Elite School Head and 7-Year-Old Killed by Husband in Murder-Suicide: Report

Naveed Barakzai/Maxal Photography via Wikimedia Commons
Naveed Barakzai/Maxal Photography via Wikimedia Commons

Police believe the head teacher of an elite private school in England was shot dead by her husband, who then murdered their 7-year-old daughter and used the gun to kill himself, according to a report.

The bodies of Emma Pattison, her husband, George, and daughter, Lettie, were found in their family home on the grounds of Epsom College in southern England on Sunday. Police now think George is responsible for the deaths, the BBC reports.

Late on Saturday evening, Emma Pattison reportedly made a distressed call to a family member. But the 45-year-old head teacher, her 39-year-old husband, and her daughter were all dead by the time the loved one arrived. Gunshots were heard before the trio were found in the early hours.

Surrey Police, which is investigating the deaths, is set to release more information about the tragic case later on Tuesday. But citing unnamed sources, the BBC reports that the force’s officers made a routine call to George Pattison’s home in the days leading up to the killings to check the details of his new address.

The chartered accountant, who was a licensed gun owner, and his wife were reportedly known to local authorities. Postmortem examinations are scheduled to take place later this week.

Emma Pattison became the first female head teacher of Epsom College when she started in the job in September. Before moving to the prestigious $50,000-a-year school in Surrey, she had worked as the head of another independent school in south London.

Epsom College has a history of rifle-shooting dating back to the 19th century, according to The Telegraph, with the school’s indoor eight-lane firing range apparently cordoned off by authorities on Monday. A source close to the school told the newspaper that the shooting range has no live ammunition in it.

In a statement on its website, the school said its “thoughts, condolences and sympathies are with [the victims’] at this tragic time.” It added that the college is cooperating with the investigation. “The news is heartbreaking and we need time and space to come together and process this loss,” the statement reads.

Speaking on a school-run podcast two months ago, Emma Pattison said she had been “absolutely loving” her time at Epsom College so far.

“In terms of transition, it’s been a really big change for my family,” she said. “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. So there’s been a lot of change for us as a family, but it’s been wonderful.”

If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. You can also text or dial 988.

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