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Warning: This article contains distressing content that some readers may find confronting.

A headmistress at a private school in the UK made a distress call to a family member just hours before she was found dead, a report has claimed.

School principal Emma Pattison, the head teacher of private school Epsom College in Surrey, England, was found dead alongside her 39-year-old husband, George, and seven-year-old daughter Lettie on the school grounds earlier this week.

As an investigation into their deaths has commenced, the BBC has reported that Emma made a frantic phone call to a relative with concerns about her partner.

By the time the worried relative arrived at the house, which is surrounded by other properties occupied by college staff and is close to the prestigious school’s rifle range, all three were dead.

Police have yet to disclose the official cause of their deaths, but are confident no one else was involved in the “isolated” incident.

Detectives confirmed a firearm registered to George, of which he had a license for, was found at the scene and they are treating the tragedy as a double murder and suicide.

Detectives suspect George killed his wife Emma, 45, and little Lettie before taking his own life.

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.”

The community is reeling from the tragedy, as devastated neighbours who knew the “lovely” family shared how “heartbroken” they are.

One person said, “It is just shocking and unimaginable.”

Chloe Rathbone, a nursery worker who looked after Lettie, told The Times, “I am utterly so heartbroken over this awful news.”

“They were such a lovely family and Lettie was perfect in every way, everything you could have wished for in a little girl.”

Don’t go it alone. Please reach out for help.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au

Headspace: 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au

Image credits: Getty Images / epsomcollege.org.uk

This article first appeared on Over60.