Epsom College deaths update

The incident at an address within Epsom College in the early hours of Sunday, 5 February is now being treated as a homicide investigation.

Officers were called to the property at around 01:10am by the South East Coast Ambulance Service. On arrival they found the bodies of three people who police are confident are Emma Pattison (45), her daughter Lettie (7), and her husband George (39).

The deaths have been reported to the coroner for formal identification.

The family’s next of kins have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers. We ask that their privacy is respected at this difficult time.

An investigation is being carried out to establish the full chronology and circumstances of the incident. At this stage, officers are confident there is no third-party involvement and there is no wider threat or risk to the community.

A firearm was found at the scene and has been recovered by officers, however, causes of death will not be confirmed until post-mortems have been completed later this week.

We can confirm the firearm was licensed and registered to George Pattison.

We had contact with George on Thursday, 2 February after he notified us of a previous change of address, as is routine. 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).

We are aware of speculation regarding a firing range on the site. We can confirm this range does not form part of our scene or our inquiries. Any reporting to suggest otherwise is inaccurate.

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.

“We are cooperating fully with the IOPC in relation to the referral we have made, and we await the outcome of its assessment of what further action may be required. Until this has been completed, we will be unable to provide further details on a number of matters.”

Inspector Jon Vale, Epsom and Ewell’s Borough Commander, said: “I know this incident has caused upset and sent shockwaves through the local community. Although we are confident that this incident was contained to one address, and there is no risk to the wider public I fully understand the concern this can and has caused members of our communities. Therefore, the public can expect to see a heightened police presence in the local area in the coming days. If you are concerned about anything at all I’d urge you to approach an officer and discuss your concerns with them. They will be ready and happy to help you however they can.

“I would like to send my continued thanks to the school and our public for their understanding while the investigation progresses.”

[Epsom and Ewell Times adds: The BBC reported at 6pm 07.02.23 on R4 that Surrey Police believe that Mr. Pattison shot dead his wife and daughter and then killed himself.]

Surrey County Council Stands Against Scams

Surrey County Council has been officially accredited as a “Friends Against Scams” (FAS) organisation. FAS is an initiative run by the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team that aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering people to ‘Take a Stand Against Scams’. 

The accreditation follows on from some impressive work by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, which has seen them:

The impact of this work can be seen in the financial impact of their interventions which between April 2019 and December 2022 generated savings of £66milion.

In addition to the accreditation, Surrey County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities and Community Safety Denise Turner-Stewart officially joined the initiative as a “SCAMbassador”.

SCAMbassador’s protect the public from scams and the damage they cause by working with members of both their community and at national level to educate and support those who may be vulnerable to scams.

Scams affect millions of people across the UK and cost consumers an estimated £5-10 billion of detriment of each year. The people who are targeted are often in the most vulnerable circumstances and the impact on their lives is devastating – from large financial losses to severe emotional damage which leaves victims feeling intimidated, scared and afraid to be in their home.

Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities and Community Safety said: “I’m delighted to become an official SCAMbassador and to help Friends Against Scams continue their vital work in protecting the public against exploitative and deceitful fraudsters.

“Anyone can become a victim of scams but they often target the most vulnerable in society and these criminals and fraudulent practices must be stopped.

“I would urge residents and business alike to attend one of the online FAS training webinars delivered monthly by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards Service and if you are plagued by nuisance and scam telephone calls email trading.standards@surreycc.gov.uk to see if you are eligible for a free call blocker.

“Scams damage lives, affecting people both financially and emotionally, but together with the Friends Against Scams Team, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and our very own Trading Standards Team, we will do all we can to keep residents safe.”

Louise Baxter, Head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team said: “The tactics used by criminals leave victims socially isolated and ashamed of telling their friends and families what’s really going on behind closed doors. “It is fantastic to have such an influential figure in the community to help us tackle this problem on a local, regional and national level and I would encourage all those that are interested in showing their support to join the campaign and be part of our growing SCAMbassador network.”

Surrey County Council News Service

No laughing matter for Council

Epsom and Ewell Borough Council has brought in a Public Space Protection Order following a consultation with residents about psychoactive substance abuse in the Borough’s open spaces.

Image Philafrenzy CC

The Order covers psychoactive substances not otherwise fully controlled by national legislation. The most significant example of this is currently nitrous oxide, known as laughing gas, which is typically used in the catering industry and supplied in small metallic cannisters or larger pressurised tanks.

A Public Space Protection Order makes it an offence to use or be in possession of these types of substances on public land. It will be in place two years initially and signs are being placed in hotspots around the Borough, including all parks, over the coming month.

Any person who fails to comply with this order without a reasonable excuse will have their material confiscated and risk a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 or a fine in court of £1,000. This will be enforced by both the police and the Council’s enforcement teams.

Councillor John Beckett, Chair of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee, said, “We have seen a considerable increase in the use of nitrous oxide cannisters in the Borough. There are real concerns from residents about the risks of this drug and the gateway effect to other dangerous substances. We want to alleviate the impacts of this drug by highlighting the adverse effects and provide a safe community for all residents in Epsom & Ewell. This public space protection order will provide powers to the police and our enforcement teams to issue fixed penalty notices in the event of a breach. We know our residents feel strongly about this issue and we thank them for their responses to our consultation.”

If residents are concerned about the presence of psychoactive substances in the Borough, they may report them via https://epsom-ewell.gov.uk/residents/online-forms?field_form_category_value=Report.
This Public Space Protection Order has been made under 59 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The Council has already located and seized substances from persons present in the stairwell of one of its carparks and carried out follow up work with them and their parents.

Surrey Police help end abuse victim’s ordeal

Man in cuffs

A woman who was married to a domestic abuser for 10 years said after he was sent to prison: “To the outside word they appear rational, they hide their abusive behaviour from everyone around them”.

After countless assaults, in 2017 she began documenting her injuries, which she recalls was “so that if he killed me, there would be a timeline of the assaults becoming more severe before my eventual death.”

Over the years, Joseph Alcock of Dorking, had left her with black eyes, facial injuries requiring a total of 30 stitches and even stab wounds. The final assault happened at the Prince of Wales Pub Alcock managed in Dorking on 6 September 2020, when he knocked her unconscious. She was later found alone by a member of the public.

The shock of this brutal attack led to her coming forward and working with Surrey Police officers from the domestic abuse team to secure evidence of six different assaults between 2017 and 2020.

After eventually pleading guilty to three counts of actual bodily harm and three counts of grievous bodily harm, Joseph Alcock, 43, was sentenced to five years and ten months’ imprisonment at Guildford Crown Court on Monday (9 January). He was also given an indefinite restraining order against her.

Passing the sentence, the Judge called Alcock a ‘violent bully’ and paid tribute to the victim’s bravery in attending court.

In a statement following the sentencing, she said: “I have waited two and a half years from my initial report to police to see a conclusion in court. However, I am glad I came forward and I would encourage other victims of domestic abuse to seek help too. You aren’t alone. I’d like to thank the police and prosecution for all their support and for securing a successful outcome. Even with every obstacle presented to them, they have always put my welfare first. I want to start rebuilding my life, after this period has consumed me for so long, I am hoping this is now the start of some form of closure for me.”

Detective Sergeant Tracey Muir, who investigated the case, said: “The fact that Alcock is behind bars is down to the bravery and tenacity of the victim, who has used her experience to encourage those in a similar situation to try to seek help and support. Domestic abuse is sadly prevalent in our society, and we must continue to work together as communities to stop abusers in their tracks and safeguard victims. If you suspect that someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, or if you’re experiencing domestic abuse yourself, please reach out to us.

“We have specialist support in place for victims, including dedicated support workers in place throughout the investigation and court process. If you aren’t ready to speak to us, reach out to one of our brilliant Surrey-based charities who can offer sanctuary and practical, as well as emotional, support.”

There is a range of information on the Surrey Police website, including:

The signs of domestic abuse
How to report domestic abuse and what will happen after your report
Where to find details of support organisations

Love trappers caught and jailed

Heart in a trap

Guildford Crown Court’s Presiding Judge sends online love fraudsters to prison.

Two people have been sentenced to a combined total of 11 years and nine months’ imprisonment at Guildford Crown Court today (23 December) for orchestrating a complex romance fraud scheme which conned five people out of over £200,000.

Using a variety of fake personas they would target victims through online dating sites, gaining their trust over a period of time by making them believe they were in a relationship, before asking for large sums of money under false pretences which they never intended to pay back.

Key to the scams were a series of elaborate and emotive excuses for needing money from the victims, ranging from the persona being held by Dutch customs when trying to return to the UK, all the way to being kidnapped, with money needed to ‘secure their release’.

In order to make their lies more believable, they would forge documents including death certificates and airline tickets. The victims were always falsely reassured that the money would be paid back, often with the promise that the persona was due to inherit hundreds of thousands of pounds and just needed a stop-gap loan until they had the funds.

In one case, a victim was defrauded over a period of 14 years before they were told by officers that the person they thought were speaking to wasn’t real and was in fact a scammer.

The investigation began after a Surrey victim came forward in 2020 and officers were able to trace bank transfers made by the victim straight to the pair’s door. Numerous devices were seized from their home address, leading to the discovery of a gold mine of evidence which showed the pair plotting, sharing account logins and fabricating stories together to manipulate victims with.

Working with City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, a further 179 victims of fraud were identified throughout the course of the investigation, with 80 linked to romance fraud, 22 to investment fraud and 77 who had had their identities or bank details stolen or shared. They are being supported by the City of London Police’s victim care unit. Officers also uncovered evidence of money laundering by painstakingly tracing bank transfers between multiple accounts, which fraudsters often do to make money as hard as possible to trace. In total, over £400,000 was found to have been laundered through their bank accounts.

Racquel Johnson and Frederick Diji

Fredrick Diji, 37, of Flaxman Road in Lambeth, was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud, concealing criminal property and possession of an identity document for improper means.

Racquel Johnson, 43, also of Flaxman Road in Lambeth, was sentenced to three years and nine months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to one count of money laundering.

On sentencing, Judge Fraser commented that both Diji and Johnson carried out a ‘truly callous conspiracy of significant scale’, adding ‘the harm you have caused has been devastating to so many’. Judge Fraser also praised Detective Constable Becky Mason’s ‘tireless’ work in investigating the case, labelling her diligence as ‘quite remarkable and most impressive’.

Detective Constable Becky Mason, who investigated the case, said: “Romance fraud is heartless and cowardly and has a devastating impact on victims, not only financially but emotionally as they find their trust has been exploited in the cruellest of ways.

“Diji had his routine down to a tee, and assisted by Johnson, they would work together using a number of fake personas to target victims online, love-bomb them with promises of meeting in person and declarations of love, before fabricating reasons for desperately needing money, telling the victims that if they really loved them they would help them out. It was the ultimate manipulation which preyed on people’s emotions and good nature.
I am incredibly grateful to each of the victims for supporting our investigation and I hope that today’s result gives them some sense of justice.”

Officers worked closely with online dating site Match where Diji and Johnson met several of the victims.
A Match spokesperson commented:

“At Match, the safety of our members is our highest priority. We are very sorry to hear about this case. We have a dedicated team monitoring security 24/7, deploying industry-leading technology and human checks to ensure user safety. We are constantly reviewing our safety methods and proactively communicate safe dating advice to our members and within our platform.

“We encourage everyone to take the same precautions when meeting people online, as they would if they were meeting through friends or in a pub, bar or public space. It is always best to keep conversations on the Match site, messaging service or app, so that there is an accurate record and any concerns can be quickly reported. We also have a ‘report this profile’ function prominently positioned.

“We strive to create a safe and friendly environment for all users. Match has a zero-tolerance policy for reports of serious offences and encourage anyone who has felt exposed to unsafe behaviour whether through our services or anywhere else, to speak to the police, so that the matter can be investigated and documented. We have co-operated with the police on this case, as part of our commitment to work with the wider industry to define standards and share information.”

To read more about the signs of romance fraud click here.

If you, or someone you know is vulnerable to Romance Fraud please report it online or call 101.

If you think you have been the victim of romance fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via www.actionfraud.police.uk

Are you emoji aware?


Over the past two weeks, Surrey Police has been raising awareness about the alternative meanings of emojis, which some young people may use to reference drugs and sexual behaviour.

Have you ever wondered how children use emojis in their day-to-day life? Does that snowflake really mean snow is on the way? Are fruit emojis always only used to reference fruit?

These are some of the questions we have been addressing in our most recent campaign, which is focused on being ‘emoji aware’.

Throughout the campaign, we have aimed to educate parents, carers, teachers and those working with children on this secret world of emojis and their more concerning meanings. While this campaign might sound worrying, and we want to highlight the serious meaning these emojis can take on, we are keen to stress that the use of these emojis on their own does not necessarily mean a child is involved in drugs. Instead, this may be seen as part of a bigger picture of a change in their behaviour. Other changes may include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Changes in their mood
  • A change in their performance at school

Them becoming increasingly secretive

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Hyder said: “We really want parents and guardians to feel confident to have a conversation with their children about this, if and when they need to. We have shared a lot of information around emojis over the past couple of weeks, both on social media and with our local partners to help raise awareness and start the discussion around this.

“Our focus on this doesn’t stop with the end of this initial campaign. We will be continuing to work with local partners to extend the conversation around emojis. We’re also aware that emojis and their alternative meanings are something that will constantly change, and so our work and research into this will continue.”

For guidance on starting these conversations and support if parents or guardians are concerned, there are a number of resources and services that can help, some of which are specifically for children:

This isn’t a campaign that starts and finishes within this two-week window. Instead, this is about encouraging parents and guardians to have conversations with their children at a time that works for everyone involved. What is vital in these discussions is trust. We’re very aware that checking phones could break down this trust between a parent and their child, and therefore we are not suggesting parents do this. Instead, we want people to be aware of what these emojis mean, in case they do happen to see them.

Surrey woman’s coercion experience shared

Bullied woman

The powerful testimony of a woman who was subjected to years of coercive controlling behaviour has resulted in a man being handed an eight-year restraining order against her at Guildford Crown Court on 19 December.

Image – is purely for illustration. Neither the defendant or victim are represented.

The court heard how Douglas Martin, 42, of Winkfield Lane in Windsor, would intimidate and bully her so often as their relationship progressed that she has been left with acute anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Over a period of around three years, Martin would control where she could go, who she could be friends with and what belongings she was allowed to have, throwing away items he believed were not acceptable in their shared home.

Chores had to be done to a standard he would accept and he would become verbally abusive when things weren’t done his way. The jury saw evidence of the extent of Martin’s controlling behaviour after they were shown a photo of a Christmas tree she was made to decorate in the garden because he wouldn’t allow her to have decorations inside the home. In addition, the court was played recordings of Martin’s relentless berating and aggressive verbal abuse, used to belittle, exert control and a sense of superiority.

Martin was given an 18-month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months, after the jury found him guilty of coercive controlling behaviour. He was also ordered to attend rehabilitation programmes, including a course on how to build healthy relationships.

In an impact statement, she relayed how constantly living in fear made her feel physically ill with heart palpations and nausea. Speaking after the trial, she said: “Coercive controlling behaviour is happening to so many people who don’t realise they are experiencing domestic abuse. I want those people to read what I have been through, recognise similarities in their own relationships and understand that it is not a situation they simply have to endure. They can find the strength to say enough is enough and trust in the fact that there is help, support and justice out there.”

Investigating Officer Natalie Ridley said: “Today’s result is testament to the courage of the victim in coming forward, disclosing the abuse and giving evidence in court, which is ultimately what secured Martin’s conviction.
If someone is continually behaving in an abusive way towards you which controls how you live any aspect of your life, that is coercive control. You do not have to suffer alone or in silence. We have specialist support in place to help you and will do everything possible to pursue offenders and hold them to account for their appalling actions.”

Some of the signs of coercive controlling behaviour include:

· controlling your finances, such as taking your wages or benefits or only allowing you a small allowance
· preventing you from working or studying or controlling your ability to go to work
· controlling what you wear
· controlling when you can sleep and eat
· repeatedly putting you down such as telling you that you are worthless
· isolating you from friends or family

You can find more information on how to report domestic abuse, including coercive controlling behaviour, and details of support organisations here.

Body found in Ewell house fire

Thorndon Gardens Ewell
An investigation is underway following the discovery of a body at an address in Thorndon Gardens, Ewell, in the early hours today (12 December).
Police were called to the address around 1.50am following reports of a fire at the address.
A 44-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and remains in custody.
A search of the property is underway and the investigation remains ongoing.
Epsom and Ewell Borough Commander Inspector Jon Vale, said: “A number of people called emergency services to report the fire and we would like to thank them for their prompt action. We realise that this incident would have caused a great deal of distress and concern in the local community and we would like to reassure you that an investigation is underway to establish exactly what happened.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Surrey Police quoting PR/45220134346.

Alcohol reading on duty very non-PC

A former Surrey Police Constable has been barred from the profession after turning up to work still smelling of alcohol from the night before. The force’s chief constable found that the former officer had committed gross misconduct and would have been dismissed from the force, had he still been serving.

An accelerated hearing held on November 7 found that former Police Constable Jurgen Lovbakke, who was based in Guildford, turned up for duty smelling of alcohol, which he had drunk the night before.

An outcome notice from Surrey Police said the breath readings were over the “prescribed limit of fitness for duty of 13mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath”. The force’s Chief Constable Gavin Stephens found that the PC Lovbakke’s actions amounted to gross misconduct. It was also found he had breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to fitness for duty and discreditable conduct.

A Surrey Police statement said: “Had the officer still been serving, they would have been dismissed without notice and so they were placed on the College of Policing Barred list to prevent future employment in law enforcement or similar.”

Dogs against knife crime

Officers have visited 14 schools and colleges across Surrey over the past week to raise awareness and tackle the grass-root causes of knife crime as part of national police campaign, Operation Sceptre. The visits provided officers with a chance to speak to students about misconceptions around the law when it comes to carrying a knife and scenario-based learning to highlight the dangers it can bring. 

One of the colleges to take part in the campaign welcomed officers and trainee police dogs, Toby and puppy Yaris, to their campus to learn about the role police dogs play in tackling knife crime.

As part of the campaign, officers also carried out a number of area sweeps, searches and warrants, which in conjunction with the Force’s knife amnesty bins, resulted in the recovery of 76 knives.

Detective Chief Inspector Amy Buffoni, who leads on tackling knife crime for Surrey Police, said: “We work hard all year round to tackle knife crime and we are encouraged to see that the number of knife crimes in Surrey has reduced year-on-year since 2019. This doesn’t mean that we can rest though. Op Sceptre provides us with the opportunity to focus our efforts and reignite conversation around the devastating impact of knife crime on communities, families and young people. Vital to this work is building relationships with local communities so that the message carries down to the next generation. One life lost to knife crime is one too many and it simply should not happen.”

Do you have information about someone who carries a knife? You can help save a life by reporting what you know to police. Even tiny details can stop knife crime and keep your community safe. You can call on 101 or if you’d prefer to remain anonymous, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or alternatively visit their website here

Worried about a young person? For help and support as well as advice on how you could help them, visit #knifefree here.

If you are in danger or need immediate help, always call 999.

Save a life and surrender your knife. No questions, no arrest. Surrey Police have knife banks located at the following locations in Surrey:

  • Staines Police Station (22 Kingston Rd, Staines, TW18 4LQ) – open every day, 8am to 10pm
  • Woking Civic Centre (Civic Offices, Gloucester Square, Woking, GU21 6YL) – open every day, 8am to 10pm
  • Guildford Police Station (Margaret Rd, Guildford, GU1 4QS – open every day, 8am to 10pm
  • Elmbridge Council Offices (Civic Centre, High St, Esher, KT10 9SD) – open Monday to Friday, 8.45am to 5pm
  • Reigate Police Station (79 Reigate Rd, Reigate, RH2 0RY) – open every day, 8am to 10pm