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Pippa Middleton's father-in-law faces probe by child protection unit

Pippa Middleton’s father-in-law, 79, faces fresh probe by child protection unit in Paris – five years after being accused of historic rape of 16-year-old girl

  • David Matthews is under investigation over claims he raped a 16-year-old girl
  • The Mail on Sunday can now reveal detectives have begun another inquiry

Pippa Middleton’s father- in-law is facing continuing police investigations – five years after being charged with raping a minor.

David Matthews, 79, was first arrested by French police in 2018 and remains under investigation over claims he raped a 16-year-old girl on two occasions between 1998 and 1999 – firstly in Paris and then again on the Caribbean island of St Barts where he owns the £5,000-a-night Eden Rock hotel.

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal detectives have begun another inquiry which is now running in tandem with the current one.

Prosecutors will confirm only that it is being handled by the same specialist Paris unit – the Brigade for the Protection of Minors – which deals with crimes against under-18s. Further allegations are understood to have emerged during the protracted original inquiry.

Mr Matthews, a former racing driver whose son James married the Princess of Wales’s sister in 2017, vehemently denies any wrongdoing and sources close to him said his legal team has not been told of any new allegations. Last month he was pictured greeting Pippa and her family arriving for a holiday in St Barts.

David Matthews (right), 79, was first arrested by French police in 2018 and remains under investigation over claims he raped a 16-year-old girl on two occasions between 1998 and 1999

A spokesman for the Paris prosecutors said: ‘The judicial investigation in which David Matthews has been indicted and placed under judicial control is in progress. I can also confirm a preliminary investigation entrusted to the Brigade for the Protection of Minors is also under way, implicating David Matthews.’

He said he was unable to provide further details.

Mr Matthews was twice interviewed by Judge Jean Rea in Paris in 2021. Police first questioned him in April 2018 after arresting him as he flew in to Paris from the Caribbean. He has previously claimed to friends that he is being ‘set up’ by the original complainant to ‘cause his family embarrassment’. She angrily denies this.

In a 2018 interview with the MoS, her father said: ‘The idea she is doing this for compensation or any reason other than a desire for justice is completely wrong.’

His daughter, who is British but cannot be identified for legal reasons, told French police last year she initially blamed herself for the alleged attacks, which she said left her feeling ‘shocked and disgusted’.

It is understood she told police she was groomed and assaulted when she had just turned 15 but that the first alleged rape took place when she was 16.

She confided in her parents eight years ago, and her account left them ‘incredibly shocked’.

Her father said: ‘She told me, “You don’t know what I’ve been going through all these years.” Then it all came pouring out. She said it had been a burden because she had kept it bottled up for so long. It’s caused her an immense emotional strain.’

The statute of limitations for prosecuting rape in France was two decades at the time of Mr Matthews’s arrest, meaning the charges could have been time-barred. A new law in 2018 extended this to 30 years for complainants under 18.

Mr Matthews attended his son’s wedding with senior members of the Royal Family, including Prince William and Prince Harry.

The son of a Rotherham coal miner, he amassed a £40million fortune by selling a secondhand car business and moving into property development and hotel ownership.

Mr Matthews pictured with son James Matthews and daughter-in-law Pippa Middleton at their wedding

After leaving school, he became an apprentice garage mechanic. At 19 he sold cars door-to-door and, in his spare time, pursued his love of motor racing. His first marriage was to Anita Taylor, one of Britain’s first women racing drivers. They had a daughter, Nina, but divorced three years later in 1969.

He married for a second time to artist Jane Parker, now 75, and after moving out of their bungalow in Rotherham the couple lived on a 30-acre, 18th Century estate in rural Lincolnshire. As their fortunes rose, there were spells living in Paris, then Monaco.

They had three sons, James, Spencer and Michael – the latter died when he was 22 during an expedition on Mount Everest.

Mr Matthews ventured into hotels, buying up Eden Rock in St Barts in 1995. He and his wife now live on the island. He remains on bail, with no travel restrictions, but he has been regularly summoned to Paris for interview.

St Barts is a French island, so part of the European Union. Mr Matthews is not considered a flight risk, or likely to interfere with witnesses, and has co-operated fully with the Paris authorities.

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