ONE of Britain's richest men, worth £301million, was last night found stabbed to death in his country mansion.
Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, an 83-year-old Baronet, was attacked inside his £2million home in Higher Langham, near Gillingham, Dorset.
A woman, believed to be his wife, also suffered knife injuries in the bloodbath that happened at Moorhill, a large detached property in the tiny hamlet.
A 34-year-old man – believed to be known to the victims – was arrested on suspicion of murder 100 miles away in London three hours later.
Police rushed to scene after receiving a call from a member of the public concerned for the welfare of the occupants of the house at 7.30pm.
When they got there they found Sir Richard with fatal knife wounds.
Nothing could be done to save him and he was pronounced dead at the scene at 9.15pm.
ONE OF UK'S RICHEST MEN
The woman, who is aged in her 60s, was airlifted to the Southmead Hospital in Bristol. Her condition was today described as "critical".
The suspect, from Gillingham, was detained at 10.30pm in Hammersmith, West London.
He was taken to hospital for treatment to injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.
Sir Richard was described as an "old English gentry landowner" who was worth an estimated £301million and was at number 435 on the Sunday Times Rich List.
He owned a huge portfolio of hotels, property and farms across the country.
Sir Richard was a caring, generous and warm family man, who genuinely regarded those who worked for him as part of his extended family."
A spokesman for Sir Richard Sutton Limited 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 £1.4million.
Today three police vans were seen at the entrance to a long drive which leads to the remote property, while forensics officers were observed
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."
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.
"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.
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.
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