Gilbey’s Gin heir has assault charge overturned

The heir to the Gilbey’s Gin fortune, Sir Walter Gavin Gilbey, has had his conviction for assaulting his 95-year-old mother overturned at Hove Crown Court, having been convicted back in February.

A Gilbey’s Gin advert c.1971.

69-year-old Gilbey, who goes by his middle name ‘Gavin’, had been charged with and convicted of assaulting his mother Lady Gilbey earlier this year. His conviction was overturned last Friday (30 November).

In a statement issued through his lawyers on Sunday (2 December), he said: “I would like to express my enormous relief that the Gilbey name has now been cleared.

“After living through a highly stressful 15 months I am really happy that I can now resume the relationship with my loving and frail mother and continue to look after her for the rest of her life.

“I wish to publicly thank Penny, my loving partner for over 20 years, and all of my friends for their steadfast support.”

His solicitor Nigel Richardson of Hodge Jones and Allen, said: “Sir Gavin has always maintained his innocence of these allegations and we are delighted that his good name has been cleared.

“Sir Gavin has had to endure a living nightmare for the past 15 months and I hope the quashing of his conviction allows him to move on with his life”.

It was claimed that Gilbey had snapped his mother’s walking stick and thrown her to the floor in an incident at her home in Pulborough on 26 August last year.

He was later charged and found guilt of one count of assault and was given a restraining order and fined £1,197. Gilbey has always maintained that the incident was a lie and was engineered by his sister, Lady (Camilla) Frederick, in order to gain control of Lady Gilbey’s estate.

Sir Walter Gavin Gilbey is the fourth Baronet of the Gilbey Baronetcy. The title was created on 4 September 1893 for the wine-merchant, stock-breeder, agriculturalist and philanthropist Walter Gilbey (1831-1914).

W&A Gilbey Ltd was founded in 1857 by brothers Walter and Albert Gilbey who had recently been discharged from the Crimean War. With an older brother already working in the wine trade, the brothers set up shop, initially focusing on South African wine. After expanding the business and opening branches in Dublin, Edinburgh and Belfast (as well as London), the brothers began to diversify after the then Chancellor of the Exchequer William Gladstone reduced duty on French wine.

In 1872, they began distilling Gilbey’s London Dry Gin, later opening distilleries in Australia and Canada.

As well as gin, the company began selling fortified wine and whisky, and by 1905 they had bought three whisky distilleries: Glen Spey, Knockando and Strathmill.

W&A Gilbey’s portfolio of brands later became part of International Distillers & Vintners, a beer, wine and spirits distribution company. In 1998 IDV merged with United Distillers to create United Distillers & Vintners – the spirits division of Diageo, which was established the year before.

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