UNITED KINGDOM: The head teacher of Epsom College has been found dead at the school with her husband and seven-year-old daughter.
Police found the bodies of Emma Pattison, 45, her daughter Lettie, seven, and her husband, George, 39, on the grounds of the Surrey co-educational day and boarding school. Officers were called to Epsom, which formerly had Queen Elizabeth as its patron, at 1am on Sunday.
Surrey police said it was believed the deaths were an isolated incident and there had been no third-party involvement.
Detective Chief Inspector Kimball Edey said: “On behalf of Surrey police, my team I first want to express my sincerest condolences to the friends and family of Emma, Lettie and George, as well as to the students and staff of Epsom College, for their tragic loss. I want to give my assurance that we will conduct a thorough investigation into what took place last night and hope to be able to bring some peace in these traumatic circumstances.
“I would ask that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”
Inspector Jon Vale, Epsom and Ewell’s borough commander, said: “We’re aware that this tragic incident will have caused concern and upset in the local community. While this is believed to be an isolated incident . . . our local officers will remain in the area to offer reassurance to students, parents, teachers and the local community.”
Epsom College won the Independent School of the Year award for 2022, after judges said it was a “beacon of excellence” and showcased the benefits of an independent education.
Pattison joined the school at the start of that academic year, taking over from Jay Piggot after a ten-year tenure. She said the award was an incredible honour, adding: “The founding principles of the school, benevolence and excellence, are two things we live by every day. We put focus on time, space and heart and spirit to give all the young people in our care everything they need to become the best version of themselves.
“This is a real privilege to be named the best of the best. I am incredibly proud to be head and we will display this award with real pride.”
The judges said they were hugely impressed by the evidence of the whole-school approach to mental health and the wellbeing of its staff and pupils.
Epsom College is renowned for mixing academic success with an exceptional student experience and has a reputation for rugby excellence.
Notable alumni include the broadcaster Jeremy Vine and his brother Tim, the comedian known for his role in the sitcom Not Going Out, Nicholas Witchell, the BBC’s royal correspondent, and George Lowe, the former English rugby union player.
The school’s website says Paul Williams is to be acting headmaster.
Dr Alastair Wells, chairman of the college’s board of governors, said: “On behalf of everyone at Epsom College 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. 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.”