THE Daily Telegraph is facing criticism for its decision to publish a picture taken by the family of Ghislaine Maxwell, which attempts to discredit the accusations of sexual assault levelled at Prince Andrew.

The photograph, which is featured on the front page of today’s Daily Telegraph, shows two fully clothed people sitting in a bath with pictures of Prince Andrew and his accuser Virginia Giuffre covering their faces.

The Duke of York reached a multi-million pound settlement with Giuffre last February after she accused him of three incidents of rape and sexual abuse, which occurred when she was 17-years-old in 2001.

In 2011, Giuffre described one of the incidents, which she said occurred in Ghislaine Maxwell’s house in central London, where Prince Andrew licked her toes in the bath before taking her into the bedroom to have sex.

In her unpublished memoir she described the bathroom as having a “beige marble tiled floor with a porcelain Victorian-style bathtub in the middle of the room.”

However, Ghislaine Maxwell’s older brother Ian Maxwell has now released the images in an attempt to discredit Giuffre’s story.

He told The Telegraph: “I am releasing my photographs now because the truth needs to come out.

“They show conclusively that the bath is too small for any sort of sex frolicking. There is no ‘Victorian bath’, as Giuffre has claimed, which is proved both by the attached plan of the bathroom and the photos themselves”.

It comes after reports suggested that Prince Andrew has consulted lawyers in the US in a bid to overturn to the settlement he struck with Giuffre.

The Telegraph’s decision to publish the image on their front page has been broadly denounced on social media.

Professor of Social Change at Glasgow Caledonian University and The National columnist Gerry Hassan said: “The Daily Telegraph has given up any pretence of being a serious newspaper.

“There is no comeback from this front page story trying to offer cover for serial sex trafficker Prince Andrew.

“The Tele is now like the Daily Sport without the humour: mad & dangerous.”

Jo Grady, the general secretary of the University and College Union, tweeted: “Can we take a moment to acknowledge this for what it is?

“It is continued harassment of a survivor of sexual violence. It is a continued attempt to humiliate and undermine her.

“It is a sick representation of rape culture in the UK. It’s continued abuse, it isn’t funny.”

Historian Otto English said: “My parents used to take the Telegraph. It always had some slightly bonkers moments but this feels like Express territory in the Diana conspiracy years.”

Republican campaign group Our Republic described the front page as “stomach-churning”.