One of UK’s richest men, 83, is stabbed to death at his £2m Dorset country mansion

One of Britain’s richest men has been found stabbed to death in his country mansion, it was revealed today.

Hotelier Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, 83, was attacked inside his £2million home in north Dorset, last night.

A woman, believed to be his wife, also suffered knife injuries in the attack at the home, named Moorhill.

The property is a large detached home in the tiny hamlet of Higher Langham, near Gillingham, Dorset.

Police rushed to the scene after receiving a call from a member of the public concerned for the welfare of the occupants of the house.

When they got there they found Baronet, Sir Richard, fatally injured from knife wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 9.15pm.

The woman, who is aged in her 60s, was airlifted to the Southmead Hospital in Bristol. Her condition was today described as ‘critical’.

Police investigations have since identified a Range Rover linked to the attacks that was spotted travelling eastbound on the A303.

It was tracked by police as it drove through the counties of Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey before it was stopped in Hammersmith, west London.

A 34-year-old man from the Gillingham area was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Hotelier Sir Richard Lexington Sutton (pictured), 83, was attacked inside his £2million home in north Dorset, last night

A woman, believed to be his wife, also suffered knife injuries in the attack at the home, named Moorhill. Pictured: Police at the scene

A woman, believed to be his wife, also suffered knife injuries in the attack at the home, named Moorhill. Pictured: Police at the scene

A woman, believed to be his wife, also suffered knife injuries in the attack at Moorhill - a large detached property in the tiny hamlet of Higher Langham, near Gillingham, Dorset (pictured: Flowers left at the scene today, as police continue their investigation)

A woman, believed to be his wife, also suffered knife injuries in the attack at Moorhill – a large detached property in the tiny hamlet of Higher Langham, near Gillingham, Dorset (pictured: Flowers left at the scene today, as police continue their investigation)

He was subsequently taken to hospital for treatment to injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.

Police have confirmed the suspect is known to the victim.

Sir Richard was described as an ‘old English gentry landowner’ who was worth an estimated £301m and was at number 435 on the Sunday Times Rich List.

He owned a huge portfolio of hotels, property and farms across the country.

A spokesman for the Sir Richard Sutton Limited (SRSL) said today: ‘We are deeply saddened and devastated by the sudden death of Sir Richard Sutton, announced this morning.

‘Sir Richard 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 and 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.’

Sir Richard bought the Moorhill country estate in 2014 for £1.4m.

Today three police vans were seen at the entrance to a long drive which leads to the remote property, while forensics officers were observed inside

Today three police vans were seen at the entrance to a long drive which leads to the remote property, while forensics officers were observed inside

Today three police vans were seen at the entrance to a long drive which leads to the remote property, while forensics officers were observed inside.

A neighbour said: ‘The Suttons live there. They have two grown up children and grandchildren.

‘It is just awful. You would never imagine something like this could happen.

‘They are lovely people.’

A local farmer said: ‘I saw a search helicopter with a spotlight overhead last night and then an air ambulance landed.

‘The people who live there is an old English gentry landowner and his wife.’

Another neighbour said they were aware of police helicopters flying over the house for a number of hours.

Their family has been informed and the Dorset coroner has been notified of the death.

Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: ‘Our thoughts are with the family of the man who sadly died and the injured woman at this extremely difficult time and they are being supported by specially-trained officers.

Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, 9th Baronet, was head of the Sutton family, which owns land in Dorset, Berkshire, London and Lincolnshire and Aberdeenshire

Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, 9th Baronet, was head of the Sutton family, which owns land in Dorset, Berkshire, London and Lincolnshire and Aberdeenshire

‘We will be carrying out a full investigation to establish exactly what happened at the address in Higher Langham and 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 enquiries.

‘Officers can be approached by members of the public with any information or concerns.’

Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, 9th Baronet, was head of the Sutton family, which owns land in Dorset, Berkshire, London and Lincolnshire and Aberdeenshire.

He inherited his title and estate from his father in 1981 and was worth an estimated £301m in May 2020, placing him 435th on the Sunday Times’ Rich List.

In total he and his family own close to 7,000 acres of land across the UK – more than double the amount owned by the MoD.

He married wife Fiamma in 1959. The couple had two children, David, 61, and Caroline, 55, and five grandchildren.

Today local MP Simon Hoare, who knew Sir Richard Sutton well, paid tribute to the landowner who he said was a ‘country gentleman’.

The Conservative MP for North Dorset described the incident as ‘deeply awful’ and said he received a ‘full briefing’ on it from police today.

Mr Hoare MP, 51, said: ‘I knew him, strangely enough 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.’

Mr Hoare MP also said: ‘This is not the sort of thing you expect to see happening in North Dorset nor the sort of thing we are used to seeing here.

‘Based on what I have been told by the police there is cause for shock and sadness but no cause or reason for alarm.’

The politician added that he is hoping medics are able to help save the injured woman in her 60s as ‘one murder is shocking but a double murder would be chilling’.

Mr Hoare MP said he would not disclose details about the circumstances of the incident nor the identity of the 34 year old man who has been arrested.

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