Epsom College to close as police investigate ‘possible murder-suicide’
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.
Emma Pattison, 45, was found dead with her husband George Pattison, 39, and their seven-year-old daughter Lettie at their home in the grounds of Epsom College in Surrey on Sunday.
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 Mrs Pattison died.
Surrey Police said Mr Pattison legally owned a gun that was discovered at the scene of the tragedy.
On Tuesday, the force confirmed that officers have launched a homicide investigation.
The deaths are being investigated as a possible murder-suicide.
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. 3/3
— Epsom College (@EpsomCollegeUK) February 6, 2023
In a letter to parents, the BBC reported that 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.”
The Times reported that Mrs Pattison had contacted a close relative with concerns about her husband in the hours before the killings, and when they arrived at the house they found all three members of the family dead.
While a gun was found at the scene, the force said causes of death will not be confirmed until post-mortem examinations are carried out later this week.
Mr Pattison 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.
A statement from the force said: “We had contact with George on February 2 after he notified us of a previous change of address, as is routine.
“Due to the short period of time between that contact and this incident, we have made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”
The IOPC said it is assessing the information available to decide if any further action is necessary.
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.”
Mr Pattison had held a gun licence for a number of years and it was up for renewal early last year, according to the Times.
The newspaper said he had not been reported to Surrey Police before, but in 2016 had contacted them to allege that his wife had hit him, before withdrawing the claim.
Mrs Pattison became Epsom’s first female head in September 2022 after six years as headteacher of Croydon High School in south London.
Boarding students at the college pay more than £42,000 a year and its alumni include Conservative MP Sir Michael Fallon, broadcaster Jeremy Vine and comedian Tim Vine.
Mrs Pattison’s husband George was a chartered accountant who was director of a management consultancy called Tanglewood 2016, according to Companies House.