Police arrested a man on suspicion of murder
Hotelier Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, 83, was found by police stabbed to death at his £2million home in north Dorset. His wife Anne Schrieber, 65, suffered knife injuries and was airlifted to hospital. A man was arrested on suspicion of murder following a police chase across four counties into London following the incident on Wednesday night.
The 34-year-old man – who police said was known to the couple – was arrested after officers tracked a Range Rover.
The vehicle raced through Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey before it was stopped in Hammersmith, west London.
The man, from the Gillingham area, was arrested on suspicion of murder.
He was taken to hospital for treatment to injuries that are not believed to be life threatening.
The couple were found at the tycoon’s country mansion, Moorhill, in the tiny hamlet of Higher Langham, near Gillingham, after a member of the public raised the alarm.
Ms Schrieber, a physiotherapist, was airlifted to the Southmead Hospital in Bristol where her condition was last night described as “critical”.
The hotel portfolio includes the Sheraton Grand in central London
She runs her own practice in the nearby village of Milborne Port in south Somerset.
The millionaire landowner’s first wife was Italian Fiamma Sutton. He has two children, David, 61, and Caroline, 55, and five grandchildren.
Sir Richard, the 9th Baronet, was head of the Sutton family, which owns land in Dorset, Berkshire, London, Lincolnshire and Aberdeenshire.
He inherited his title and the Moorhill estate from his father in 1981 and was worth an estimated £301million in May 2020.
That placed him 435th on the Sunday Times Rich List.
The hotel portfolio includes the five-star Sheraton Grand on London’s Park Lane and the luxury Athenaeum in Piccadilly.
In total he and his family own close to 7,000 acres of land across the UK – more than double that owned by the MoD.
Yesterday local MP Simon Hoare paid tribute to the landowner, saying he was a “country gentleman”.
The Conservative MP for North Dorset described the incident as “deeply awful”.
He said: “I knew him before I was an MP as my company did a lot of work for his estate many years ago.
“He was a charming man.
“He had a very good sense of humour, he was politically astute and genial.
“If you wanted to conjure up a picture of a country gentleman then that was him.
“It is a huge loss for his family in what is clearly deeply awful circumstances.”
A spokesman for Sir Richard Sutton Limited said: “We are deeply saddened and devastated by the sudden death of Sir Richard.
“He was a caring, generous and warm family man, who genuinely regarded those who worked for him as part of his extended family.
“Sir Richard was passionately devoted to both his company and its people, setting the highest standards for quality in the hotels, farming and property interests within the group.
“His loss will be felt by everyone within the company, those who worked with him, and his family who have lost an incredible individual.
“Our thoughts are with the Sutton family at this tragic time.”
Yesterday three police vans were seen at the entrance to a long drive which leads to the Moorhill country estate, while forensics officers were observed inside.
The vehicle was stopped in Hammersmith, west London (Stock photo)
A neighbour said: “It is just awful. You would never imagine something like this could happen.
“They are lovely people.”
Det Insp Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the man who died and the injured woman at this extremely difficult time and they are being supported by specially-trained officers.
“We will be carrying out a full investigation to establish exactly what happened at the address in Higher Langham.
“ I would appeal to anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area on the evening of April 7 to please contact us.
“A cordon remains in place at the address and there will continue to be a heavy police presence in the vicinity as we carry out inquiries. Officers can be approached by members of the public with any information or concerns.”