy theories

The financier, who was friends with Prince Andrew, allegedly ran a sex ring of underage girls to perform sex acts and nude "massages" for him and his wealthy friends.

'Paedo island', as it has become known, has remained Epstein's main home to date but been shrouded in mystery, the Sun reports.

The 78-acre island lies between St Thomas and St John, two of the largest islands of the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.

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Sinister theories have emerged about its use, with neighbours calling it "our dark corner".

Workers at the island signed non-disclosure agreements and refused to talk. [Image: Reuters]
The enormous stone mansion, with cream walls and a bright turquoise roof surrounded by maids' quarters was built first, followed by the temple topped with a gold dome.

SEE ALSO :FBI child-sex probe links Prince Andrew, 300 Britons to Jeffrey Eipstein

Speculation about the building, resembling a religious temple, has questioned if it was used for the child sex abuse Epstein was accused of.

A medieval-style lock on the front became a curious point of conversation for those working there, who suggested it could have been used to lock people inside with no escape.

The front is flanked by statues painted in gold; one which appears to be Poseidon, Greek god of the sea, and another that looks like a pair of birds.

It is surrounded by palm trees and a terrace with a labyrinth motif.

A small structure downhill from the building has led some to believe it serves as a second entrance and suggest that the space extends into an underground lair.

SEE ALSO :US attorney general shakes up prison bureau after Epstein death

Chicago-based contractor James Both shared his professional thoughts on the building's door with Business Insider.

"It's styled like what you might see on a castle, with what appears to be a reinforcing lock bar across the face," he said.

"What makes it peculiar is that if you wanted to keep people out, the bar would be placed inside the building, [but the] locking bar appears to be placed on the outside ... as if it were intended to lock people in."

It was built sometime between 2009 and 2013 following the billionaire's guilty plea of soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution.

He managed to keep a low profile after receiving a lenient plea deal over the claims he paid girls for sexual massages.

But rumours continued to circle about his need for such privacy.

Workers were made to sign non-disclosure agreements and refused to talk, while security guards kept watch along the island's coast.

His visits to the island archipelago, prior to his 2008 guilty plea, furthered suspicion.

He would frequent the island two or three times a month for several days at a time, according to a former staffer speaking to SF Gate, describing it as a zen-like retreat where women would sunbathe topless or in the nude.

Numerous girls have spoken out against the abuse they claim they suffered at Little St James and Epstein's homes in New York, New Mexico and Florida.

Epstein, who had been on suicide watch after an apparent attempt on July 23, was found by guards at 7am local time on Saturday.

He was rushed to hospital before being pronounced dead, US media reports.

The disgraced financier had pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges involving dozens of girls as young as 14 in New York and Florida from at least 2002 to 2005.

Arrested on July 6, he had complained about the conditions in jail and appealed a federal judge's decision to keep him locked up on remand while he awaited trial next year.

He faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

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Jeffrey EpsteinPaedophile islandDonald TrumpChild sex trafficking