The Daily Telegraph
Epsom head made ‘distressed call’ before shooting
Firearm at home where husband is thought to have killed wife and daughter before taking his own life
THE headmistress of Epsom College made a distressed call to a close family member hours before she was shot by her husband, sources have said.
Emma Pattison, 45, is understood to have called a relative with concerns about her husband.
Her body was discovered later that night along with the bodies of her seven-year-old daughter, Lettie, and husband, George, 39.
Police said yesterday they were treating the incident as a murder investigation. A source briefed by officers said police believe Mr Pattison shot his wife and daughter before killing himself.
A firearm was found at the family home that was registered to Mr Pattison. He was in contact with police on Thursday about his gun licence.
Surrey Police have now referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over the murder-suicide owing to the short time between the communication and the suspected murder.
In the first tribute from a friend of Mrs Pattison, Zoe Roberts said: “She was beautiful, inside and out. She was just the most wonderful person. We can’t put it into words at the moment, it is too raw.”
It is thought that Mrs Pattison’s sister received the phone call on the night she was killed. She and her partner are believed to have rushed to the scene where the bodies were found.
Mr Pattison has never previously been reported to the police, it is understood. However, he made a complaint about his wife in 2016 following a domestic dispute. Police arrived at their home but he withdrew the complaint.
Shortly before Christmas, Mrs Pattison indicated that her appointment as the first female head of Epsom College, where she started in September, had put stress on the family.
She said: “In terms of transition, it’s been a really big change for my family. So we’ve obviously moved house, we’ve got a dog, I’ve got a new job, my husband’s got a new job, which wasn’t meant to happen but did, and my daughter has started at a new school.”
Mr Pattison, a chartered accountant, had a lower profile than his wife, who was head of Croydon High School, an independent girls’ school, before she was chosen to lead one of the country’s leading boarding schools.
A former neighbour said that Mr Pattison had liked “sporty cars” and “pottered around with his wine and his paper”, seeming older than his years. He also “seemed to not work”, and one neighbour suggested Emma could have been the breadwinner of the family.
Mr Pattison incorporated management consultancy firm Tanglewood, for which he was the sole director, in 2016.
‘She was just beautiful, inside and out. She was the most wonderful person. We can’t put it into words at the moment’
Accounts for the year ending Oct 31 2021 showed Mr Pattison had taken out a director’s loan for £14,076.
Land Registry documents show a mortgage was taken out for the family home in Caterham in January last year, eight years after they bought the property for around £600,000.
The family had lived at the home while Mrs Pattison was head teacher at Croydon High School, selling it for £1.5million when she began her role at Epsom College in September last year.
Surrey Police said an investigation is being carried out and the causes of death will not be confirmed until postmortems have been completed later this week.
Mr Pattison contacted the police on Thursday to notify them of a previous change of address, which is routine, Surrey Police said.
Paul Williams, acting headmaster of Epsom College, told parents yesterday that he had decided to close the school following the “incredibly distressing” details of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the Pattisons.
Full boarders can stay until the scheduled start of half-term on Friday.