Thomas Schreiber found guilty of murdering Sir Richard Sutton

An aspiring artist has been found guilty of murdering one of the UK’s wealthiest landowners and attempting to murder his own mother while being locked down with them at their Dorset mansion because of Covid.

Thomas Schreiber, 35, attacked Sir Richard Sutton, 83, in his study and followed the multimillionaire upstairs to deliver the fatal blows as he tried to call for help.

Schreiber repeatedly stabbed his mother, Anne Schreiber, 66, in the kitchen, injuring her so badly that she remains in hospital eight months later and is unlikely to walk again.

A jury at Winchester crown court heard Schreiber’s mental health deteriorated in the weeks before the frenetic knife attack, which took place on the eighth anniversary of the death of his father, David Schreiber.

Wearing a blue suit and tie with a pink shirt, Schreiber closed his eyes as the verdict was announced. A cry of “yes” could be heard from the public gallery, where some members of Sutton’s family were sitting. Anne Schreiber watched by video link from hospital.

Adjourning the case for sentencing on Monday, 法官, Mr Justice Garnham, told Schreiber: “The only sentence I can pass is of life imprisonment but for the offence of murder I have to set the minimum number of years and I also have to sentence you for the attempted murder of your mother.”

Outside court, DI Simon Huxter, of Dorset police, 说: “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. This was an utterly tragic and senseless incident.”

He praised the police officers and medics who saved Anne Schreiber’s life. “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.”

Schreiber was deeply affected by his father’s death and felt hatred for Sutton and his “gold-digging” mother after she set up home with the landowner. He resented Sutton’s huge wealth, even though he took generous handouts from him, and felt he and his mother did not take his art seriously.

The idea of taking “revenge” on the couple built up when Schreiber, who had flitted from job to job throughout his adult life, was locked down with them during the Covid pandemic.

After the attack on 7 四月, Schreiber took Sutton’s Range Rover and led police on a high-speed chase before officers carried out a “hard stop” in west London and shot him with a stun gun as he stabbed himself.

Schreiber admitted killing Sutton but denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility and pleaded not guilty to attempting to murder his mother. Schreiber claimed a voice in his head shouted “attack, 攻击, attack” and he could not stop stabbing the couple.

The jury was told he had a history of major depressive disorder and alcohol misuse. It was also possible he may have had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which can lead to impulsive actions.

He had struggled with low self-esteem since he was a teenager and was deeply affected by the “complete hell” of his parents’ separation, believing his father, whom he doted on, had been badly treated. He told a psychiatrist that lockdown had been a “full frontal attack” on his mental health.

Following Schreiber’s conviction, Sutton’s family said in a statement: “How could any family recover from such a sudden and devastating loss. We can never bring back Sir Richard but his spirit will very much live on, alongside the very happy memories we have of our incredible father, brother and grandfather. His values of being warm, generous and compassionate to everyone he met will be carried forward by future generations, and will never be extinguished.”