Tue | Jun 6, 2023

Ja-born man suspected of killing British wife, daughter before suicide

Published:Thursday | February 23, 2023 | 1:15 AMLester Hinds/Gleaner Writer
Emma Pattison, 45; her husband George, 39; and their daughter Lettie, seven.
Emma Pattison, 45; her husband George, 39; and their daughter Lettie, seven.

Police in Surrey, England, are continuing their investigations into a suspected case of murder-suicide in which a Jamaica-born man is alleged to have killed his British wife and their seven-year-old daughter before turning the gun on himself.

Dead are 45-year-old Emma Pattison, head teacher of Epsom College; her 39-year-old husband George Pattison, a chartered accountant; and their daughter Lettie.

Mr Pattison is believed to have carried out the murders at the family home on the school grounds before taking his own life on February 5.

The police have confirmed that a firearm which is licensed and registered to Pattison was found at the scene.

Investigators, however, indicate that the official causes of death will not be confirmed until post-mortem examinations have been completed.

Mr Pattison was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and married Emma in 2011. He was a graduate of Durham University.

He ran his own business, often working from home, and owned luxury cars, former neighbours said.

He started Tanglewood 2016 Ltd in October of that year, having previously been a director of Rees Charles Capital Limited. He was the company’s sole director, and was the largest shareholder with 112 shares in the company and his wife owning 20 shares.

Although the business had £38,048 in assets, it faced tax and social security costs of £30,350 and bank loan and overdraft of £7,535, leaving the company with barely any cash reserves.

The accounts for the business, published in May last year and covering the year ending October 31, 2021, show Mr Pattison also had an outstanding loan from his company of £14,076.

Pattison’s uncle, Frederick Cameron, 83, told The Mail newspaper that the tragedy came as a “huge shock” to the suspected killer’s family.

“He didn’t strike me as anyone who would do anything of that nature,” said Cameron.

Five months ago, Mrs Pattison was appointed the first female head teacher of Epsom College, an independent private school founded in 1855. The co-ed school was founded in 1855 and describes itself as being consistently among the UK’s leading schools, based on exam results.

Prior to working at Epsom, she spent six years as the head teacher of Croydon High School in south London.

She is understood to have called a relative some time late on Saturday, February 4.

By the time the family member arrived in the early hours of Sunday, February 5, all three were dead.

In December, Mrs Pattison told a podcast run by students that 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.”

The school was closed for two weeks after what it described as the “incredibly distressing” details emerged about how Mrs Pattison died. Classes resumed this week after the midterm break.

In a letter to parents, according to BBC reports, acting headmaster Paul Williams said: “Now is a time for families to come together and try and process this shocking news.”

The chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust, of which Croydon High School was a member, said Mrs Pattison “had this way of relating to people, she had such humanity”.

“She really understood what they were going through, and she just worked so hard. She was so ambitious for the girls in her school and had this mission to make girls’ education forward-thinking and inspiring.”

Former colleague and friend Cheryl Giovannoni said Mrs Pattison was “adored” and a “real inspiration to those around her”, according to news reports.

The Surrey Police say an investigation is being carried out to establish the full chronology and circumstances of the tragedy.

“These events have been shocking and distressing for everyone involved. We continue to support the wider family with specialist officers and request that, having been subject to widespread local and national attention, they are afforded a level of privacy during this difficult time,” said Detective Chief Inspector Kimball Edey, a senior investigating officer.

The Surrey Police had made routine phone call to Mr Pattison three days before the tragedy regarding his gun licence, after he notified them of a change of address. However, due to the short window between that contact and the deadly incident, a referral was made to Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The IOPC later said that having “reviewed the recent and past contact Surrey Police had with Mr Pattison regarding his firearm licence and [we] have decided no investigation is required”.

It is understood that the couple was not known to the Surrey Police.