Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison 'wanted to leave husband' before she was killed, sister claims

Murdered Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison 'wanted to leave her husband', her sister claims
Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison, 45, and her seven-year-old daughter Lettie.Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison, 45, and her seven-year-old daughter Lettie.
Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison, 45, and her seven-year-old daughter Lettie.

The Epsom College headteacher who was shot dead by her husband in a suspected murder suicide wanted to leave him, her sister claims. Emma Pattison was killed in February by her husband at their home, alongside their seven-year-old daughter, Lettie.

Both are believed to have been murdered by 39-year-old chartered accountant George Pattison before he killed himself. The trio were found dead at their home within the grounds of the private boarding school in Surrey on February 5 after Emma, 45, made a distressed call to her sister.

In a letter she wrote to her sister that was published in The Sunday Times, Deborah Kirk said she had been with Emma the week before she was killed, when she 'made up her mind to leave' her husband. She said she considered Emma's relationship with her husband to be "abusive" while alleging that she was the victim of coercive control.

She wrote: "I am trying to figure out what the lesson is here. It does not, for us, lie in ensuring they decide to leave – because she had, courageously, got that far. I looked forward to having my sister back. I looked forward to her having a loving relationship and looking back at this with amazement that she endured it for so long."

Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison, 45 and her seven-year-old daughter Lettie.Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison, 45 and her seven-year-old daughter Lettie.
Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison, 45 and her seven-year-old daughter Lettie.

Surrey Police said George legally owned a gun that was discovered at the scene of the tragedy and had been in contact with the force just days before the killings about his shotgun licence to change his address. It was reported that Emma had contacted a close relative with concerns about her husband in the hours before the killings, and when they arrived at the house they found all three members of the family dead.

The incident occurred not long after she was appointed headteacher at the prestigious Epsom College. Boarding students at the college pay more than £42,000 a year and its alumni include Conservative MP Sir Michael Fallon, broadcaster Jeremy Vine and comedian Tim Vine.

While Emma's neighbour described them as a "lovely family", Mrs Kirk claimed her sister was a victim of coercive control. She wrote: “I did see the relationship as abusive. I did and I told her so. I think though, the sound of any voice of a caring loved one saying the same thing over and over again is something one becomes deaf to.

She said she wrote the letters to her sister after receiving a "harrowing" update from Surrey Police about the investigation into the death of her family members. She added: "We thought we knew it all but we did not. We heard the story of our dearest girls and what they had suffered not just that evening but prior to it and it has introduced me to a new level of suffering."

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.