THE heir to a gin fortune flew into a rage and assaulted his elderly mother after she took away his control over her money, a court heard.

Sir Gavin Gilbey, 68, is accused of assaulting his 95-year-old mother Lady Gilbey at her home in Pulborough last year while he was under investigation over her power of attorney.

The baronet, who lives in Dornoch, Inverness, denied grabbing his mother by the arms and throwing her to the floor in a fit of anger.

Horsham magistrates heard Lady Elizabeth Gilbey raised her stick to defend herself when her son confronted her in a menacing manner.

Amanda Burrows, prosecuting, told Sir Gavin: “Under the stress of the unfair accusation, you were very, very angry with your mother and sister.

“You lost it, you got up went over took the stick and snapped it, grabbed her by the arms and threw her on the floor.”

“No, that’s your wild imagination,” the baronet said.

Lady Gilbey told the court she went to her neighbours for protection.

“He came back into the room with a rather menacing look on his face.

“I raised my walking stick to defend myself, he maintains that I hit him which I did not.

“He grabbed my arm and flung me on the floor and I landed on my face.

“He just stood over me. I was so scared, I ran into the neighbours’ house.”

Sir Gavin, pictured right, claimed he snapped his mother’s walking cane after she used it to assault him when he tried to take her car keys in a row over her glaucoma.

“I told her, Ma, you’ve got to stop hitting me,” he said.

John Blandford, defending, said to Lady Gilbey: “Your son never assaulted you and it was something your daughter Camilla suggested you should say to get Sir Gavin out of the way.”

Lady Gilbey said: “Are you saying I’m making all this up?”

“Yes, Lady Gilbey that is my client’s case,” Mr Blandford said.

She said: “Ha, it’s so funny it’s actually making me laugh.”

The trial continues.