The son of millionaire hotelier Sir Richard Sutton’s partner stabbed him to death in an ‘explosion of violence’ on the 8th anniversary of his real father’s death after tensions started mounting during lockdown, a court heard today.
Thomas Schreiber, of Gillingham, Dorset, is on trial at Winchester Crown Court accused of murdering 83-year-old Sir Richard and attempted murder of his own mother Anne Schreiber, who the defendant described as ‘toxic and gold-digging’.
Schreiber, 35, has previously admitted the manslaughter of Sir Richard and pleaded guilty to driving a Range Rover dangerously on the A303, A4 and M3.
Hotel tycoon Sir Richard was stabbed to death in a vicious attack at his sprawling £2million country mansion – complete with swimming pool and pool table room – in the hamlet of Higher Langham, near Gillingham, Dorset, on April 7, the court heard.
Mrs Schreiber, 65, also suffered multiple stab wounds to her back but lived, despite suffering life-changing injuries.
Prosecutor Adam Feest QC said Schreiber was living in the annex above the garage of the impressive estate in April 2021.
He said: ‘In the summer of 2003, Anne and her children were invited by Sir Richard to move to Moorhill, which they did. David Schreiber moved into a cottage on the estate where he lived until his death in 2013.
‘As is often the case when parents separate, the Schreiber children had and still have differing perspectives and loyalties in relation to this. The defendant very much took his father’s side.
Thomas Schreiber is accused of seriously injuring his mother Anne Schreiber, 65, (left) and killing her partner Sir Richard Sutton (right), who suffered fatal stab wounds in April this year
Thomas, 35, pictured with his mother Anne, has denied murder and attempted murder
Pictured: David Schreiber’s grave. Thomas Schreiber, of Gillingham, Dorset, is on trial at Winchester Crown Court accused of murdering 83-year-old Sir Richard
‘As will be seen, he harboured a significant and sustained feeling of resentment towards both his mother and Sir Richard because of this.
‘In the years leading up to the incident on the 7th April 2021, he clearly felt that he was treated differently by his mother and Sir Richard as compared to his two sisters, particularly with regards to financial arrangements.
‘The persistence of these emotions, the hatred which they engendered towards Sir Richard and Anne in the mind of the Defendant and the spotlight which was cast on them by the defendant’s enforced presence at Moorhill during lockdown in early 2021, were all significant factors in the explosion of violence by the Defendant which took place on the 8th anniversary of his father’s death.’
Today at Winchester Crown Court jurors were shown sweeping drone footage of Sir Richard’s ‘Moorhill’ mansion.
The court heard tension between Schreiber and Sir Richard grew during lockdown with the millionaire expressing frustration that he was living with them ‘rent free’ and Schreiber appeared ungrateful that he had only been given £10,000 to buy a car.
On two occasions Schreiber’s anger boiled over into episodes of violence which added to his feelings of ‘resentment and isolation’, the court heard.
The jury was told Sir Richard, (above) who was one of Britain’s richest men, was stabbed multiple times during an attack by his step son Thomas Schreiber at their home in Gillingham
Police guard Sir Richard’s £2million property in the Dorset hamlet of Higher Langham in April
Mr Feest added: ‘The first of the violent incidents took place around Christmas of 2019.
‘The family had been to Wincanton races and on the way home an argument had developed around the Defendant not offering to drive and his sisters feeling that he was, as usual in their view, acting selfishly.
‘At Moorhill a tussle started between [his sister] Rose and the Defendant, with [other sister] Louisa and her husband Joe intervening. The argument continued with Louisa and the Defendant being loud and aggressive towards each other.
‘Sir Richard intervened, walking up to the Defendant and swinging at him with his fist but missing. The Defendant’s reaction was to swing back at Sir Richard hitting him to the face.’
Mr Feest said Schreiber’s girlfriend Sathia Pagliuca, who he started going out with in October 2020, felt it was clear he ‘felt alone against his family and had a deep rooted hatred against them’.
The court heard Schreiber would call Sir Richard ‘c***’ and ‘stupid old person’, and didn’t appear to pay him any respect.
Ms Pagliuca felt he seemed like a ‘wounded young man with the problem about his father and that the family had dropped his father in order to go with a person like Sir Richard’.
Mr Feest said Schreiber’s enforced presence at Moorhill during the pandemic was a source of tension on both sides and Sir Richard expressed his frustration about this to a number of people, with particular reference to Schreiber ‘not looking for work, living rent free and using cars without asking’.
Despite this, Sir Richard gave Schreiber £10,000 to buy a new vehicle.
Thomas Schreiber, 35, has denied the murder of Sir Richard and the attempted murder of his mother Anne Schreiber and is currently on trial at Winchester Crown Court (pictured)
Mr Feest said Sir Richard’s take on this was ‘the Defendant appeared ungrateful as he wanted a more expensive vehicle’ and felt ‘unfairly discriminated’ against because his sisters were given larger sums of money to buy cars.
Schreiber has admitted manslaughter over the multi-millionaire’s death but denies murder.
Regarding his mother, he pleads not guilty to attempted murder.
He has also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on the night of the killing, after he fled in a Range Rover and was captured by police after a high speed chase and a ‘hard stop’ in London.
Jurors have been told it was only the actions of police and medics that saved Mrs Schreiber’s life by restarting her heart. She was airlifted to Southmead Hospital in Bristol.
Sir Richard’s body was found on the landing, after he was initially attacked downstairs and limped upstairs where Schreiber is said to have stabbed him a further five times in the chest with a kitchen knife.
The prosecution say Schreiber repeatedly knifed his ‘toxic and gold digging’ mother and Sir Richard after fantasising for months about their murders.
In a chilling text about a month before the killings, the 35 year old told a friend ‘I contemplate murdering them all morning day and night’.
Sir Richard had two children by his first wife Fiamma, and five grandchildren.
Mrs Schreiber’s, a Danish-born physiotherapist who has a practice in Milborne Port, Dorset, has three grown-up children including son Thomas.
The trial continues.