Accused looked 'out of control' before murder of Sir Richard Sutton, court hears

04 December 2021 by
Accused looked 'out of control' before murder of Sir Richard Sutton, court hears

The man accused of murdering millionaire hotelier Sir Richard Sutton at his country home looked "very, very out of control" before the attack, 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 baronet, and attempted murder of his mother Anne Schreiber, on April 7, 2021.

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. He denies the charges of murder and attempted murder.

The attack happened at Sir Richard's Moorhill estate near Gillingham, Dorset, which he shared with the Schreiber family following the separation of the defendant's parents.

Sir Richard's partner, Anne, was paralysed in the attack and remains in hospital seven months later.

In a video interview shown to the court, recorded at Salisbury Hospital on June 29 2021, the 66-year-old said her son came into the kitchen holding a knife with a "terribly, terribly determined" expression.

She continued: "I believe that he stabbed me, I received some stab wounds from him and I remember looking at the knife in me and being surprised that it doesn't hurt.

"I am also remembering me saying 'What are you doing?' or something ridiculous like that, and being very surprised that it doesn't hurt more."

She continued: "He was definitely not himself, I would swear on oath that the man who came in my kitchen could have been a total stranger, he looked not out of normal but unusual, because I was shocked when I saw him.

"His eyes were very unusual, his face was screwed up in an extraordinary grimace, he looked very, very out of control."

Giving evidence by live video-link from hospital, Sir Richard's partner described her son as "very aggressive, especially towards me", adding that he had been "very strongly" affected by the death of his father and had never come to terms with it.

She said the defendant was not happy when she moved in with Sir Richard in 2003, and added: "He found it difficult, Thomas didn't like my friend and lover Richard Sutton to be part of his life."

When questioned by Joe Stone QC, representing the defendant, she said she remembered her son saying to her "You're a gold-digging bitch" but said she did not recall him saying: "I'm not fucking drunk."

The court had earlier heard that the defendant had sent messages to a friend, James Reid, saying he was planning "revenge" on his "toxic" mother and her partner Sir Richard.

In one message he wrote: "I have a plan which I'm working on. There are many holes in it but it's a plan nonetheless. Revenge is at its heart which I'm sure I'll regret but it's about time."

The trial has heard that in November 2020, Sir Richard hit Schreiber with his walking stick with enough force to break it. Following this the defendant sent Reid a draft letter he had written to his mother following the incident.

The letter said: "You allowed Richard to hit me with his cane and did absolutely nothing when I did absolutely nothing to him. You are clearly in his pocket."

He added: "The level of hatred you all had for me was plain to see, no-one deserves to be assaulted."

His friend, Reid, told the court that by December 2018, he felt the defendant had had some "form of mental breakdown".

Reid said that he received a phone call from the defendant at 7.41pm on the evening of the killing in which Schreiber was "hysterical".

He added: "He was screaming really, he then said 'OK done'. He had fucked it up, he had killed both Sir Richard and his mother and then there was quite a lot of hysteria."

The trial continues.

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