Tributes paid to Surrey manager found dead with husband and daughter | UK News
Colleagues have paid tribute to headteacher Emma Pattison, who was found dead with her seven-year-old daughter and her husband at Epsom College in Surrey, amid reports that emergency services were alerted after gunshots fire had been heard.
Surrey Police have not released the cause of death for Pattison, 45, her daughter Lettie and her husband, George, 39, a chartered accountant and director of a management consultancy. The force said it was satisfied no one else was involved.
A member of staff called emergency services in the early hours of Sunday morning after hearing gunshots, according to the Telegraph, which said the Pattison home is surrounded by other homes occupied by teachers and staff .
The property is also located next to the school’s indoor shooting range, which appears to have been cordoned off Monday morning. A source close to the school told the Telegraph that the firing range contained no live ammunition.
The coeducational private school is known to have a long history of excellence in rifle shooting.
Pattison, who became Epsom College’s first female principal in September, was found with her husband and daughter at their home on the school grounds in the early hours of Sunday.
She was a “much loved and respected member” of the Girls’ Day School Trust community while at Croydon High School, where she had previously spent six years as headteacher, GDST chief executive Cheryl Giovannoni said. who described her “as a talented principal 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 at the helm of Croydon High School and the school will always carry the legacy of her inspirational leadership.”
Her husband was a director of a management consulting firm called Tanglewood 2016, according to Companies House.
In a student-led Epsom Insight podcast recorded in December, Pattison spoke about joining the school and described the “big changes” his family had recently undergone.
She said: “It’s been wonderful, in terms of the transition, it’s been a really big change for my family, so obviously we’ve moved house, we’ve bought a dog, I have a new job, my husband has a new job – which wasn’t supposed to happen, but did. And my daughter started a new school, so there were a lot of changes for us as a family, but it was wonderful, college supported me so much.
Dr Alastair Wells, chairman of the Epsom College board, said the news was met with “utter shock and disbelief”.
“Our thoughts and immediate condolences go out to Emma’s family, friends and loved ones, and to the many students and colleagues whose lives she has enriched throughout her distinguished career.
“Emma was a wonderful teacher, but above all she was a lovely person.”
Local MP Chris Grayling called the death an “appalling tragedy”, adding: “I know everyone locally will be shocked by what happened.”
Epsom College said on Twitter it was “heartbreaking” news, and that staff and students would pay homage to their “wonderful head” on Monday. The focus was on the welfare and well-being of students and staff.
More than 850 boys and girls attend the school, which was founded in 1853. It won first prize at the 2022 Independent Schools of the Year Awards, with judges calling it a “beacon of excellence”.
Boarders at the college pay more than £42,000 a year and its alumni include Tory MP Sir Michael Fallon and broadcaster Jeremy Vine.
Borough Commander of Epsom and Ewell Insp Jon Vale said: ‘We are aware that this tragic incident will have caused concern and upheaval in the local community.
“Although this is believed to be an isolated incident, in the coming days our local officers will remain in the area to reassure students, parents, teachers and the local community.”
Pattison was part of the Thomas Cook graduate program when she decided to change careers to become a teacher and “hasn’t looked back” since. She told the podcast she “absolutely loved” her time at Epsom College and described herself as a lifelong learner.
The mother-of-one told BBC News: ‘As headmistress she transformed the school and she did so many things that enriched the children’s lives.
“She was light but very formidable, she knew all the students by name. She was exactly what you would expect from a school principal.
In an interview with School Management Plus magazine last month, she was described as “fresh and forward-thinking, a far cry from traditional perceptions of aloof elitism in the independent sector”.
Surrey Police said they were contacted by the ambulance service and attended at 1.10am on Sunday where the three bodies were found. “An investigation is underway to establish the circumstances of their death. At this point, police are confident this is an isolated incident with no third party involvement,” police said in a statement.