The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, has apologised for accepting money from convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein calling it a “gigantic error of judgment”.

“I deeply regret that Jeffrey Epstein became involved in any way with me. I abhor paedophilia and any sexual abuse of children,” she continued.

The Duchess, who was in severe debt at the time of the incident, needed money to pay her former personal assistant Mr O’Sullivan who was owed £78,000 in unpaid wages and bills.

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Fergie’s former husband, Prince Andrew, The Duke Of York stepped in and spoke to Mr Jeffrey Epstein who agreed to help Fergie by paying Mr O’Sullivan £15,000.

Ms Ferguson claimed to not have known of any of the allegations against Mr Epstein at the time.

“I cannot state more strongly that I know a terrible, terrible error of judgment was made, my having anything do with Jeffrey Epstein. What he did was wrong and for which he was rightly jailed.

“I had no idea of the string of other allegations and court cases against him and I am distraught that I should have allowed myself to get out of debt with any help from him when my judgment was clouded.”

Ms Ferguson also made it clear that she intends to pay the money back as soon as possible so that she can cut all ties with Mr Epstein.

 “I am so contrite I cannot say. Whenever I can I will repay the money and have nothing to do with Jeffrey Epstein ever again.”

The American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was sentenced to an 18-month jail sentence in 2008 for soliciting prostitution with an underage girl.