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Epsom College head shot dead by her husband had planned to leave him, sister reveals

Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison, 45 and her seven-year-old daughter Lettie were both shot dead (Family handout/PA) (PA Media)
Epsom College headteacher Emma Pattison, 45 and her seven-year-old daughter Lettie were both shot dead (Family handout/PA) (PA Media)

The head of Epsom College who was shot dead by her husband alongside their seven-year-old daughter had planned to leave him, her sister has revealed.

Emma Pattison, 45, her daughter Lettie, and her husband George, 39, were all found dead within a property inside the prestigious school grounds, after he used a shotgun to murder them before turning the weapon on himself.

In a series of heartbreaking letters shared with The Sunday Times, Deborah Kirk acknowledges that Ms Pattison had been the victim of coercive control and domestic abuse, and claimed that she had been forced to isolate herself from friends.

Her sister has revealed that Ms Pattison had planned to leave her husband George  (John Wildgoose/Epsom College/PA) (PA Media)
Her sister has revealed that Ms Pattison had planned to leave her husband George (John Wildgoose/Epsom College/PA) (PA Media)

In a letter written two days after a police investigation update in September, she said: “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.

“Or perhaps it becomes part of the same internal echo. It seems that it was only when external, professional voices used the word abuse that she was able to listen, to have the perspective she needed. When someone entirely impartial called this what it was, the lens shifted and she realised that the damage would be in staying, not leaving.”

She added that her sister was going to be a “success story” and a “survivor”, and during a meeting the weekend before her death, it appeared she had decided to leave her husband for good.

“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. It is, perhaps, in better navigating the exit,” she wrote.

Ms Kirk also said that she had given her sister the book Stay or Leave, a guide on whether to remain in a relationship, and believed that she had read it.

The family were found dead in a property on school grounds (Getty Images)
The family were found dead in a property on school grounds (Getty Images)

In the letters, which were written at various stages of her grief, she notes that domestic abuse is often hidden from other family members and they are commonly shown only the best parts of their loved one’s abuser.

The family were discovered during the early hours of 5 February, after Ms Kirk received a distressed call from her sister to say that there had been an altercation between her and her husband.

By the time Ms Kirk and her husband arrived at their home, Mr Pattison, a registered shotgun owner, had killed them all.

The inquest into the deaths has been delayed from last October with the coroner still waiting for further disclosure from Surrey Police.