The stepson of Sir Richard Sutton has been charged with murder after the multi-millionaire hotelier was found stabbed to death at his £2million mansion.
Dorset Police said Sir Richard Sutton, who owned a string of top hotels in London, died on Wednesday during an incident at a property near Gillingham.
A woman in her 60s, named in reports as Sir Richard’s wife, was seriously injured and airlifted to Southmead Hospital in Bristol where she remains in a critical condition. It is believed both were stabbed, the force said.
Thomas Schreiber, 34, was detained by armed officers on Wednesday night and has been charged with murder, attempted murder and dangerous driving and is due before magistrates in Poole on Monday.
An initial post-mortem examination indicated that Sir Richard’s cause of death was stab wounds to his chest.
A Range Rover car that Schreiber was alleged to have been driving was tracked across six counties and brought to a halt in West London by armed police where he was dragged from the vehicle.
Schreiber, from the Gillingham area, had suffered wounds and was taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries. He has since been released from hospital and is helping officers with his inquires, police have said.
Officers have yet to confirm whether he was involved in the killing other than to say the 83-year-old murder victim knew his attacker.
But Schreiber was earlier named locally as the man arrested. A family friend who has known him since childhood said: ‘It’s very upsetting but yes, it’s Thomas that they have arrested.’
Friends of Schreiber told how he had been affected by the end of his parents’ marriage. His father David Schreiber died from alcoholism in 2013 while living in sheltered accommodation.
Thomas is said to have visited his father’s grave hours before the alleged knife attack at his step-father’s home in the tiny hamlet of Higher Langham in North Dorset.
Friends described Thomas as ‘socially awkward’ and told MailOnline how he struggled to cope with his parents’ marriage split. He divided time between a rented flat in London and his mother’s home with Sir Richard in Dorset.
Friends said he moved in permanently with his mother and stepfather last year when the country was plunged into its first coronavirus lockdown. In recent weeks the relationship is said to have deteriorated.
Thomas Schreiber (pictured above), 34, was detained by armed officers on Wednesday night and has been charged with murder, attempted murder and dangerous driving and is due before magistrates in Poole on Monday
Thomas pictured with his mother, who had been wounded during the same incident and remains in a critical condition in hospital after suffering multiple stab wounds
Thomas, pictured right, is said to have visited his father’s grave hours before the alleged knife attack at his step-father’s home in the tiny hamlet of Higher Langham in North Dorset
Friends said Schreiber moved in permanently with his mother and stepfather (pictured) last year when the country was plunged into its first coronavirus lockdown
The millionaire landowner, who is divorced from first wife Italian Fiamma Sutton, has two children, son, David, 61, and daughter, Caroline, 55, (pictured) as well as five grandchildren
A woman in her 60s, thought to be Sir Richard’s partner (pictured), was airlifted to Southmead Hospital in Bristol where she remains in a critical condition
In a statement released on Sunday, Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT), said: ‘Our thoughts remain with the victims’ family and all of those affected by this terrible incident.
‘Following a detailed investigation, we have consulted with the Crown Prosecution Service. As a result, Dorset Police have been authorised to formally charge Thomas Schreiber with the murder of Sir Richard, attempted murder of the injured woman and dangerous driving.
‘It is important to stress that it would be entirely inappropriate for Dorset Police to comment further ahead of the trial. It is vital that the criminal justice system is allowed to follow its course.
‘I would like to remind the public that this matter is now the subject of active court proceedings and the individual charged in connection with this investigation has a right to a fair trial.
‘It is important that there should be no commentary or sharing of information online or on social media that could potentially prejudice these proceedings.’
Three hours after the £301million baronet was killed inside his home on Wednesday night, police performed a ‘hard stop’ on the man in a Range Rover 100 miles away in Chiswick after tracking him across five counties.
The driver, who is said to have been unemployed and living on Sir Richard’s county estate, is believed to have visited his father’s resting place at some point in the day, according to
MailOnline uncovered the first images of the suspect being cared for by paramedics and stretchered into an ambulance after allegedly stabbing himself several times.
Surrounded by around a dozen police officers with automatic rifles, he was tended to on the pavement by medics after one officer shouted ‘he’s stabbed himself’.
Paramedics worked to stem the flow of blood from the suspect and used a defibrillator to restore his heart beat before taking him to hospital, where his condition is not thought to be life-threatening.
Footage shows him being placed on a stretcher with medics covering his body in foil to maintain his body temperature and putting him into one of three ambulances which arrived on the scene.
Pictures from the scene show the 4×4 had been boxed in by police in Chiswick, London, before the driver – who was believed to be known to Sir Richard – was carried away in a stretcher after he was found to have received ‘a number of serious self-inflicted injuries’
Police attended an accident involving a Range Rover (pictured) in Chiswick on Wednesday evening. The vehicle is seen with severe damage
Found: Knife, shoes, jeans and a passport on the ground found at the scene of the crash
The scene in Chiswick on Wednesday night, where at least four police vehicles were involved in boxing in the driver
The Range Rover had been tailed by two marked police 4×4 cars and an unmarked BMW X5 as it travelled along the Chiswick High Road in west London at about 10.45pm on Wednesday night
A family member who lives close by is understood to have raised the alarm when they failed to get through to the house about three miles from Gillingham in Dorset.
The emergency workers, who were masked, then drove the suspect to hospital while accompanied by police. The eye witness who shot the video said: ‘I heard what I thought was an explosion and then saw that the cars had smashed into each other.
Sir Richard Sutton: Baronet and hotelier with 7,000 acres of land and a £301million fortune
Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, 83, is estimated to be worth £301million and owns around 7,000 acres of land across the UK.
He is a baronet, a hereditary honour awarded by the monarch. It is the lowest-ranking hereditary title, but baronets are able to use the prefix ‘sir.
The Sutton Baronetcy of Norwood Park in the County of Nottingham, dates back to October 1772.
It was created by King George III for politician Richard Sutton. He was the second surviving son of the distinguished diplomat Sir Robert Sutton.
The latter was the grandson of Henry Sutton, brother of Robert Sutton, 1st Baron Lexinton. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the family seat was at Benham Place. However, the house was sold in 1982.
Sir Richard became the ninth baronet of Norwood Park, Nottingham, in 1981, after inheriting the title from his father.
Sir Richard was listed at number 435 in The Sunday Times Rich List in 2020 with an estimated family fortune of £301 million – a rise of £83 million on the previous year.
He owned the Sheraton Grand on London’s prestigious Park Lane and the Athenaeum in Piccadilly, in addition to other hotels in Bath, Cheltenham and Windsor, and land in Dorset, Berkshire, London, Lincolnshire and Aberdeenshire, and several farming and property businesses.
His landholdings include the Benham Estate in West Berkshire and the Stainton Estate in Lincolnshire.
‘They were trying to save the guy’s life for around 15 minutes. But the whole thing was very calm. There must have been around 25 police officers and 12 police cars but I didn’t know what it was about until the next morning when I read about it.’
Another witness, Chris Twiselton, said: ‘The police were saying that a man had stabbed himself. He was on the ground surrounded by officers with automatic weapons.
‘I thought it was a terrorist incident when I saw the number of police with guns. They were really calm as clearly they knew they had got their man.
‘There was blood on the ground and one of the lamp posts outside my flat has a dent in it where one of the cars had hit it.’
Mr Twiselton a 38-year-old care worker who specialises in people with autism and lives directly opposite the arrest scene, said he saw paramedics aiding the injured man.
He added: ‘The paramedics got to him straight away To try to help him and they put him into one of the three ambulances really quickly. I was really shaken by it all.’
A knife, passport, shoes and jeans were found at the scene.
Sir Richard – described as an ‘old English gentry land owner’ – recently ranked at number 435 on the Sunday Times Rich List with a fortune of £301million and owned the five-star Sheraton Grand on London’s prestigious Park Lane and the Athenaeum in Piccadilly.
He owned other hotels in Bath, Cheltenham and Windsor, 7,000 acres of land in Dorset, Berkshire, London, Lincolnshire and Aberdeenshire, and had farming and property businesses.
Sir Richard, who became the ninth baronet of Norwood Park, Nottingham, in 1981, is divorced from first wife Italian Fiamma Sutton, has two children, son, David, 61, and daughter, Caroline, 55, as well as five grandchildren. Ms Schreiber has three grown up children from a previous marriage, two daughters, Louisa, 39, Rose, 35 and a son Thomas, 34.
Ms Schreiber owns and runs The London Road clinic in Sherborne, Dorset, an exclusive clinic with services such as osteopathy, physiotherapy and counselling. In 2012, she offered her advice for easing the pain of swollen limbs in an interview with the Daily Mail.
The 34-year-old man who was arrested on Wednesday night was often seen in the tiny hamlet of Higher Langham and was described by one neighbour as a ‘lovely man.’
‘We would see him about quite often. He was a lovely man and very chatty. I don’t think he had a job as he was around here so often’ the neighbour told MailOnline.
Floral tributes to Sir Richard were laid at the entrance to his country estate today. Neighbour Hilary Gallup placed a box plant with the message ‘A lovely man – our thoughts are with you’
She said: ‘It is so sad. I had met him on a few occasions, such as a Jubilee party at the house. They were a private couple but a big part of the community.’
Two other bouquets were placed at the entrance.
A police statement said of Wednesday’s arrest: ‘At approximately 22.30pm on Wednesday, 7 April, police stopped a vehicle in Chiswick High Road. When they approached the vehicle, officers discovered that the lone male occupant had sustained a number of serious self-inflicted injuries.
Paramedics worked to stem the flow of blood from the suspect and used a defibrillator to restore his heart beat before taking him to hospital, where his condition is not thought to be life-threatening
MailOnline uncovered the first images of the suspect being cared for by paramedics and stretchered into an ambulance after apparently stabbing himself several times
Footage shows him being placed on a stretcher with medics covering his body in foil to maintain his body temperature and putting him into one of three ambulances which arrived on the scene
The emergency workers, who were masked, drove the suspect to hospital from the scene in Chiswick, West London, while accompanied by police
‘First aid was commenced immediately and the London Ambulance Service were called. The male was taken to a west London hospital. His injuries have been assessed as non-life threatening.’
While police continue to question the suspect, more villagers came forward to speak of their shock and heartache at Sir Richard’s death.
John Murray, who is aged in his 70s, said: ‘We don’t even register as being big enough to be a village. This really is the last place you’d expect something like this to happen.
‘I only ever chatted to him a couple of times. Whenever you did see him he was friendly and would say hello as he passed. It’s very sad and you have to think about what that family must be going through.’
Fellow resident, Sandra White, added: ‘They were very friendly if you saw them out and about but they didn’t mingle a huge amount, which is fine.
‘I know they attended a party for the jubilee one year when the bunting was out around the village. It’s really sad and I cannot believe it. To be killed in that way is tragic for everyone who knew them well.’
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: ‘Speaking to people out and about, people don’t seem to have known them very well but nobody has anything bad to say about them.
On Wednesday night police arrested a 34-year-old man, known to Sir Richard, on suspicion of murder. Pictured: A map showing how police tracked the suspect from Dorset to London
Police guard Sir Richard’s £2million property. The landowner, 83, is estimated to be worth £301million
An aerial view of Sir Richard’s estate about three miles away from Gillingham in Dorset
A wider view of the estate. Sir Richard’s wealth was put at £301 million in May 2020, placing him 435th on The Sunday Times Rich List
‘He was obviously very successful and did well for himself in business. I’m sure people who knew him well will he absolutely heartbroken.’
The Range Rover was tailed by two marked police 4×4 cars and an unmarked BMW X5 as it travelled along the Chiswick High Road in west London at about 10.45pm on Wednesday night.
One of the Metropolitan Police 4x4s appeared to have clipped the back of the Range Rover as the X5 pulled in front of it to perform a hard stop.
The Metropolitan Police operation involved armed police, police dog handlers and the force helicopter.
An eyewitness told MailOnline on Wednesday evening: ‘I counted about 17 police cars and two ambulances. The whole street was bathed in flashing blue lights.
‘There had been two or three large bangs, which drew me to the window. I saw what looked to be a Range Rover that had come to a stop between two police 4x4s and a BMW X5.
‘The police swarmed around the Range Rover and the driver was brought out and laid out on the road. He was clearly in some distress, the police crowded around him and began to assess his injuries.
‘They cut his clothes off, his shirt and trousers, and then wrapped him in a silver foil wrap as they administered first aid.
‘I saw an officer go to the back of the X5 and bring out what looked like a defibrillator. The ambulances showed up a short while later.
‘The paramedics took over the medical treatment. The driver of the Range Rover appeared to be conscious as the officers were talking to him and I could see him move slightly.
‘After maybe an hour to 90-minutes he was placed on a stretcher with an oxygen mask over his mouth and placed in the back of one of the ambulances.’
Hotelier Sir Richard Lexington Sutton (pictured), 83, was found stabbed to death inside his £2million home in north Dorset, on Wednesday night
Sir Richard also owned the luxury Athenaeum Hotel and Spa in London’s Piccadilly
Sir Richard is the owner of the luxurious five-star Sheraton Grand (pictured) in London’s prestigious Park Lane
The witness continued: ‘It was a big, big operation. There were armed police everywhere and a dog unit. At least two helicopters hovered overhead.
‘The forensics arrived in the early hours and were searching the scene of the stop. They were there until about 4am this morning.’
The crash was captured on camera by resident Maureen Kane, 50, whose flat overlooks the street.
Ms Kane, who works in video marketing, told how up to 40 police officer attended the scene.
She said: ‘I just heard a loud screech of cars swerving and then crash sounds. Then I looked out of my window and saw lots of armed police jumping on top of a car and aiming guns at a man and all around his car.
‘He was a white male in his 30s and seemed to be injured.’
The ambulance arrived within 30 minutes, Ms Kane said, adding: ‘Police were still in the road and had all the roads blocked for hours after this until I went to bed at 2am.
‘I’ve not heard anything about it from my neighbours or anything since.’
Sir Richard was found with fatal stab wounds following the attack at his large detached home near Gillingham, Dorset. He bought the Moorhill country estate, set in the tiny hamlet of Higher Langham, in 2014 for £1.4million.
Sir Richard, who inherited his estate with his baronetcy in 1981, has been described as an ‘old English gentry landowner’.
Alongside his two Park Lane hotels he owned a swathe of property and farms across the country.
A spokesman for the Sir Richard Sutton Limited (SRSL) said on Wednesday: ‘We are deeply saddened and devastated by the sudden death of Sir Richard Sutton, announced this morning.
‘Sir Richard was a caring, generous and warm family man, who genuinely regarded those who worked for him as part of his extended family. Sir Richard was passionately devoted to both his company and its people, setting the highest and standards for quality in the hotels, farming and property interests within the group.
‘His loss will be felt by everyone within the company, those who worked with him, and his family who have lost an incredible individual. Our thoughts are with the Sutton family at this tragic time.’
The property is a large detached home in a tiny hamlet, near Gillingham, Dorset. Pictured: Flowers left at the scene as police continue their investigation
Sir Richard inherited his title and estate from his father in 1981 and was worth an estimated £301m in May 2020, placing him 435th on the Sunday Times’ Rich List. Pictured: Police at the scene
Sir Richard’s company has donated more than £240,000 to the Conservative Party in the past 20 years.
Yesterday three police vans were seen at the entrance to a long drive which leads to the remote property, while forensics officers were observed inside.
A neighbour said: ‘The Suttons live there. They have two grown up children and grandchildren. It is just awful. You would never imagine something like this could happen. They are lovely people.’
A local farmer said: ‘I saw a search helicopter with a spotlight overhead on Wednesday night and then an air ambulance landed. The people who live there is an old English gentry landowner and his partner.’
Another neighbour said they were aware of police helicopters flying over the house for a number of hours.
Their family has been informed and the Dorset coroner has been notified of the death.
Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, 9th Baronet, was head of the Sutton family, which owns land in Dorset, Berkshire, London and Lincolnshire and Aberdeenshire.
He married wife Fiamma in 1959, but the pair are said to have divorced. It is believe she now lives at a farm in a village near Hungerford, Berks.
Local MP Simon Hoare, who knew Sir Richard Sutton well, paid tribute to the landowner who he said was a ‘country gentleman’.
Yesterday three police vans were seen at the entrance to a long drive which leads to the remote property, while forensics officers were observed inside. The house is pictured
A police van and flowers near a sign for a road closure near the properly in the countryside outside Gillingham
The Conservative MP for North Dorset described the incident as ‘deeply awful’ and said he received a ‘full briefing’ on it from police.
Mr Hoare MP, 51, said: ‘I knew him, strangely enough I knew him before I was an MP as my company did a lot of work for his estate many years ago.
‘He was a charming man, he had a very good sense of humour, he was politically astute and genial.
‘If you wanted to conjure up a picture of a country gentleman then that was him.
‘It is a huge loss for his family in what is clearly deeply awful circumstances.’
Mr Hoare MP also said: ‘This is not the sort of thing you expect to see happening in North Dorset nor the sort of thing we are used to seeing here.
‘Based on what I have been told by the police there is cause for shock and sadness but no cause or reason for alarm.’
The politician added that he is hoping medics are able to help save the injured woman in her 60s as ‘one murder is shocking but a double murder would be chilling’.
Mr Hoare MP said he would not disclose details about the circumstances of the incident nor the identity of the 34 year old man who has been arrested.
Richard Gallop, a retired air traffic controller in his 70s, who is involved in the local neighbourhood watch, said: ‘Anne is quite chatty while Richard kept himself to himself.’
Police officers were seen searching a wooded area of the estate, near to Gillingham in Dorset
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