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Bastard, murderous men, and the myth of the "tragic" suicide:
Emma Pattison and her daughter Lettie are the victims of femicide
Emma Pattison and her seven-year-old daughter Lettie were almost certainly murdered by George Pattison, who then killed himself. Therefore, there is no sub judice law to prevent me from speculating on what happened that Saturday. As so often happens with cases of family annihilation, George Pattison escaped any criminal sanctions by shooting himself. We do know that Emma called a close relative the day she and her daughter died sounding ‘distraught’.
We also know that a firearm, licenced to Pattison was recovered at the scene. Emma had been working as a head teacher at a school in Epsom for only five months when she died. She was the first female head of the college. Emma was on course for a brilliant career.
“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.
Often, reporters will talk with neighbours who tell them that the deceased appeared to have been a “happy family”, and that he was a “nice man”. Sometimes they will add things such as rumours that the family were having “financial problems”, or that she was suspected of having an affair. Either way, the killer is often portrayed as the perfect family man. In fact, the term “tragic” is often used to describe these terrible cases.
Most media coverage often fails to acknowledge that homicides, committed by men, often come at the end of a long combination of domestic violence and abuse.
Over the years, philosophers as well as criminologists have taken a look at such “tragedies” and tend to absolve the murderer from his responsibilities and culpability, which they wouldn't do had he lived.
A more appropriate term for these crimes is not, in fact, murder/suicide, but femicide - the murder of females by men because they are female. I would wager a guess that Emma was planning on leaving Pattison, and he did the all-too common “If I can't have you, no one else will”.
I have lost count all of the times I have seen headlines reporting on such cases with the likes of: “They were united in death”, as though the perpetrator had carried out an act of kindness towards the deceased. These portrayals are very different compared to those where women kill their own children - these women are almost always portrayed as monsters.
The majority of women that die at the hands of partners and ex partners are those that were planning on or who had already left the family home. There are, of course those cases where men murder their own children and take their own lives during contact visits, or having abducted the children away from the mother. There is almost always a known history of domestic violence and abuse in these cases.
Often police, media, and even close friends will look for any reason to explain these femicides, and media reporting of these cases that I have been looking at over four decades often include details, such as the perpetrators’ financial problems or his apparent depression. people who know no better can be left with the impression that these murders were altruistic, almost kind acts, and come to believe that the victims are better off dead. the problems used to excuse the actions of these men are almost always of their own making family annihilation is the most sadistic, selfish and violent of all domestic homicides, because he can't bear the idea of leaving his wife and children behind to rebuild their lives without him; new lives in which they would almost certainly be happier.
Much has been speculated on about the fact that Pattison was a gun holder, and of course it is much more likely that victims of gunshot wounds will not survive. I would love to see an experiment in which no man in the UK is given a licence to hold a gun for any reason whatsoever for a year, and after that period of time we look at domestic homicide rates and whether they are affected. Male domestic violence perpetrators often kill women by strangulation, but guns make it far easier for them to kill more than one at a time. This is why a number of murder/suicides have been carried out by men with guns.
Rumour has it that Pattison was living apart from Emma and Lettie when they died. According to friends and colleagues of Emma, she was excited about the future, and now has none. And how terrible that the one person who knew what happened on that Saturday night will never be held to account.