THE head of a prestigious private school told pupils her family had faced "big changes" just months before they were found dead.
Emma Pattison, 45, her husband George, 39, and seven-year-old daughter Lettie were discovered on the grounds of Epsom College, Surrey, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Police said the tragedy is understood to be an "isolated incident" with no third-party involvement.
Emma was only appointed the first female headteacher of the £42,000-a-year school five months ago.
She shared in December that it had been a large transition, involving two new jobs, a new house, a new school and a new puppy.
Emma told sixth form students on the school podcast Epsom Insight: "It has been a really big change for my family.
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"We've obviously moved house, we've bought 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 a new school.
"There has been a lot of change for us as a family, but it has been wonderful."
The "gorgeous" pup, a Labrador called Bella, joined the family days before the episode was recorded.
Emma, who is described as a "wonderful teacher" and a "delightful" person, recalled how Bella "barked all night" and apologised to her neighbours.
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Cops were called to Epsom College at around 1am on February 5.
There, they found the bodies of Emma, George and Lettie.
In a statement late on Sunday evening, the elite school, which was named independent school of the year in 2022, asked for privacy as the school community grappled with the shocking news and the loss of its head.
"Our thoughts, condolences and sympathies are with their families at this tragic time," a spokesperson said.
"The college is working with the police in what remains an ongoing investigation.
"We must now focus on the welfare and wellbeing of our pupils and staff, and work to ensure that they receive all the comfort, warmth and support required from the Epsom College community.
"The news is heartbreaking and we need time and space to come together and process these shocking events."
A fresh statement this morning said pupils and staff would "come together" today to process the loss.
Police said the family's next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers while an investigation is under way to establish the circumstances of their deaths.
Detective Chief Inspector Kimball Edey said: "On behalf of Surrey Police, my team, and I, I first want to express my sincerest condolences to the friends and family of Emma, Lettie and George, as well as to the students and staff of Epsom College, for their tragic loss.
"I want to give my assurance that we will conduct a thorough investigation into what took place last night, and hope to be able to bring some peace in these traumatic circumstances. I would ask that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time."
Inspector Jon Vale, Epsom and Ewell's borough commander, said: "We're aware that this tragic incident will have caused concern and upset in the local community.
"While this is believed to be an isolated incident, in the coming days our local officers will remain in the area to offer reassurance to students, parents, teachers and the local community.
"I would like to thank the school and the community for their understanding and patience while the investigation continues."
Cops said the three deaths have been reported to the coroner.
Tributes have flooded in for the headmistress, who "enriched children's lives".
Mum Sheena, whose daughter attends Croydon High School where Emma used to work, told the BBC: "She was slight but very formidable, she knew all of the pupils by name.
"She was exactly what you would want from a head teacher."
Dr Alastair Wells, chairman of the board of governors at Epsom College, said: "On behalf of everyone at Epsom College, I want to convey our utter shock and disbelief at this tragic news.
"Our immediate thoughts and condolences are with Emma's family, friends and loved ones, and to the many pupils and colleagues whose lives she enriched throughout her distinguished career.
"Emma was a wonderful teacher, but most of all she was a delightful person.
"In time we will commemorate Emma and her family, in the appropriate way, and in line with the wishes of her family.
"But for now, we ask that we are all given the time, space and respect we need to come to terms with this tragic loss."
And in an interview with School Management Plus last month, Emma was described as "fresh and forward-thinking, a far cry from traditional perceptions of aloof elitism in the independent sector".
She finished the chat by declaring: "It could be time to shape a really exciting future."
Emma became Epsom's first female head in September 2022 after six years as headteacher of Croydon High School in south London.
Boarding students at the college pay more than £42,000 a year and its alumni include Conservative MP Sir Michael Fallon, broadcaster Jeremy Vine and comedian Tim Vine.
Epsom College won the top prize at the Independent Schools of the Year Awards 2022, with judges calling it a "beacon of excellence".
The school was also named the winner of the Student Wellbeing Award at the October ceremony thanks to its "whole-school approach to mental health and the wellbeing of both its staff and pupils".
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More than 850 boys and girls attend the school, which was founded in 1853, and its acting head has been listed as Paul Williams.
Emma's husband George was a chartered accountant who was director of a management consultancy firm called Tanglewood 2016, according to Companies House.
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