Epsom head killed by husband had 'intimate' dinner hours before deaths

Epsom College head shot to death by husband hosted ‘intimate’ final dinner party with friends just hours before he would kill her and his seven-year-old daughter in murder-suicide

  • Emma Pattison became Epsom College’s first female head five months ago
  • She and husband George hosted a dinner party for friends on Saturday night 
  • For support call the Samaritans anonymously for free from a UK phone on 116 123

Head of Epsom College Emma Pattison hosted a final dinner party with her husband George the night before he shot his wife and seven-year-old daughter dead and then turned the gun on himself.

Ms Pattison, 45, became the first female head of the prestigious independent school just five months ago and moved to the college with daughter Lettie, while husband George, 39, remained in their old £1.5million property in Caterham as its sale went through.

The family was discovered dead at the property within the school grounds at around 1.10am on Sunday, police said. 

But just hours before the brutal attack, the couple reportedly hosted a dinner party for friends with ‘no indication’ that anything was amiss.

Mr Pattison was understood to show no sign of being upset or worried during the evening. 

Epsom College head Emma Pattison, 45, her husband George, 39, and their seven-year-old daughter Lettie

Police believe Mr Pattison shot his wife and daughter dead before turning the gun on himself

A friend of the family told the Sun: ‘On Saturday night they threw a dinner party. It was quite an intimate affair and literally turned out to be their last supper.

‘Nothing unusual happened. There were no arguments, no indication he would go on to do something so horrific a short time later.’

Neighbours say Mr Pattison had been ‘flitting between’ their old house and the property at Epsom before the keys were handed to the new owners last month.

It was only then that he moved into the family’s new home with his wife Emma and their daughter Lettie, seven.

It emerged yesterday that Ms Pattison made a distressed phone call to her sister Deborah Kirk in the early hours of Sunday morning, just minutes before she would be shot dead. 

Ms Kirk immediately jumped into a car and drove out to the college in Surrey, but arrived too late and discovered her body as well as that of her husband George and Lettie.

Surrey Police confirmed they believe Mr Pattison shot his wife and daughter dead before turning the weapon on himself, and that no third party was involved in the killings. 

Surrey Police has referred itself to the independent watchdog over the triple shooting after it emerged they had been in touch with Mr Pattison just days before.

The killer had been a licenced shotgun holder for many years and officers had called him to check on the storage for his firearm last Thursday. Officers did not visit the premises.

Home Office regulations state that gun-owners must notify police of any change of address as soon as they move.

Mrs Pattison with her daughter Lettie. The seven-year-old has been described as a ‘little angel’ and ‘perfect in every way’ following her death on Sunday morning 

Ms Pattison had only become head of the prestigious college five months ago, and was the first woman to hold the role

Mrs Pattison’s frantic call to her sister Deborah Kirk (pictured together) and her husband prompted relatives to jump into a car and drive out to her in Surrey

Emma Pattison with her husband George at a school function

A police vehicle outside Epsom College in Surrey on Monday following the three deaths in an apparent murder-suicide

A neighbour of the family in Caterham told MailOnline: ‘It’s horrific what’s happened at the college. I never heard any arguing or anything like that when they lived here. 

‘They appeared to have it all, a nice house, good jobs and lots of money.

‘As well as the BMW, George also drove a Jaguar XR and an Audi S5. They’d also spent a lot of money doing up the house.

‘When they first moved in it was quite a scruffy granny-style house but they’d extended the kitchen and landscaped the back garden as well as improving the front of the house.

Shocked parents pay tribute to Epsom College’s first female headteacher, 45, after she is found dead: READ MORE HERE 


‘Emma was really nice and charming. She would talk over the fence. 

‘George was much quieter, much more introverted.

‘He seemed older than 39, he looked and acted like someone approaching 50 not 40. His dress sense was almost like a country gent.

‘Over the last year or so I never really saw him go to work. I think he may have worked at home a bit but I got the impression he had a lot of time on his hands.

‘I’d see him through the window drinking glasses of red wine in his new kitchen extension.’

Yesterday Emma’s close friend Helen Walker, 43, posting a moving photo of Mrs Pattison and her daughter paddling on the beach four-years-ago in Walberswick, Suffolk.

She wrote: ‘When you hear or read the tragic news of my dear friend and her beautiful daughter please have this vision in your mind. Don’t think of them as victims of a cowardly man.

‘Think of them on Walberswick beach in Suffolk paddling in the sun on a late August day. Emma Pattison your light will never stop shining brightly.

‘We miss you and love you both dearly. I pray my mum is up there to greet you and give you a massive hug that we can’t.’

Mrs Walker later amended her post to delete mention of a ‘cowardly man’ as she sought to push the focus onto positive memories of her friend.

Speaking from her home, she said: ‘It should really be about her. I don’t want to speculate on him in any way. I want people to envisage her and her daughter in a happy place.

‘She was the most utterly beautiful person in the world, both inside and out. She was truly inspirational. Lettie was beautiful as well.’

In 2016, financial records show Mr Pattison, a chartered accountant, was the sole director of management consultancy Tanglewood.

He had recently taken out a £14,076 director’s loan, according to accounts for the year ending October 2021.

Meanwhile, Land Registry documents revealed a mortgage was taken out on the family’s four-bedroom Caterham home in January last year, eight years after they bought it for around £600,000.

In December, Ms Pattison told a student podcast her move had been ‘a really big change for my family’, adding: ‘I’ve got a new job, my husband got a new job, which wasn’t meant to happen, but did, and my daughter has started a new school.’ 

Officers yesterday confirmed that a gun registered and licensed to Mr Pattison was recovered from the head teacher’s residence after the killing.

They stated that their phone call with him over his change of address days before was a ‘routine’ communication.

A police statement said: ‘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 [IOPC].’

The force said that the incident was now being treated as a homicide investigation. The exact cause of the deaths, which have been reported to the local coroner, will not be determined until post-mortem examinations have been carried out.

Officers are now trying to piece together the exact chronology of events leading up to the tragedy but they remain confident that there is no third-party involvement.

Detective Chief Inspector Kimball Edey said: ‘We are co-operating 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.’

Inspector Jon Vale, Epsom and Ewell’s borough commander, said the force was ‘confident that this incident was contained to one address and there is no risk to the wider public’.

A spokesman for the IOPC said: ‘We have received a referral from Surrey police about an incident in Epsom on February 5 as an officer at the force had contact with Mr Pattison last week.

‘We are assessing the available information to determine what, if any, further action may be required from us.’

George Pattison was a fast car-loving chartered accountant. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, he married Mrs Pattison in 2011.

In the wake of the apparent murder/suicide, the school announced it would shut last night and remain closed until the end of next week’s half-term holiday.

Parents were notified of the decision to finish early for half-term in an email sent earlier today.

Paul Williams, the acting head, said it was time for families ‘to come together and try to process this shocking news’.

He wrote: ‘The shock and horror of the past few days have been unprecedented. The impact on your children cannot be underestimated and we are doing everything we can to support them in whatever way they need.’

For confidential support call the Samaritans for free from a UK phone on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org for more information.

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