Julie Bindel Julie Bindel

Emma Pattison and the painful truth about ‘femicide’

Epsom College, where Emma Pattinson and her young daughter, were found dead (Credit: Getty images)

Emma Pattison and her seven-year-old daughter Lettie were almost certainly killed by her husband George Pattison. As so often happens with cases of family annihilation, George Pattison escaped any criminal sanctions by shooting himself.

Emma, who was 45, called a close relative last Saturday, hours before she and her daughter died, sounding ‘distressed’. We also know that a firearm, licenced to Pattison, was recovered at the scene. Police say they are treating the killings as a ‘homicide investigation’ and are not looking for anyone else in connection.

Emma had been working as a head teacher at Epsom College, in Surrey, for only five months when she died. She was the first female head of the college. Emma was, by all accounts, a brilliant teacher. ‘She was exactly what you would want from a headteacher,’ the mother of a pupil said.

‘Family annihilators’ as feminist criminologist refer to such men (because they are always men) are perhaps the most misrepresented of all killers. Since the perpetrators usually either kill themselves, or immediately confess, such cases tend to be solved quickly and disappear from the headlines. As a result, the police and courts do not need to scrutinise the backstory of these cases. Indeed, it is often left to journalists to dig deep into what happened in the build-up to these murders.

Emma Pattison had a brilliant career ahead of her

Typically, reporters will talk with neighbours – as they have done in this case – who tell them that the deceased appeared to have been a ‘happy family’. Those who knew the family might say there were no signs of what was about to take place. Sometimes they might add things such as rumours that the family were having ‘financial problems’, or that there might have been troubles within the marriage.

Either way, the killer is often portrayed as the perfect family man.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in