Horrified teachers heard gunshots and rushed to Emma Pattison’s house before she was found dead with husband & daughter | The Sun
HORRIFIED teachers rushed to a top headmistress' family home on school grounds after hearing gunshots.
The bodies of Emma, 45, her husband George, 39, and seven-year-old daughter Lettie Pattison were later discovered at the property at Epsom College, Surrey, in the early hours of Sunday.
Cops have not disclosed the cause of deaths but are confident no one else was involved in the "isolated" incident.
They are understood to be treating the tragedy as a double murder and suicide.
Detectives suspect George, 39, killed his wife Emma, 45, and little Lettie before taking his own life last weekend.
They were found at the house, which is surrounded by other properties occupied by workers and is close to the prestigious school's rifle range, shortly after 1am on February 5.
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A flag flew at half mast yesterday while a forensic examination of the area was carried out.
The tragedy has shaken the community and devastated those that knew the "lovely" family.
One former neighbour said: "It is just shocking and unimaginable."
Chloe Rathbone, 27, a nursery worker who looked after Lettie, told The Times: "I am utterly so heartbroken over this awful news.
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"They were such a lovely family and Lettie was perfect in every way, everything you could have wished for in a little girl."
And John Wildgoose, a photographer who took the family's portrait last month for the school's announcement of Emma's headship, described the youngster as "an absolute angel".
He added: "To me there was an obvious bond within the family, they seemed very together and excited about their future."
Emma became the first female head of £42,000-a-year Epsom College in September last year after six years at Croydon High School in South London.
She lived on-site with her daughter, Labrador puppy Bella and chartered accountant husband George, who ran a management consultancy firm called Tanglewood 2016, according to Companies House.
Despite moving to Epsom from their £1.5million property in Caterham last year, the Pattisons reportedly only recently finished transporting the last of their belongings.
Removal vans were spotted outside the four-bedroom detached home, where they had lived since 2014, in the last few weeks.
Before Christmas, Emma seemed enthusiastic about her future at the elite school, which counts presenter Jeremy Vine and ex-MI6 spy chief Sir John Scarlett as ex-pupils.
But in a student-run podcast, she described the the transition period as being full of "really big changes".
'SO MUCH TO COME'
She said: "We've obviously moved house, we've bought 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 a new school.
"There has been a lot of change for us as a family, but it has been wonderful."
She also expressed her passion for teaching and excitedly revealed how much she had loved her first few weeks at the helm and that "there is so much to come".
Former colleagues and friends described Emma as a "wonderful" teacher who "enriched children's lives".
Cheryl Giovannoni, chief executive of the Girls' Day School Trust (GDST), of which Croydon High School is part, said: "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.
"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."
Dr Alastair Wells, chairman of the board of governors at Epsom College, said: "I want to convey our utter shock and disbelief at this tragic news.
"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.
"Emma was a wonderful teacher, but most of all she was a delightful person."
Epsom College, part of which remains cordoned off, won the top prize at the Independent Schools of the Year Awards 2022, with judges calling it a "beacon of excellence".
The school was also named the winner of the Student Wellbeing Award at the October ceremony thanks to its "whole-school approach to mental health and the wellbeing of both its staff and pupils".
More than 850 boys and girls attend the school, which was founded in 1853, and its acting head has been listed as Paul Williams.
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Ex-pupils include BBC presenter Jeremy Vine and ex-MI6 spy chief Sir John Scarlett.
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