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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 17:45 GMT
Chess star father cleared of rape
Ian Gilbert
Mr Gilbert made an emotional appeal to the jury
A father has been found not guilty of raping his chess prodigy daughter.

Ian Gilbert, 48, was accused of assaulting Jessie Gilbert at the family home in Woldingham, Surrey, over a period of five years.

He told Guildford Crown Court how his daughter was "quite capable of planning ahead" and could have made up the claims after they had argued.

Jessie, 19, from Croydon, south London, fell to her death from a hotel window in the Czech Republic in July.

She had been competing in an international chess tournament at the time of her death.

Mr Gilbert, a Royal Bank of Scotland director, was accused of repeatedly raping Jessie between 1995 and 2000.

The jury also found him not guilty of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault on other people.

He now seeks to restore stability in his personal and professional life
Ian Gilbert's solicitor

Reading a short statement outside the court after the verdict, Mr Gilbert's solicitor Colin Reynolds said his client had "strenuously denied allegations" all along.

"He is grateful to the jury for their obvious careful consideration of all the evidence and for returning appropriate verdicts which reflect the truth.

"He would ask you to respect his privacy as he now seeks to restore stability in his personal and professional life."

Drug overdose

During the trial Mr Gilbert suggested Jessie may have deliberately drip-fed information about the alleged abuse to family and friends before she contacted police, in order to make her story more credible.

The court heard Jessica fell out with her father after a row about a laptop computer and there were other disagreements.

Jessie Gilbert
Jessie fell to her death from a hotel window in the Czech Republic.

She told her mother that she had been raped after her father moved out of the family home. Her parents later divorced.

The court heard that Jessie got drunk and told her friends on two occasions that she was raped by her father.

On a night-out with friends she climbed a wall at Croydon's clock tower and threatened to jump off.

Another time, she took an overdose of paracetamol but survived.

Jessie's death came shortly before Mr Gilbert's trial was originally scheduled to start.

In court, Mr Gilbert said that allegations of rape were "disgusting" and that Jessie was playing a game of chess against him and was preparing a strategy for revenge.

Mr Gilbert's new wife Sally was present with him at the court.

Chess star 'confided in friend'
23 Nov 06 |  London

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