Triple killing at Epsom College sees back tightening of laws

Epsom College: Police cordon after family found dead

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The largest shooting association in the UK has said it would back “further targeted legislation” if the Home Office sees fit to tighten up Britain’s gun laws. This follows the shooting of Emma Pattison, head of Epsom College, and her daughter Lettie, which is believed to have been committed by husband George Pattison who was also found dead at the prestigious private school in Surrey.

The 45-year-old headteacher made a distressed call to her sister in the minutes prior to the deadly shooting, however by the time her relative arrived at the Pattison family home all three members of the household were dead.

Commenting on the incident, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) told “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy.

“The UK has some of the strictest firearms laws in the world. A series of rigorous police checks are carried out on people who apply for a shotgun or firearm certificate including background checks, medical checks and references. While incidents such as this one are very, very sad, they are incredibly rare.”

BASC emphasised that before discussions about gun law reform took place the “full facts” needed to be established and what was most important now was that the police were “given the time and resources to investigate the incident.”

However, BASC did note that if the Home Office saw fit, following the establishment of the full facts of the incident, to introduce tighter gun laws they could get behind the measures.

“BASC has and would support further targeted legislation where there is evidence that it could make a meaningful difference to public safety while not impeding on legitimate shooting activities. For example, BASC supported the introduction of medical markers on certificate holders’ medical records to ensure continuous monitoring.”

According to the Home Office’s guide on Firearms Licensing Law, the police can make “unannounced home visits” to gun owners’ property to “check the security” of the storage of their weapon. However such a visit can only be conducted based on “specific intelligence in light of a particular threat, or risk of harm”.

Mr Pattison notified Surrey Police of a “previous change of address” on February 2, days before it is thought he committed the deadly shooting of his wife and daughter. Surrey Police said: “Due to the short period of time between that contact and this incident, we have made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).”

Mrs Pattison became Epsom’s first female head in September last year, following a six-year stint as headteacher of Croydon High School in south London. Boarding students at Epsom pay more than £42,000 a year and its alumni include Conservative MP Sir Michael Fallon, broadcaster Jeremy Vine and comedian Tim Vine.

Mrs Pattison’s husband George was a chartered accountant who was director of a management consultancy called Tanglewood 2016, according to Companies House.

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The school will remain shut until after the half-term break, as police conduct a homicide investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Kimball Edey, senior investigating officer on the case, said: “This is an incredibly traumatic incident and we are working around the clock to investigate and understand the exact circumstances which led to this point.

“We understand the public concern and upset, and we will clarify what we can, when we can, while respecting the right to a level of privacy for the families of those who have lost their lives.”

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