A man has been convicted of murdering Sir Richard Sutton and attempted murder of his own mother at their home near Gillingham.
Thomas Schreiber, aged 35, was found guilty of the charge on Friday 17 December 2021 following a trial at Winchester Crown Court. He was also convicted of attempted murder and had previously admitted dangerous driving. He is due to be sentenced at the same court on Monday 20 December 2021.
The murder and attempted murder charges relate to an incident at Higher Langham near Gillingham on the evening of Wednesday 7 April 2021.
Dorset Police received a report at around 7.30pm raising concern for the occupants of the address – Sir Richard Sutton and his partner, Anne Schreiber.
Officers attended and found that Sir Richard, aged 83, and 65-year-old Ms Schreiber, had sustained stab wounds.
Sir Richard was pronounced dead at the scene at around 9.15pm. A post-mortem examination indicated that the cause of death was stab wounds to the chest.
Ms Schreiber was airlifted to hospital with multiple stab wounds. She has been left with severe and life-changing injuries as a result of the attack.
Thomas Schreiber, who had been living with Sir Richard and his mother Anne, had contacted a number of people he knew that evening and made comments that raised concerns for their welfare.
It was reported Thomas had taken Sir Richard’s Range Rover and the vehicle was seen heading on the A303 toward London at around 9.30pm. Following enquiries and assistance from Wiltshire Police, Hampshire Constabulary, Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police, the defendant was stopped in the vehicle in the Hammersmith area of London at around 10.30pm.
He was arrested on suspicion of murder and subsequently taken to hospital for treatment to self-inflicted injuries that were not life-threatening. Following his release from hospital, the defendant was taken into police custody and later charged with the relevant offences.
Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police’s Major Investigation Team, said: ‘This was an utterly tragic and senseless incident that has left Sir Richard and Anne’s family and friends devastated and our thoughts remain with them at this extremely difficult time. I would like to thank and pay tribute to them for all the support they have given to our investigation as well as the dignity that they have shown throughout their ordeal, which culminated in a detailed criminal trial.
‘It was noted in court that it was thanks to the efforts of the first officers to arrive at the scene and subsequent medical assistance from paramedics and hospital staff that this case only involved one fatality and not two. While Anne sadly suffered serious life-changing injuries, the outcome could have been even worse had it not been for their intervention.
‘I am grateful to all those officers and staff from Dorset Police and other forces who assisted in the immediate response on the night as well as our subsequent investigation. Thanks to the dynamic response and effective liaison with other police forces, we were able to quickly track the defendant and ensure he could be apprehended in order to protect the public.
‘This has rightly been a detailed and meticulous investigation and it has been my privilege to lead such a committed and professional team of Dorset Police officers, staff, crime scene investigators and detectives. I would like to thank and again, pay tribute to the Crown Prosecution Service and prosecution team, led by Adam Feest QC, for their support and in bringing Thomas Schreiber to justice for his appalling and unforgivable actions, which have devastated the loved ones of both Sir Richard and Anne.
‘This violent attack happened in the family home and this case is another sad reminder of the often tragic consequences of domestic abuse, which can take many forms.’
If you have been a victim of domestic abuse or you know someone who is being abused, please report it to Dorset Police, this can be done in confidence.
If abuse is in progress and someone is in immediate danger, call 999. Otherwise, please contact us at www.dorset.police.uk, via email [email protected] or by calling 101.
Crimes can also be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
For more information on help and advice around domestic abuse as well as details of agencies that can offer support visit www.dorset.police.uk/da.