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Epsom College – latest: Headteacher ‘made desperate call to relative hours before murder-suicide’

Epsom College – latest: Headteacher ‘made desperate call to relative hours before murder-suicide’

Police suspect the husband of Epsom College's late headteacher killed his wife and their seven-year-old daughter before taking his own life, The Independent understands.

A gun found alongside the bodies at their home in the private school’s grounds on Sunday was registered to George Pattison, husband of Emma and father of Lettie, police said.

The Times reported that Ms Pattison had contacted a close relative with concerns about her husband in the hours before the deaths.

Officers from Surrey Police said they were in contact with Mr Pattison three days before the deaths after he registered a change of address, as firearms owners are required to.

Tributes poured in from colleagues of “respected” Ms Pattison and Lettie, who was described as “perfect” by a former babysitter.

Dr Alastair Wells of Epsom College expressed the school’s “utter shock and disbelief” after the incident.

“Our immediate thoughts and condolences are with Emma's family, friends and loved ones, and to the many pupils and colleagues whose lives she enriched throughout her distinguished career,” he said.

Key Points

  • Emma Pattison told relative of concern for husband hours before death

  • Surrey Police investigating double-murder suicide

  • Husband contacted police over gun licence days before deaths

  • ‘Gunshots heard’ at school where headteacher and family found dead

  • Epsom College reacts after shocking deaths of school head and her family

Police suspect Epsom College deaths were double-murder suicide

Tuesday 7 February 2023 12:32 , Liam James

Police suspect the husband of Epsom College’s late headteacher killed his wife and their seven-year-old daughter died in a double-murder suicide, The Independent understands.

Officers said they found a gun alongside the bodies that was registered to George Pattison, husband of Emma and father of Lettie, police said.

It is believed Mr Pattison killed his family members before shooting himself, according to the BBC.

Epsom College head Emma Pattison, 45, her husband George, 39, and their daughter Lettie, seven (PA)
Epsom College head Emma Pattison, 45, her husband George, 39, and their daughter Lettie, seven (PA)

Police carried out ‘phone review’ of George Pattison’s gun licence

09:34 , Andy Gregory

George Pattison had been in contact with Surrey Police over his firearms licence just over two days before the killings, and the force has referred itself to the police watchdog.

The Independent understands that Surrey Police had carried out a “phone review” regarding the details of Mr Pattison’s gun licence, and had not interviewed him in person or visited the family home.

Our home affairs editor Lizzie Dearden has more in this report:

Emma Pattison’s husband contacted police over gun licence days before deaths

Deaths ‘sent shockwaves through the local community’, police say

09:03 , Andy Gregory

Police have described the three deaths as sending “shockwaves through the local community”, as he said there would be a heightened officer presence in the area this week.

Inspector Jon Vale said: “I know this incident has caused upset and sent shockwaves through the local community.

“Although we are confident that this incident was contained to one address, and there is no risk to the wider public I fully understand the concern this can and has caused members of our communities.

“Therefore, the public can expect to see a heightened police presence in the local area in the coming days.”

George Pattison ‘reported wife to police in 2016 before withdrawing complaint’

08:46 , Andy Gregory

George Pattison reported his wife to Surrey Police for allegedly striking him in 2016, sources have told The Times.

Emma Pattison was spoken to by officers before her husband quickly withdrew the complaint, saying it was trivial.

He is believed to have been a licensed gun owner for several years and his firearms certificate was renewed last year, The Times reported, citing sources as emphasising that there were no red flags on his record.

Police investigation seeking to establish ‘full chronology’

07:57 , Andy Gregory

Police have said that their investigation “is being carried out to establish the full chronology and circumstances of the incident”.

“At this stage, officers are confident there is no third-party involvement and there is no wider threat or risk to the community,” Surrey Police said in it’s latest update.

Epsom College to close as police investigate ‘possible murder-suicide’

07:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

A private school where the headteacher was found dead alongside her husband and their daughter will reportedly close until after the half-term break as police conduct a homicide investigation.

According to the BBC, acting headmaster Paul Williams announced on Tuesday that the school will close until after the half-term break following the “incredibly distressing” details about how Emma Pattison died.

In a letter to parents, Mr Williams said: “Now is a time for families to come together and try and process this shocking news.

“The impact on your children cannot be underestimated and we are doing everything we possibly can to support them in whatever way they need.”

Read more here.

Epsom College to close as police investigate ‘possible murder-suicide’

Police refer themselves to watchdog

06:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Police believe that the husband of Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison shot his wife and daughter dead just days after they spoke to him on the phone about his gun license.

George Pattison was found dead alongside his wife and seven-year-old daughter Lettie at their home on the grounds of the private school.

Investigators said a gun registered to him was found at the scene, but that the causes of death would not be officially confirmed until post-mortem examinations have been completed.

He had been in contact with Surrey Police over his firearms license just over two days before the killings, and the force has referred itself to the police watchdog.

Lizzie Dearden reports.

Emma Pattison’s husband contacted police over gun licence days before deaths

Headteacher made ‘distressed call’ to relative before death

05:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Emma Pattison, the headteacher of Epsom College reportedly made a “distressed call” to a relative before she and her daughter were allegedly shot dead by her husband.

Pattison called the relative sometime late on Saturday evening, BBC reported. However, by the time the family member arrived, all three of them were dead.

Surrey Police said: “An investigation is being carried out to establish the full chronology and circumstances of the incident. At this stage, officers are confident there is no third-party involvement.”

“We are assessing the available information to determine what, if any, further action may be required from us,” a spokesperson added.

Police cordon off Epsom College rifle range

04:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison, 45, was found dead alongside her seven-year-old daughter Lettie and husband, George, at their home on the grounds of the school in Surrey.

An unnamed source told The Telegraph that a member of school staff had called the emergency services after hearing what they believed to be gunshots in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The area surrounding the Pattisons’ home, which is granted to headteachers and their families at the prestigious school, was cordoned off on Monday.

Among the sealed buildings was Epsom College’s rifle range. The Independent understands that it is not considered part of the scene of investigation but was closed because of its close proximity to the house.

Martha McHardy reports.

‘Gunshots heard at 1am’ at school where headteacher and family found dead

Epsom College: All we know about elite £42,000 a year school

03:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Staff and pupils at an elite private school are grieving after their headteacher was found dead with her husband and seven-year-old daughter.

Epsom College head Emma Pattison, 45, husband George, 39, and daughter Lettie were found on school grounds in the early hours of Sunday morning.

According to its website, Epsom College is the current Independent School of the Year. It is a co-educational independent school on Epsom Downs, Surrey for pupils aged 11 to 18 – offering both day and boarding places.

Founded in 1853, it first opened as a boys’ school intended to provide support for poor members of the medical profession, such as pensioners and orphans.

Emily Atkinson has more.

Epsom College: Inside the £42K a year school where headteacher and family found dead

Colleagues of ‘much-loved’ headteacher found dead with daughter and husband pay tribute

02:30 , Joe Middleton

Former colleagues of a headteacher found dead at her home with her husband and daughter have paid tribute to their “dear friend”.

Emma Pattison, who was head at Croydon High School before she joined Epsom College in September last year, died on Sunday with her daughter Lettie, seven, and her husband George.

Colleagues of ‘much-loved’ teacher found dead with daughter and husband pay tribute

Who was Emma Pattison, the Epsom College headteacher found dead?

01:30 , Joe Middleton

Pupils and staff at a prestigious private school in Surrey have been rocked by the news that their headteacher had been found dead with her husband and young daughter.

Emma Pattison, 45, and her husband George, 39, were found alongside seven-year-old Lettie at the £42,000 per year Epsom College, Epsom, early on Sunday morning.

Who was Emma Pattison, the Epsom College headteacher found dead?

Epsom College's headteacher talks about ‘family changes’ in podcast before death

00:30 , Joe Middleton

Husband contacted police about gun licence days before Epsom College deaths

Tuesday 7 February 2023 23:30 , Joe Middleton

A man found dead with his private school headteacher wife and seven-year-old daughter legally owned a gun that was discovered at the scene of the tragedy, police said.

George Pattison, 39, had been in contact with Surrey Police just days before the killings about his gun licence in order to change his address after the family moved to the school site from Caterham.

He was found dead with his wife Emma Pattison, 45, and their daughter Lettie at their home in the grounds of Epsom College in Surrey on Sunday.

Husband contacted police about gun licence days before Epsom College deaths

Emma Pattison: Police refer themselves to watchdog over contact with husband days before deaths

Tuesday 7 February 2023 22:30 , Joe Middleton

Police believe that the husband of Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison shot his wife and daughter dead just days after they spoke to him on the phone about his gun licence.

George Pattison was found dead alongside his wife and seven-year-old daughter Lettie at their home on the grounds of the private school in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Investigators said a gun registered to Mr Pattison was found at the scene, but that the causes of death would not be officially confirmed until post-mortem examinations have been completed.

Emma Pattison’s husband contacted police over gun licence days before deaths

All we know about elite £42,000 a year school where headteacher and family found dead

Tuesday 7 February 2023 21:30 , Joe Middleton

Staff and pupils at an elite private school are grieving after their headteacher was found dead with her husband and seven-year-old daughter.

Epsom College head Emma Pattison, 45, husband George, 39, and daughter Lettie were found on school grounds in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Surrey Police says it is treating the family’s deaths as an “isolated incident”, indicating there was no third-party involvement.

Epsom College: Inside the £42K a year school where headteacher and family found dead

Epsom College's headteacher talks about ‘family changes’ in podcast before death

Tuesday 7 February 2023 20:30 , Joe Middleton

Colleagues of ‘much-loved’ headteacher found dead with daughter and husband pay tribute

Tuesday 7 February 2023 19:00 , Joe Middleton

Former colleagues of a headteacher found dead at her home with her husband and daughter have paid tribute to their “dear friend”.

Emma Pattison, who was head at Croydon High School before she joined Epsom College in September last year, died on Sunday with her daughter Lettie, seven, and her husband George.

Surrey Police have not disclosed the cause of their deaths but said they are confident no-one else was involved.

Colleagues of ‘much-loved’ teacher found dead with daughter and husband pay tribute

Map showing Epsom College and Pattison home locations

Tuesday 7 February 2023 18:01 , Joe Middleton

 (Bluesky/Getmapping PLC/Infoterra Ltd/Maxar/The GeoInformation Group/Google/The Independent)
(Bluesky/Getmapping PLC/Infoterra Ltd/Maxar/The GeoInformation Group/Google/The Independent)

Epsom College's headteacher talks about ‘family changes’ in podcast before death

Tuesday 7 February 2023 17:03 , Joe Middleton

Epsom College: All we know about elite £42,000 a year school

Tuesday 7 February 2023 15:56 , Joe Middleton

Staff and pupils at Epsom College are grieving after their headteacher was found dead with her husband and seven-year-old daughter.

Emily Atkinson looks at the elite Surrey school that is reeling in shock:

Epsom College: Inside the £42K a year school where headteacher and family found dead

What have the police said today?

Tuesday 7 February 2023 15:02 , Joe Middleton

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.

“We are cooperating fully with the IOPC in relation to the referral we have made, and we await the outcome of its assessment of what further action may be required. Until this has been completed, we will be unable to provide further details on a number of matters.”

Police outside Epsom College, in Surrey (PA)
Police outside Epsom College, in Surrey (PA)

Cause of death can’t be confirmed yet say police

Tuesday 7 February 2023 14:00 , Liam James

Police said the cause of the deaths of an Epsom College headteacher, her husband and her daughter cannot be confirmed until a post-mortem has been completed.

Officers suspect George Pattison killed his wife Emma and their seven-year-old daughter Lettie. A gun registered to Mr Pattison was found at the scene.

A Surrey Police spokesperson said: “An investigation is being carried out to establish the full chronology and circumstances of the incident. At this stage, officers are confident there is no third-party involvement and there is no wider threat or risk to the community.

“A firearm was found at the scene and has been recovered by officers, however, causes of death will not be confirmed until post-mortems have been completed later this week.”

Police outside Epsom College in Surrey (PA)
Police outside Epsom College in Surrey (PA)

Emma Pattison told relative of concern for husband hours before death

Tuesday 7 February 2023 13:30 , Liam James

Emma Pattison contacted a close relative with concerns about her husband in the hours before her death, The Times reports.

The relative later went to the family home on the grounds of Epsom College and found Emma, her husband George and their seven-year-old daughter dead.

Police believe Mr Pattison killed Epsom College head and their seven-year-old daughter before taking his own life.

Map shows the Pattison family home on the Epsom College grounds (Bluesky/Getmapping PLC/Infoterra Ltd/Maxar/The GeoInformation Group/Google/The Independent)
Map shows the Pattison family home on the Epsom College grounds (Bluesky/Getmapping PLC/Infoterra Ltd/Maxar/The GeoInformation Group/Google/The Independent)

Emma Pattison’s husband contacted police over gun licence days before deaths

Tuesday 7 February 2023 12:50 , Liam James

Surrey Police have referred themselves to a watchdog after a murder-suicide left a family of three dead.

Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison, 45, was found dead alongside her seven-year-old daughter Lettie and husband, George, at their home in the grounds of the private school in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Investigators said a gun registered to Mr Pattison was found at the scene, but that the causes of death would not be officially confirmed until post-mortems have been completed.

He had contacted Surrey Police over his firearms licence just over two days before the killings.

Emma Pattison’s husband contacted police over gun licence days before deaths

Epsom College deaths ‘suspected to be double-murder suicide'

Tuesday 7 February 2023 11:41 , Liam James

Police suspect Epsom College’s late headteacher was killed alongside her daughter in a double-murder suicide at the hands of her husband.

The BBC reports that Surrey Police are investigating whether George Pattison killed his family members at their home in the grounds of the Surrey private school where they were found on Sunday.

Gunshots were reportedly heard on the grounds, prompting a staff member to call police.

The father is reported to have updated his gun licence shortly before the deaths.

Epsom College: All we know about elite £42,000 a year school

Tuesday 7 February 2023 11:20 , Liam James

Staff and pupils at Epsom College are grieving after their headteacher was found dead with her husband and seven-year-old daughter.

Emily Atkinson looks at the elite Surrey school that is reeling in shock:

Epsom College: Inside the £42K a year school where headteacher and family found dead

Epsom College's headteacher talks about ‘family changes’ in podcast before death

Tuesday 7 February 2023 10:39 , Liam James

Shortly before she was found dead alongside her husband and seven-year-old daughter, the headteacher of Epsom College said her family had been going through changes.

Emma Pattison, 45, was just six months into her post as the Surrey private school’s first-ever female head.

In a podcast for pupils, she said: “It’s been a really big change for my family,” she said, sharing that they have moved house and bought a dog in the area.

Colleagues of ‘much-loved’ headteacher found dead with daughter and husband pay tribute

Tuesday 7 February 2023 10:01 , Liam James

Former colleagues of a headteacher found dead at her home with her husband and daughter have paid tribute to their “dear friend” (Lucas Cumiskey writes).

Emma Pattison, who was head at Croydon High School before she joined Epsom College in September last year, died on Sunday with her daughter Lettie, seven, and her husband George.

Surrey Police have not disclosed the cause of their deaths but said they are confident no-one else was involved.

Colleagues of ‘much-loved’ teacher found dead with daughter and husband pay tribute

Lettie was ‘perfect in every way’

Tuesday 7 February 2023 09:00 , Liam James

The seven-year-old girl found dead alongside her parents was “perfect”, a former babysitter said.

Chloe Rathbone, 27, a nursery worker who previously looked after Lettie, told The Times: “I knew Emma, George and Lettie and I am utterly heartbroken over this news.

“They were such a lovely family and Lettie was perfect in every way.”

Police rule out ‘third-party involvement’ in deaths of headteacher and family

Tuesday 7 February 2023 08:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Surrey police say they are treating the headteacher and her family’s deaths as an “isolated incident” which had no third-party involvement.

The statement came amid reports that gunshots were heard before the body of Emma Pattison was discovered alongside her husband and seven-year-old daughter.

“In the early hours of this [Sun] morning, Surrey Police was contacted by the South East Coast Ambulance Service to attend a property in the grounds of Epsom College,” the police said in a statement.

“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 kin 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.”

Emma Pattison’s former school pays tribute

Tuesday 7 February 2023 08:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Emma Pattison was the head at Croydon High School before she joined Epsom College in September last year.

Emma Pattison, 45, and her husband George, 39, were found dead alongside seven-year-old Lettie at the £42,000-per-year Epsom College early on Sunday morning.

In a statement, her previous school said they were “immensely shocked and saddened” by the news about Pattison’s death.

“Emma was a much loved and respected member of the GDST (Girls’ Day School Trust) community, as well as a talented Head and teacher and a dear friend to many of us,” said Cheryl Giovannoni, chief executive of GDST.

“She touched the lives of all of us with her energy, wisdom and kindness during her six years as Head of Croydon High School and the school will always bear the legacy of her inspiring leadership.”

Who was Emma Pattison?

Tuesday 7 February 2023 07:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Pupils and staff at a prestigious private school in Surrey have been rocked by the news that their headteacher was found dead with her husband and young daughter.

Emma Pattison, 45, and her husband George, 39, were found alongside seven-year-old Lettie at the £42,000-per-year Epsom College, in Epsom, early on Sunday morning.

Described as a “wonderful teacher” and a “delightful person” who had a “distinguished career”, Pattison was appointed head of Epsom in September last year.

Matt Mathers has more.

Who was Emma Pattison, the Epsom College headteacher found dead?

Epsom College rifle range cordoned off

Tuesday 7 February 2023 06:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The rifle range at Epsom College has reportedly been cordoned off following the deaths of the headteacher and her family.

Gunshots were heard before the body of Emma Pattison was discovered alongside her husband and seven-year-old daughter, The Daily Telegraph reported.

A source close to the school told the newspaper that a member of staff living close to the headteacher’s house called emergency services in the early hours of Sunday after hearing the gunshots.

Following the incident, police cordoned off the school’s indoor rifle range next to the property on Monday.

The school has a history of rifle shooting that dates back to the Victorian era. Epsom College has an eight-lane indoor shooting range, which is also open to guests at a cost of £15.

Colleagues pay tribute to headteacher found dead with family

Tuesday 7 February 2023 05:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Former colleagues of the headteacher found dead at her home with her husband and daughter have paid tribute to their “dear friend”.

Emma Pattison, who was head at Croydon High School before she joined Epsom College in September last year, died on Sunday with her seven-year-old daughter Lettie and her husband George.

Cheryl Giovannoni, chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), of which Croydon High School is part, said: “We are immensely shocked and saddened by the news about the death of Emma Pattison, her daughter Lettie and her husband George.”

“Emma was a much loved and respected member of the GDST community, as well as a talented head and teacher and a dear friend to many of us.”

Lucas Cumiskey reports.

Colleagues pay tribute to headteacher found dead with daughter, 7, and husband

Epsom College headteacher spoke of ‘family changes’ in podcast

Tuesday 7 February 2023 04:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Emma Pattison, the headteacher of Epsom College who was found dead along with her husband and daughter, had previously spoken about some of the changes her family had gone through for the new job.

Police have described the incident as being “isolated” and said they are not seeking a third party in connection to it.

Pattison, 45, was just six months into her post as the Surrey private school’s first-ever female head.

“It’s been a really big change for my family,” she said in an appearance on the school’s podcast, sharing that her family had moved house and bought a dog in the area.

Watch here.

Epsom College headteacher talks about ‘family changes’ in podcast before death

Epsom College reacts after shocking deaths of school head and her family

Tuesday 7 February 2023 03:00 , Eleanor Noyce

The private school where the bodies of its headmistress and her family were found dead has pleaded for “time and space” to process “these shocking events”.

Epsom College head Emma Pattison, 45, her husband George, 39 and their daughter Lettie, seven, were found in the grounds of the school in the early hours of Sunday morning by the South East Coast Ambulance Service.

In a statement late on Sunday evening, the elite school, which was named independent school of the year in 2022, asked for privacy as the school community grappled with the shocking news and the loss of its head.

“It is with the deepest sadness and regret that we have to announce the news of the deaths of Emma Pattison, Head of Epsom College, her daughter Lettie, and her husband George,” the school said.

“Our thoughts, condolences and sympathies are with their families at this tragic time.”

Read more here:

Epsom College reacts after shocking deaths of school head and her family