Hotelier killed by partner’s son ‘after row over chandelier’
A TOP hotelier was stabbed to death by his partner’s son months after a violent row over a chandelier, a court heard yesterday.
Thomas Schreiber, 35, killed Sir Richard Sutton, 83, at the tycoon’s £2 million country estate.
He also severely injured his mother Anne, 66, during the bloody knife attack at the mansion in Higher Langham, near Gillingham on April 7.
Schreiber had harboured a long-standing grudge against his mother and Sir Richard following the breakdown of her relationship with his alcoholic father David, Winchester Crown Court heard.
On one occasion, months before the killing, Schreiber apparently became violent after his mother suggested his sister Louisa could inherit a chandelier.
The argument reportedly ended with Sir Richard breaking a walking stick across Schreiber’s back.
Adam Feest QC, prosecuting, said: ‘Anne suggested to Louisa that she might have one of their grandmother’s chandeliers, at which the defendant lost his temper saying that his sister got everything and became abusive towards her. Her reaction was to hit him in the face.
‘Sir Richard, who until then had been in the background, stepped in and hit the defendant once across the back with his walking stick. This caused the stick to break.’ The court heard Schreiber sent a voice message to a friend after the incident.
‘I gave Louisa a few home truths and she retaliated,’ he said. ‘Louisa got off scot-free and I’m the one to blame, the scapegoat.’
In another incident, Schreiber and his other sister Rose McCarthy got into a violent argument after a day at the races.
Mr Feest said: ‘The family had been to Wincanton races and on the way home an argument had developed around the defendant not offering to drive.
‘At [home] a tussle started between Rose and the defendant. 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.’ A series of
‘You are a liar and a gold digger’
voice messages Schreiber sent to friends and family in the aftermath of the killing were played to jurors.
He made a final dig at his sister Mrs McCarthy, telling her: ‘I’m sorry for what I’ve done. You’re a fantastic sister even though you’re a liar and a gold digger just like your mother. You will always be part of me. I’m so sorry for all my mistakes.’
Sir Richard was listed at number 435 in the Sunday Times Rich List last year, with an estimated family fortune of £301million.
He invited Mrs Schreiber and her children to live with him on his Moorhill estate in 2003, following the breakdown of her marriage. While Mrs Schreiber and her husband had separated, Mr Schreiber also lived on a cottage on the estate, until his death in 2013. Schreiber was said to harbour strong feelings of hatred towards Mrs Schreiber and Sir Richard where money was concerned.
He had previously accused Mrs McCarthy of being in thrall to Sir Richard and on the day of the killing sent his sister a text message claiming she had been ‘bought’.
Mr Feest told the court the only thing that Mrs Schreiber could recall from the day of the attack was the assault itself.
She described seeing her son’s ‘eyes appearing wild’. After she spotted the 15cm kitchen knife in Schreiber’s hand she had told him ‘not to be so silly’.
Schreiber has denied charges of murder and attempted murder but has previously admitted manslaughter.
The trial continues.