NEW YORK - Ghislaine Maxwell said she believes Jeffrey Epstein was murdered in prison in her first interview from behind bars.

Maxwell, 61, further fuelled conspiracy theories surrounding the disgraced billionaire’s death by disputing the official ruling of suicide in an interview broadcast on Talk TV’s the Jeremy Kyle Show on Monday.

“I believe that he was murdered. I was shocked,” she said. “Then I wondered how it had happened because as far as I was concerned, he was going to... I was sure he was going to appeal. And I was sure he was covered under the non-prosecution agreement.”

Maxwell declined to apologise to her victims during the Talk TV interview and said they should take their anger out on US authorities for allowing Epstein to die.

“I say that Epstein died and they should take their disappointment and upset out on the authorities who allowed that to happen,” she said. “And as I said I hope they have some closure by the judicial process that took place. I wish them time to heal and to be able to have a productive and good life going forward, and that’s what I hope for them.”

Epstein, 66, was found dead in his prison cell in New York 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges. His death was officially ruled to have been by suicide after an investigation by medical examiners.

Maxwell was found guilty of the abuse and trafficking of four young girls after a jury trial in New York in December 2021.

At her trial, prosecutors outlined how Maxwell operated as his enabler in luring vulnerable teenage girls with promises of scholarships, gifts and financial assistance for their families, and coerced them into becoming objects for his sexual gratification.

Victims described during the trial how Maxwell initially came across as a trusting, sisterly figure, who would then work in unison with Epstein to abuse and exploit them.

She was sentenced to 20 years in prison in June 2022, and continues to appeal the verdict and sentence.

During the interview from Tallahassee Federal Correctional Institution with journalist Daphne Barak, Maxwell said she wished she had never met Epstein.

Maxwell, who once counted Donald Trump and Bill and Hillary Clinton among her friends, was asked about an infamous 2001 photograph of herself with Prince Andrew, and a 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre.

She said she believed it had been faked, adding: “I don’t believe it’s real for a second.”

Ms Giuffre filed a civil sexual assault lawsuit against Andrew on claims he sexually assaulted her when she was 17 – which he vehemently denied.

Andrew later paid millions to Ms Giuffre to settle the case out of court.

Maxwell also revealed she had met the Queen Elizabeth II, and paid tribute to the former monarch’s “elegance and sheer capacity for dedication to her work”.

“I thought that the Queen was one of the most exceptional women I ever had the honour and privilege of briefly meeting,” she said.

Maxwell’s brother Ian, who was listening into the interviews, later asks her “who is the real Ghislaine”?

She replied that she felt “completely divorced from the person that people reference and talk about” in the media.

The biggest misconception, she said, was that “I’m the cruelest, meanest, horriblest person who’s committed crimes.”

Ms Barak said Maxwell appeared strong and healthy and was holding out hope when her appeal is heard later this month.