Hatred and resentment of family led to murder of millionaire hotelier, jury told

·3-min read
Sir Richard Sutton who owned a string of top hotels in London (PC Agency/PA) (PA Media)
Sir Richard Sutton who owned a string of top hotels in London (PC Agency/PA) (PA Media)

Millionaire hotelier Sir Richard Sutton was stabbed to death at his country home and his partner left permanently injured by her son who had sent a text message saying he wanted “them to suffer”, a court has heard.

Thomas Schreiber, of Gillingham Dorset is on trial at Winchester Crown Court accused of the murder of the 83-year-old and attempted murder of his mother Anne Schreiber, who the defendant described as “toxic and gold-digging”.

The 35-year-old has previously admitted the manslaughter of Sir Richard and pleaded guilty to driving a Range Rover dangerously on the A303, A4 and M3.

An undated handout photo of Sir Richard Sutton (PC Agency/PA) (PA Media)
An undated handout photo of Sir Richard Sutton (PC Agency/PA) (PA Media)

Adam Feest QC, prosecuting, told the jury on Monday that armed police were called to Sir Richard’s home Moorhill, in Higher Langham, near Gillingham, Dorset, at 9pm on April 7 where they found a trail of blood as they cleared room by room.

He said: “Police discovered that Moorhill had been the setting of a ferocious and sustained attack by the defendant upon his two victims.

“It was an attack that left Anne Schreiber barely conscious and dying on the floor of the kitchen.

“With slashes across her face and stab wounds to her front, it was the multiple stab wounds to her back – numbering into double figures – that were the main source of the significant blood loss that she was suffering from.

“It was only through the quick actions of the police carrying her out of the house to the waiting paramedics, and then the treatment she received from them and the doctors at the hospital – restarting her heart when she went into cardiac arrest and operating upon her to stem the blood loss – that she survived, albeit with severe and life-changing injuries.”

Court artist sketch of Thomas Schreiber during an appearance at Winchester Crown Court in April 2021 (Elizabeth Cook/PA) (PA Wire)
Court artist sketch of Thomas Schreiber during an appearance at Winchester Crown Court in April 2021 (Elizabeth Cook/PA) (PA Wire)

He said that Sir Richard had been attacked upstairs separately from Ms Schreiber, probably after a “lull” for him to pick up another weapon.

Mr Feest said: “In this pause, perhaps having heard Sir Richard moving about upstairs, the defendant has selected a second weapon, gone upstairs and killed his victim by stabbing him to the heart. This, the prosecution say, is a clear case of murder.”

He said that Sir Richard suffered five stab wounds, two of which were deep enough to puncture the lung and another to pierce the heart.

He added: “Death from these injuries would have been rapid.”

Mr Feest said that Schreiber had been “harbouring increasingly strong feelings of resentment and hatred” towards his mother and Sir Richard.

Undated handout photo of Sir Richard Sutton (PC Agency/PA) (PA Media)
Undated handout photo of Sir Richard Sutton (PC Agency/PA) (PA Media)

He added: “Built upon a foundation of many years of feeling isolated and unfairly treated by all his family, and fed by being forced to live at Moorhill due to the pandemic and the many injustices he felt had been perpetrated against him, these feelings had led the defendant to repeatedly consider revenge and violence against his ‘toxic’ and ‘gold digging’ mother and Sir Richard, a man he told a friend he couldn’t stand and didn’t have a good word to say about.”

Mr Feest said that the defendant sent a message to a friend in March 2021 saying: “I’m so sad to report that my mind is consumed with hatred of the very worst kind towards my family.

“They really hurt me, betrayed me and destroyed all trust. Simply put I contemplate murdering them all morning, day and night. It’s not what I want to think about but it’s the truth. I want them to suffer.”

Sir Richard was listed at number 435 in the Sunday Times Rich List last year, with an estimated family fortune of £301 million – a rise of £83 million on the previous year.

The guide said Sir Richard’s company owns London hotels the Sheraton Grand Park Lane and the Athenaeum, plus three smaller venues.

He had an extensive property and farming portfolio, including the 6,500-acre Benham Estate in west Berkshire and the Stainton Estate in Lincolnshire.

Schreiber denies murder and attempted murder and the trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

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