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Former actress escapes eviction

HEATHER RIPLEY, who as a seven-year-old actress played Jemima in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, escaped, at least temporarily, eviction from her Scottish home yesterday.

The actress, who abandoned the big screen after starring alongside Dick Van Dyke, is now an environmental campaigner against nuclear weapons and new roads. She has been fighting an attempt by her aunt and uncle to evict her from a Dundee house.

Yesterday, Dundee Sheriff James Scott adjourned for 10 days the case against the former child actress brought by Kenneth Ripley, her uncle, and her aunt Margaret Harris, the trustees of the pounds 100,000 property. They are seeking to reoccupy it, accusing their niece of rent arrears of more than pounds 7,000 and of allowing the house to fall into disrepair.

However, Miss Ripley, 39, claims she has a verbal agreement with her grandmother, who once owned the house, to live there. She also claims she has been prevented from paying rent by the trustees.

Miss Ripley began renting the house two years ago after her grandfather died and her grandmother moved to a nursing home. The house and the proceeds of the sale of the family optician business were left in trust to Miss Ripley and the uncle and aunt who are now trying to evict her.

When the grandmother dies, the three will receive equal share of a small family fortune but in the meantime Miss Ripley's aunt and uncle want her out of the home so it can be let to other tenants.

Miss Ripley who now uses the surname Glaisyer, has a 14-year-old-son, Cosmo, and an 11-year-old daughter, Josie. She did not attend yesterday's hearing and was said by her solicitor, Brian Fitzpatrick, to be currently engaged in an anti-nuclear demonstration at Faslane Royal Naval base, home to Britain's fleet of Trident nuclear submarines.