Sir Richard Sutton killed by partner’s son in ‘explosion of violence’, court told

·3-min read
<span>Photograph: PC Agency/PA</span>
Photograph: PC Agency/PA

Thomas Schreiber seethed with resentment over how he felt couple treated him, jury hears


A son launched a knife attack on his mother and her partner, the millionaire businessman Sir Richard Sutton, on the anniversary of his father’s death, seething with resentment over how he felt the couple treated him, a murder trial has heard.

Thomas Schreiber, 35, who killed Sutton, 83, a hotelier and landowner, and inflicted life-changing injuries on Anne Schreiber, 66, believed the pair favoured his two sisters, which left him feeling like an “outcast”, the jury was told

There were two violent incidents before the knife attack including one when Schreiber hit Sutton in the face and the defendant frequently spoke of his hatred for them and his desire for revenge, Winchester crown court heard.

Tensions also rose before the “explosion of violence” in April because Schreiber, his mother and her partner were locked down together at the height of the Covid pandemic, it is alleged.

Adam Feest QC, prosecuting, told jurors there was no dispute that Schreiber killed Sutton and seriously injured his mother but he said the defendant’s state of mind would be a key element for the panel to consider. Schreiber denies murder and attempted murder.

Explaining the family backgrounds, Feest said Sutton had been estranged from his wife, Lady Fiamma Sutton, for almost 20 years while Anne Schreiber and her husband, David Schreiber, separated in about 2002-03. This, the prosecutor said, was caused at least in part by David Schreiber’s alcoholism, which put a strain on their marriage emotionally and financially.

In the summer of 2003 Anne Schreiber and her three children were invited by Sutton to move to his Dorset mansion, Moorhill. David Schreiber moved into a cottage on the estate where he lived until his death in 2013.

Feest said the defendant took his father’s side and harboured “a significant and sustained feeling of resentment” towards his mother and Sutton because of the way he perceived they had dealt with the separation.

The prosecutor said Schreiber believed his sisters were given more financial support than him and his difficulties were exacerbated by problems he was having with relationships and holding down jobs.

In Christmas 2018 after a trip to Wincanton races, the family argued over the defendant not offering to drive, the court was told. His sisters felt he was being selfish and there was a “tussle” at Moorhill. Sutton intervened, and may have swung a fist at Schreiber, who then hit the older man in the face, the court heard.

In March 2019 the defendant was persuaded by his mother to attend a four-day residential course to try to deal with some of his issues about the family. The therapist Francis Lickerish said he presented as “a very angry young man who struggled with the grief of the loss of his father and his father’s alcoholism”. Lickerish felt he was “very bitter and hurt, raging in anger underneath, which he managed to control most of the time”.

Feest said lockdown increased tension on both sides and Sutton was frustrated that Thomas Schreiber was not looking for work, was living rent-free and was using cars without asking.

In late 2020 Sutton offered to give Schreiber £10,000 for a car but the defendant believed this was not enough money and thought his sisters were being given larger sums, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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