Son ‘consumed with hatred’ for ‘gold-digging’ mum before murdering millionaire partner



Thomas Schreiber became “consumed with hatred” for his “gold-digging” mother and her millionaire partner before his violent attack which left her paralysed and him dead.

Once an aspiring artist, the 35-year-old now faces life behind bars. He was today convicted of the murder of Sir Richard Sutton, 83, and the attempted murder of his mother, 66-year-old Anne Schreiber.

A jury at Winchester Crown Court dismissed Schreiber’s defence that he was suffering from a mental disorder which meant he was not in control on the night of the killing, to find him guilty.

It was on the eight-year anniversary of his father’s death, on April 7 2021, that Thomas was triggered by his mother’s accusation that he was “drunk like his father” and snapped.

He plunged a knife 12cm into Sir Richard’s heart, stabbing the elderly man to death, before using another knife to attack his mother.

Thomas Schreiber, who has been found guilty at Winchester Crown Court of the murder of millionaire hotelier Sir Richard Sutton and the attempted murder of his mother
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The trial at Winchester Crown Court heard of how Thomas was driven by anger at his mother for “abandoning” his alcoholic father, David Schreiber, to move in with the baronet at his country estate near Gillingham, Dorset.

The 35-year-old believed he was the only member of the family who remained loyal to his father, who died after spiralling into depression while living in a cottage owned by Sir Richard.

On top of the resentment around how he and Anne Schreiber had treated David following their divorce, Thomas told the court he felt ‘trapped’ by lockdown and ‘controlled’ by the £1,000 per month allowance the multi-millionaire gave him.

The dynamic became one of a “vicious triangle”, the court heard, as Sir Richard, who as one of Britain’s richest men was worth £300million, also became ‘consumed’ with trying to get rid of the jobless painter.

Thomas Schreiber with his mother, Anne Schreiber

Sir Richard’s daughter Caroline Sutton even said the hotelier paid Schreiber £100,000 for a house deposit in a desperate attempt to get him to leave his home.

Earlier this month the 35 year old’s friends told a jury he “desperately wanted to move out” of the mansion himself, as he felt “unloved” and “unwanted” living there.

Graham Booth, a 61-year-old market research consultant, was introduced to Schreiber by his sister Louisa in 2019.

He said the family dynamic at Moorhill seemed ‘extremely dysfunctional…Tom was not close to his mother and not at all keen on Richard’.

He added: “I think he felt unloved, unwanted and regarded with a degree of disdain and disregard by his mother and Richard.

Armed police officers arriving at Moorhill on the evening of the killing
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“Lockdown didn’t help at all, things got a lot worse in lockdown, I think Tom felt trapped…I think there was significant deterioration in the house.”

Graham said he became “very concerned” for Thomas’ mental health and sensed things were getting worse and worse for him.

The pair talked a lot about getting him out of the house, Graham said, though the national Coronavirus lockdowns over 2020 and 2021 had presented as an obstacle to this happening.

Graham said the money Thomas received from Sir Richard was a “curse as well as a gift” as he did not know how he was going to support himself without it.

Tommy Clark, who had known Schreiber since 2009, said he noticed his friend becoming “more depressed and frustrated” with his life situation.

Friends said Thomas “desperately” wanted to move out of the mansion
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The late millionaire hotelier Sir Richard Sutton
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“He seemed to become more sensitive and more negative about his future,” Tommy said.

The 45-year-old photographer, who had even visited him at Moorhill in Spring 2019, said Thomas had “desperately wanted to move out”.

“He wanted to find his place in the world and was developing an interest in art and started to paint regularly but he was just quite negative in his outlook.

“Five days before the incident I called him to talk about good news I had… he seemed extra happy as if I was relieving him from a dark place.

“He couldn’t wait to get out of home, see other people, have a social life, he just wrote to me that he hated lockdown, he hated the scenario he was in and wanted to move out.”

Sir Richard Sutton and and Anne Schreiber
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The “explosion of violence” that resulted in the death of Sir Richard and the irreversible injury of Anne Schreiber came after years of simmering resentment, the court heard.

Thomas occasionally broke out into fights with his sisters, Rose McCarthy and Louisa Schreiber, with the brawls escalating to the point that Sir Richard twice intervened.

The most serious of three earlier confrontations in the family was in November 2020 when Schreiber became outraged when his mother offered for Louisa to inherit a chandelier that had belonged to their grandmother.

The ensuing fight ended with Sir Richard hitting the defendant with his walking stick with such force that the cane shattered, which Schreiber felt “humiliated” by.

The knife used in the attack by Thomas Schreiber, which was found in a sink at the Moorhill estate
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Schreiber would later describe how he was embarrassed by this incident and, in March 2021, he wrote to a friend: “I’m so sad to report that my mind is consumed with hatred of the very worst kind towards my family.

“They really hurt me, betrayed me and destroyed all trust. Simply put, I contemplate murdering them all morning, day and night. It’s not what I want to think about but it’s the truth. I want them to suffer.”

He also wrote: “It’s hard to explain the deep emotion of family and with what’s happened is betrayal, gold digging deceit and extreme selfishness when it’s your own mother followed by siblings it’s very hard to accept that.”

The defendant accused his mother of being a “gold-digging b***h” by leaving his father for Sir Richard, and he felt similar outrage towards his sisters.

Schreiber had also felt unequally treated to his sisters after Sir Richard refused to buy him the Volvo car he wanted, instead offering him £10,000 to buy a van so that he could carry his painting canvases in it.

A screengrab of footage issued by The Metropolitan Police of Thomas Schreiber (centre) being pursued by armed police at speeds of up to 135mph as he drove into central London
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Giving evidence, the defendant accepted his “hypocrisy” at his attitude to his family’s finances after the trial heard he lived off the allowance granted by Sir Richard to each of the three siblings.

Thomas agreed that the handouts had acted to further confuse his feelings about the situation, as he felt he could not move out of the annexe at the Moorhill estate until he had proven himself a “success” worthy of the expectations of Sir Richard and his mother.

Schreiber described himself in court as a “passionate” painter but felt Sir Richard did not approve of “creativity” and expressed his frustration at not establishing a successful career for himself.

He said that since the age of 18 he had been employed in about 35 jobs, some lasting as short as a day.

After achieving 11 GCSEs at The Gryphon School in Sherborne, Dorset, Schreiber went on to study in Denmark – of which he is a dual-national from his mother, who is Danish – before returning to complete a diploma in music technology and sound engineering at the City & Islington College in the summer of 2010.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Thomas Schreiber (right) with his counsel, Joe Stone QC appearing at Winchester Crown Court (left)
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These recurring failures left Schreiber resentfully living in the “toxic” environment of Moorhill, which only worsened when the Covid-19 lockdown hit 13 months prior to the fatal day.

In January 2021, he wrote to a friend: “Everything is festering under the surface, eating away at me like a cancer, continuous lies, fakery and betrayal is the order of the day here at home. I despise the feeling of hatred and how it takes a hold of me.”

He also wrote four months earlier: “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.”

Schreiber would later tell a psychiatrist that being forced by pandemic restrictions to remain in the “pressure cooker” atmosphere of Moorhill was a key factor that caused him to “snap” and go “absolutely crazy” and attack his mother and Sir Richard.

A painting by aspiring artist Thomas Schreiber
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The defendant told him: “I am 150% certain if there hadn’t been a lockdown, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Following the brutal attack, at Sir Richard’s estate, where Thomas living rent-free in the annexe, he denied intending to hurt Sir Richard or his mother, saying that he had “lost control” of himself and he “could not physically stop” his actions.

Using a kitchen knife he had plunged a knife 12cm into Sir Richard’s heart, stabbing him to death, before using another knife to attack his mother. Mrs Schreiber was stabbed so many times during the “vicious assault” by her own son she was left paralysed from the neck down and breathing through a ventilator.

The Moorhill estate in the hamlet of Higher Langham near Gillingham, Dorset, was left covered in blood and looking like a “warzone” following the murderous rampage on April 7 this year, the eighth anniversary of Schreiber’s father’s death.

Meanwhile, Thomas fled the scene in Sir Richard’s Range Rover before police descended on the estate and was caught hours later by police following a 135mph police chase.

Sir Richard was listed at number 435 in the Sunday Times Rich List last year, with an estimated family fortune of £301 million – a rise of £83 million on the previous year.

The guide said Sir Richard’s company owns London hotels the Sheraton Grand Park Lane and the Athenaeum, plus three smaller venues.

He had an extensive property and farming portfolio, including the 6,500-acre Benham Estate in west Berkshire and the Stainton Estate in Lincolnshire.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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