Mystery of tycoon found at Victoria station

Millionaire philanthropist said to be suffering from depression is reunited with his family after passer-by recognises him

Sir Peter Lampl, the millionaire philanthropist who sparked a police search after going missing on Sunday, was found yesterday, sitting on a bench at Victoria train station in London.

The 61-year-old founder of the Sutton Trust, an education charity which campaigns against social inequality, walked out of his £1.8m home in Wimbledon wearing just a sweater and casual trousers on Sunday morning.

His disappearance was described by police as “entirely out of character” and worried friends and family told officers that he was suffering from depression following the break-up of his marriage and had left home without his medication.

But yesterday he was found after a member of the public, reading about his disappearance in a newspaper, spotted Sir Peter at Victoria station. She showed him the article and urged him to contact his family.

It is understood that he immediately called his personal assistant at the trust, who alerted the police and his family. Tim Devlin, a spokesman for the Sutton Trust, said: “We would like to say we are very relieved to hear that he is safe and well, thanks to the publicity caused by his disappearance. I would like to thank the police for putting out a missing persons statement and the media for their concern.

“He was at Victoria train station at midday yesterday and I think he was having a cup of coffee. A woman at a table two tables away was reading a newspaper article about him and showed him the story and said, ‘I think you should ring people’.

“He then rang his office and said, ‘It’s Peter Lampl’. They called the police, who collected him.”

Sir Peter had reportedly been suffering from depression as a result of the break-up of his marriage to his wife, Lady Karen Lampl, last year. He has been staying at the home of his parents and sister in Wimbledon while trying to recover.

Last night he was back with them – although his whereabouts in the 48 hours that he was missing still remained a mystery. “He will need a few days or maybe a few weeks to recover,” said Mr Devlin.

Since October, Sir Peter has taken a back seat with the Sutton Trust which, among other things, has set up summer schools at prestigious universities such as Oxford and Cambridge in an attempt to give youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds a taste of higher education to convince them they should apply for places.

Friends said last night that Sir Peter was in a “confused” state when he was found yesterday lunchtime – more than 48 hours after he had last been seen at his Wimbledon home. “He has been down for some time and he has been depressed,” said a source.

Sir Peter is also understood to have lost money as a result of the recession, but it was stressed that his depression was “nothing to do with the credit crunch”.

A friend of the family, Glyn Morris, said they were delighted Sir Peter had been found safe. He said: “I think it’s publicity that helped to find him. He did not leave in a coherent fashion, which is a function of the medicine he is taking. I presume he’s being cared for – having been on the streets for two nights, I don’t know what state he is in.”

Sir Peter is widely respected in the education world. One of his most significant interventions to help pupils from poor backgrounds was to agree to fund all the places at the Belvedere High School for Girls in Liverpool for those pupils whose parents could not afford the fee.

But last year he agreed to the school joining the state sector as one of the Government’s flagship academies – as a result of which it had to end all forms of selection. Last month it became the top performing non-selective state school in the country.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 40 years ...

Recruitment Genius: Weekend Factory Operatives

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer is curr...

Recruitment Genius: FP&A Analyst

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A market leading acquirer and m...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fully qualified electricians re...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific