Gun Found Near Bodies of UK Headteacher, Spouse and Daughter Was Registered to Husband: Police

Police have said the deaths were an "isolated incident with no third-party involvement"

Emma Pattison (45) and her family, George (39) and Lettie (7), photographed at Epsom College on 9th January 2022
Emma, George and Lettie Pattison. Photo: John Wildgoose/Epsom College

The headmistress of a prestigious British private school and her 7-year-old daughter who were found dead on campus grounds Sunday were likely killed by her husband, whose body was found near theirs, say authorities.

Police were called to Epsom College in Surrey, south of London, at 1:10 a.m. Sunday, where they found the bodies of Emma Pattison, 45, her husband, George, 39, and her daughter, Lettie, 7, Surrey Police said Monday in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

On Tuesday, Surrey Police said in an updated statement that incident "is now being treated as a homicide investigation."

They said they are confident this is an "isolated incident with no third-party involvement."

A firearm found at the scene was licensed and registered to George, they said.

Emma Pattison and Lettie
Emma Pattison and Lettie. Emma Pattison/Twitter

On Saturday night, Emma Pattison made a frantic call to a relative before she was killed, The Times reports.

When the relative reached the school, Emma Pattison, her daughter and husband were all dead, BBC News reports.

"An investigation is being carried out to establish the full chronology and circumstances of the incident," police said in the statement.

An aerial view as Police attend the scene at Epsom College after the school's head, Emma Pattison, was found dead alongside her family yesterday, on February 6, 2023 in Epsom, England. Pattison, her husband George, and 7-year-old daughter Emma were found dead in a property on school grounds early on Sunday morning
Carl Court/Getty Images

Surrey police had just been in contact with George Pattison on Thursday "after he notified us of a previous change of address, as is routine," they said in the statement.

"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)."

Emma Pattison had only been head teacher of the upscale private school since September, according to her Twitter account.

Epsom College in Surrey where the bodies of headmistress Emma Pattison, 45, her daughter Lettie, seven, and her husband George, 39, were found when officers were called to the private school by the South East Coast Ambulance Service
Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images

She became first female head of the school, which was founded in 1855, the BBC reports.

Prior to that she had spent six years as head teacher of Croydon High School in South London, according to the BBC.

Her husband was an accountant who was director of a management consultancy firm, the BBC reports.

Becoming head teacher at Epsom College was "a really big change for my family," she told a student-run podcast in December. "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."

The family also got a new Labrador puppy named Bella.

In her last Twitter on Oct. 12, 2022, she expressed her elation that Epsom College was named Independent School of the Year 2022 for Student Wellbeing.

"It gets better every time I read it!" she wrote.

Police did not say how the family died or where exactly they were found.

The Telegraph reports that gunshots were heard shortly before the family's bodies were found.

'Wonderful Teacher, Delightful Person'

The deaths have rocked the usually quiet town.

"We're aware that this tragic incident will have caused concern and upset in the local community," Inspector Jon Vale, Epsom and Ewell's Borough Commander, said in the statement.

"While this is believed to be an isolated incident, in the coming days, our local officers will remain in the area to offer reassurance to students, parents, teachers, and the local community," he said.

"I would like to thank the school and the community for their understanding and patience while the investigation continues."

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Dr. Alastair Wells, Chair of the college's Board of Governors College said in a statement, "On behalf of everyone at Epsom College, I want to convey our utter shock and disbelief at this tragic news.

Emma Pattison (45)
John Wildgoose/Epsom College

"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," he continued.

"In time we will commemorate Emma and her family, in the appropriate way, and in line with the wishes of her family. But for now, we ask that we are all given the time, space and respect we need to come to terms with this tragic loss."

Julie Keller, the Head of Nottingham Girls' High School, commemorated her friend on Twitter, saying, "Heartbroken. My life was richer for having had Emma as a friend & colleague, the world is certainly poorer for her loss."

Surrey Police are still investigating.

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