Man admits killing hotelier Richard Sutton in Dorset but denies murder

A man has admitted killing the millionaire businessman Richard Sutton, who was found with stab wounds at his Dorset mansion, but has denied murder.

Thomas Schreiber, 34, also entered a not guilty plea to the attempted murder of his mother, Anne Schreiber, who was Sutton’s partner.

Sutton, 83, a hotelier and landowner, and Ms Schreiber were found by police in April at his home near Gillingham. Ms Schreiber had also also suffered stab wounds.

During an appearance at Winchester crown court on Monday, Schreiber, who is from the Gillingham area, pleaded guilty to Sutton’s manslaughter. But he denied murdering Sutton and the attempted murder of Ms Schreiber, 65.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and admitted this charge, which relates to driving a Range Rover on the A303, A4 and M3 in the south of England on the night of the killing.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the case would proceed to trial on 29 November. The judge, Mr Justice Garnham, remanded Schreiber in custody.

Police were called to Sutton’s home at about 7.30pm on 7 April. He had suffered stab wounds to the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene at 9.15pm. Ms Schreiber was airlifted to Southmead hospital in Bristol.

Her son was arrested by police about three hours after a 999 call in Hammersmith, west London.

Sutton owned a portfolio of leading hotels in London including the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane and the Athenaeum.

At the time of the incident, a spokesperson for Sir Richard Sutton Ltd said Anne Schreiber was “a hugely important part of Sir Richard’s life” and had cared for him for a “long period”. She is an accomplished physiotherapist who owns a clinic in Sherborne, Dorset.

The spokesperson said: “Though separated, Sir Richard also remained on good terms with his wife, Lady Fiamma, and very close to their children, who are mourning the loss of a devoted father. Employees across the group have been united in their shock at what has happened and will need time to come to terms with the loss of such an influential figure.” Sutton had two children from his marriage to his ex-wife.

Sutton was listed at number 435 in the Sunday Times Rich List last year, with an estimated family fortune of £301m – an increase of £83m on the previous year. As well as his hotels, he also 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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