Father of chess prodigy goes on trial for her rape

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The Independent Online

A chess champion who died in an apparent suicide leap, after accusing her father of repeatedly raping her, described her alleged abuse on tape recordings made before her death.

Jessie Gilbert, who fell from a hotel window in July, aged 19, accused her father, Ian Gilbert, 48, of first raping her at the age of eight. Jessie said her father, a director at the Royal Bank of Scotland, raped her at home in Woldingham, Surrey, over the next five years, a jury at Guildford Crown Court heard yesterday. Mr Gilbert denies five counts of raping Jessie between 1995 and 2000.

The teenager, who died after falling eight floors from a hotel in the Czech Republic, said the assaults stopped when she was 13. He used to creep into her room, have sex with her and order her not to tell anyone, the jury heard.

Mr Gilbert - described by the prosecution as "possessive, domineering and bullying" - belittled Jessie, calling her stupid because he saw her as competition, the court was told. Jessie achieved eight A* grades and one A in her GCSEs at Croydon High School.

The teenager, who had hoped to study medicine at Oxford, was interviewed in 2004 by police after telling friends while drunk about the alleged rapes. In the police tapes, she described the first alleged attack, at home when she was aged eight. "He put his hand over my mouth then he took off my pyjamas and raped me," she said. "I did not scream or anything because he had his hand over my mouth and I was really scared."

She added: "My final thoughts on my dad are that I hate him and never wish to see or speak to him again."

The trial continues.