'Lettie was perfect in every way': Nursery staff who looked after Epsom head's ... trends now
The little girl who was found dead with her parents on the grounds of a prestigious school at the weekend was 'perfect in every way', a woman who used to look after her said last night.
Headteacher Emma Pattison, her husband George and their seven-year-old daughter Lettie were found dead in their home on the school grounds at 1am on Sunday.
Emergency services were called after a staff member at the award-winning independent school reportedly heard gunshots.
Surrey Police, which has reported their deaths to the coroner, said the tragedy was an 'isolated incident' with 'no third-party involvement'.
Chloe Rathbown, 27, a nursery worker who used to look after Lettie, told The Times that she was heartbroken over the death of the seven-year-old.
Emma Pattison, 45, was found dead with her husband George, 39, and seven-year-old daughter Lettie after police were called yesterday. The family is pictured together
Mrs Pattison with her daughter Lettie. The seven-year-old has been described as a 'little angel' and 'perfect in every way' following her death on Sunday morning
'They were such a lovely family and Lettie was perfect in every way.'
John Wildgoose, the photographer who captured the family just last month for the school's announcement of her head-ship, said Lettie was a 'little angel' and that the family had an 'obvious bond' and big plans for the future.
Previous neighbours of the couple described Ms Pattison as a warm presence and said they were shocked to hear of the deaths of a 'normal, happy family'.
One told the Telegraph: 'You used to hear her playing in the garden, she was always asking them questions and just seemed like a happy, inquisitive little girl.'
Another woman who lived locally added that Lettie was particularly fond of her dog: 'She was just a typical, well brought-up, lovely little girl. It's just tragic.'
Surrey Police confirmed that the family's new pet Labrador, Bella, was being looked after by relatives.
Friends of the couple and former business associates of Mr Pattison were too upset to talk when approached by the Mail last night.
Mr Pattison was a 'successful' chartered accountant known by friends for his 'fast cars', though he was said to be 'much quieter' than his wife.
They owned a Range Rover and a BMW 8 series, which were seen parked on the driveway as police conducted enquiries yesterday.
The family had recently moved out of their £1.5million Surrey house to live in the sprawling detached Edwardian house in which they were found dead.
They had lived in the four-bedroom property while Mrs Pattison was head teacher at Croydon High School, another prestigious independent school a few miles down the road.
Mrs Pattison was previously the headteacher of Croydon High School and graduated from the University of Leeds
The headteacher, who was described by the parent of a former pupil as 'slight but very formidable', had taken up the role just five months before her death
Epsom, which charges boarders up to £42,000 a year, was the 2022 Independent School of the Year.
Its alumni include BBC presenter Jeremy Vine and BBC Royal Correspondent Nicholas Witchell.
Pupils of the school are understood to have been terrified to return to the college premises where there continues to be a significant police presence.
Parents were told early this week that discussions about temporarily closing the school were ongoing.
It is unlikely that the site will close completely as the school has students from abroad.
A service was held for Ms Pattison and her family on Monday and the school offered its condolences in a statement.
A source told The Telegraph a member of staff called 999 on Sunday morning after hearing gunshots in the school.
But police have confirmed that the gun range, despite being a stone's throw away from the family home, is 'not part of the crime scene'.
It is believed that no live ammunition is kept at the range and that guns are kept in a secured armoury.
The family's house is next to the school's indoor rifle range and both were cordoned off by police on Monday.
Forensics officers have been seen going into the home and a blue tent has been set up nearby.
The rifle range, which is just seconds away from the family home on foot, is not part of the crime scene, police said on Monday
Surrey Police said it is believed the tragedy is an 'isolated incident' and there is 'no third-party involvement'. The family home on the school grounds is seen at the top of this image
Epsom has a long history of shooting and boasts a state-of-the-art eight lane shooting range which can be tried out by guests for £15.
Its armoury contains small-bore and full-bore rifles and the college has won the Ashburton Shield 15 times, more than any other school.
The head of shooting is David Nuttall, who was formerly in charge of shooting at Sedbergh School in Cumbria.
Shooting in schools and at clubs has to be approved by the Home Secretary and there are strict requirements for the storage of firearms and ammunition.
The school emphasises that there are many positive skills to be learnt from shooting sports, including concentration, self-discipline and sportsmanship.
The school issued a statement on Monday calling Mrs Pattison's death 'shocking and tragic', while former colleagues mourned the death of a 'talented headteacher' and 'dear friend'.
In December – four months after becoming the school's first female headteacher – Mrs Pattison told a pupil podcast that she was 'absolutely loving' her time at Epsom.
'It's been very busy but absolutely wonderful. The college have been so supportive and everyone has been very, very welcoming,' she said.
The only suggestion of any problems was the pressure the move had put on her family.
'In terms of transition it's been a really big change for my family,' she said.
'So we've obviously moved house, we've got a dog, I've got a new job, my husband's got a new job, which wasn't meant to happen but did, and my daughter has started at a new school.
'So there's been a lot of change for us as a family, but it's been wonderful.'
Mrs Pattison also spoke about her approach to life, saying she wanted to 'grow, learn, explore and live life to the fullest'.
She then spoke about her hobbies, including playing the piano and jogging, and how she liked learning. 'There is something about being a lifelong learner,' the teacher said.
'And if you're a reader and a modern linguist who likes going and talking to people and exploring different versions of life, I think that fits in with someone who always wants to grow, learn, explore and, I suppose, live life to the fullest.'
Epsom College paid tribute to Ms Pattison on Monday and said the school would be 'coming together' to mourn her death
Mrs Pattison shared a photo of her with a colleague after Epsom was named Independent School of the Year
Mrs Pattison's first job after graduating from the University of Leeds with a BA Hons in French and English Literature was with the Thomas Cook graduate training programme.
But rather than being able to travel the world as she expected, she found herself mainly based in Bromley, south London, which was not 'quite the sparkly lights of where I'd imagined I'd end up'.
In the podcast, Mrs Pattison described how she got into teaching after flicking through a copy of the Times Educational Supplement at a coffee shop.
'I thought, why am I doing something I absolutely hate? This is much more fun.'
Mrs Pattison said she 'hadn't looked back' since going into teaching, adding that 'working with you people keeps you young, they keep you energised'.
She took her first teaching job in 2002 at Lutterworth College in South Leicestershire, before stints at private Caterham School in