Epsom College headteacher made 'distress call' to relative before being 'shot dead with daughter' by husband

7 February 2023, 06:22 | Updated: 8 February 2023, 13:31

Tributes to Lettie and her family were made after the family was found dead
Tributes to Lettie and her family were made after the family was found dead. Picture: Alamy/Social media

By Will Taylor

Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison told a close family member she had concerns about her husband the night before she was found dead alongside him and their daughter.

The incident is now being treated as a murder investigation, Surrey Police have confirmed.

Causes of death will be completed later this week once post-mortems have been completed.

The gun that was recovered by police was license and registered to George Pattison, who had been in contact with Surrey Police just three days before the shooting over changing the address on his license.

Detective Chief Inspector Kimball Edey, Senior Investigating Officer on the case, said: “This is an incredibly traumatic incident and we are working around the clock to investigate and understand the exact circumstances which led to this point.

"We understand the public concern and upset, and we will clarify what we can, when we can, while respecting the right to a level of privacy for the families of those who have lost their lives."

A source told The Times said the family member went to the Pattisons' home the day after she was told of the headteacher's concerns, where she found the trio dead.

It is also believed he reported Ms Pattison to police in 2016 after she allegedly hit him, though the claim was withdrew, as he said it was 'trivial'.

Tributes have been paid to Lettie and her family
Tributes have been paid to Lettie and her family. Picture: Social media

Read more: 'Gunshots heard' before Epsom College's headteacher found dead with husband and daughter at home 'near rifle range'

The seven-year-old daughter of Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison was "perfect in every way", say those who knew the family.

Lettie was found dead alongside Ms Pattison and accountant father George Pattison, 39, at their home on the prestigious school's grounds early on Sunday.

Surrey Police described the tragedy as "isolated" with "no third party involvement". Emergency services were reportedly called after gunshots were heard.

However, a nearby range is not being treated as part of the crime scene.

Nursery worker Chloe Rathbown said she was heartbroken about the death.

The 27-year-old, who used to look after Lettie, told The Times: "They were such a lovely family and Lettie was perfect in every way."

Past neighbours of the family painted the picture of a happy girl who had been brought up well.

"You used to hear her playing in the garden, she was always asking them questions, and just seemed like a happy, inquisitive little girl," a past neighbour told The Telegraph.

A woman who lives locally said: "She was just a typical, well brought-up, lovely little girl. It's just tragic."

Police officers stand guard inside Epsom College after the school's head, Emma Pattison, was found dead alongside her family
Police officers stand guard inside Epsom College after the school's head, Emma Pattison, was found dead alongside her family. Picture: Getty

A service for Ms Pattison, 45, and the family was held on Monday as £42,000-a-year Epsom College described them as wonderful.

"The shocking and tragic news has now reached many about the death of our Head, Emma Pattison," it said on Twitter.

"The College community will be coming together today to process the news, grieve and pay our respects to a wonderful Head.

Read more: Head of £42,000-a-year Epsom College found dead with husband and daughter described as 'wonderful' by school

"At this time there is nothing more that we can say regarding the circumstances around Mrs Pattison and her family's death beyond the statement issued by Surrey Police yesterday evening (Sunday 5 February).

"We will be in close contact with Surrey Police over the coming weeks and months. We hope everyone will respect the privacy of Emma's family at this time and allow the College's pupils, staff and wider community the time and space necessary to come to terms with this loss."

The school was named independent school of the year for 2022.

Tributes poured in to the family
Tributes poured in to the family. Picture: Alamy

Ms Pattison previously taught at Croydon High School. In a podcast released just before Christmas, she described how the family had undergone "a lot of change" in recent months.

"In the early hours of Sunday morning, Surrey Police was contacted by the South East Coast Ambulance Service to attend a property in the grounds of Epsom College," police said.

"Officers attended at around 1.10am where they, sadly, found the bodies of three people, including a child.

"We can confirm that the bodies found were Emma Pattison aged 45 years. Head of Epsom College, her daughter Lettie, aged seven years and her husband George aged 39 years.

"The family's next-of-kins have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

"An investigation is being carried out to establish the circumstances of their deaths. At this stage, police are confident that this is an isolated incident with no third-party involvement."

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