Chess girl's mother quizzed over plot to kill ex-husband

A mother whose ex-husband stood trial for raping their daughter, who died weeks before the teenager was due to testify against him in court, has been questioned by police over an alleged plot to murder him.

Dr Angela Gilbert was interviewed last week after an email to Crimestoppers tipped off police that she had offered a hitman a large sum of money to kill Ian Gilbert on the second anniversary of their daughter Jessie's death.

Jessie Gilbert, a chess prodigy, was 19 when she died, falling from an eighth-floor hotel window on 26 July 2006 while competing in an international chess tournament in Pardubice, Czech Republic. A post-mortem examination revealed she had been drinking and had taken prescribed anti-depressants.

Ms Gilbert, who played for England in a chess tournament and had won a place at Oxford to study medicine, had alleged in a formal complaint to police in 2005 that her father had sexually abused her since the age of eight.

Ian Gilbert, a director at the Royal Bank of Scotland, was tried at Guildford crown court in December 2006 on five counts of raping his daughter. Jessie was to give evidence against him but instead the jury was shown a video interview given to police. Mr Gilbert was cleared of all rape charges, and also of two counts of rape and four of indecent assault relating to other people.

Dr Gilbert said she was sure Jessie had killed herself because she felt "tortured" over the alleged abuse by her father and was worried about giving evidence against him at his trial.

At the inquest into her death last September, Coroner Michael Burgess said he was not convinced that Jessie had intended to commit suicide, and recorded an open verdict.

Dr Gilbert, a 54-year-old research scientist, went voluntarily to Reigate police station for questioning last week, and detectives have since cleared her of suspicion. She had been interviewed "in connection with information regarding making a threat to kill," Surrey police said in a statement. "We have to take this sort of information very seriously whether anonymous or from a named person. We have investigated the allegation, concluded this investigation and no further action will be taken."

Dr Gilbert said: "It's ludicrous, complete nonsense. It is just ridiculous to say that I want my ex-husband dead.

"The email said that initially I just wanted him seriously injured and then later I changed the instructions and said I ordered him to be killed.

"That was all the information the police would disclose to me. It is really upsetting for my children to see their mother arrested over threats to kill their dad when the accusations are totally baseless."

Mr Gilbert had no comment, his solicitor said. The Gilberts lived in Surrey with Jessie and their three other daughters. Jessie won the Women's World Amateur Chess Championship in 1999 aged 11.

News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition