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Plymouth shootings: timeline of events heard in inquest

Jake Davison expressed a hatred of his mother in online chatrooms in the weeks leading up to her murder.

This week the inquest began to determine a timeline of events.

The police officer on the case said in court Jake Davison argued with his mother before shooting her dead in their home.

He only knew one of his victims personally, his mother.

Maxine Davison

Jake was a apprentice crane operator, 22, then went on to kill another four people with a licensed shotgun before turning it on himself and he died from a “shotgun wound to the head”.

Opening the inquests into the deaths of the gunman’s five victims on Thursday, senior coroner for Plymouth, Ian Arrow, called on evidence from the senior investigating officer at Devon and Cornwall Police.

The inquest hearing is being broadcast online to members of the press.

The inquest has confirmed the full names of the deceased: Maxine Betty Davison, age 51, Lee Raymond John Martyn, age 43, Sophie Iris Martyn, age three, Stephen John Godfrey Washington, age 59, and Katherine Jane Shepherd, age 66.

The firearm used was a shotgun.

The five people died on August 12, 2021 in Plymouth.

After leaving his home Jake seen a father and daughter in the street and gunned them down mercilessly.

Lee Raymond John Martyn was born on December 12, 1977 and worked as a carpenter-fitter by occupation.

He was married.

Mr Arrow reports the circumstances of his death as this: “While out walking with his daughter Sophie and the family dog, Lee was shot by an assailant not known to him.”

The initial medical cause of death given is “gunshot wounds” to the torso and head, pending histology and toxicology reports.

The fourth victim was Stephen Washington who was walking his dog in a park at the moment he was murdered.

In a statement released on Sunday evening, Stephen Washington’s family said:

“Following on from the recent attack on our community on Thursday 12 August, we, the Washington family, would like to issue the following tribute to Stephen.

“Stephen was a friendly, outgoing person. He would help anyone at the drop of a hat, he loved his animals and was often seen walking his two huskies in the area.

“Stephen was a devoted family man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and best friend.

“Since the devastating events a couple of days ago, our world has been turned upside down in the blink of an eye and he will be solely missed by everyone who knew him.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the families also affected by this tragic incident.

“Devoted wife Shelia described Stephen as her soul-mate and said: ‘Fly high, you’ve earnt your angel wings.’

“We request that our family is left alone to grieve the loss of Stephen in private. We trust that this is respected.”

Kate Shepherd 66 was a artist and was the final victim before Jake then shot himself dead.

Katherine, who was married, had been shot while walking along Henderson Place.

She received immediate medical attention before being taken to Derriford Hospital where, despite the best efforts of medical staff she passed away at 10.55pm that same night.

Her cause of death was given as a shotgun wound to the abdomen.

Nearly half of all the gun licenses revoked by Devon and Cornwall Police last year were thought to be due to “mental health related” reasons.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request was made earlier this year asking a series of questions to the Alliance Firearms Licensing Department of Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police.

As part of its cost cutting process the two forces created one department a number of years ago.

The FoI applicant first asked how many firearm and shotgun certificates were issued for each year between 2016 and 2020.

In 2020: 327 firearms applications were granted, 568 shotgun applications granted, 2,174 firearms renewed and 6,130 shotguns renewed.

Devon and Cornwall Police is currently being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after they confirmed that Jake Davison’s shotgun certificate and a shotgun were returned to him in early July this year. The certificate and shotgun had been removed from Mr Davison by police in December 2020 following an allegation of assault in September 2020.

The IOPC’s regional director David Ford said last week it would be focusing on Davison’s firearms licensing history “and its impact on the tragic events of Thursday 12 August.”

Police increasingly believe that anti-women propaganda may have fuelled anger in the Plymouth gunman before his attack, with his links to the “incel” movement a main strand of their investigation

The Guardian newspaper obtained CCTV footage of Davison from the day before the attack, showing him pacing around a convenience store for more than five minutes.

The shopkeeper who recorded the clip said it suggested Davison “clearly was not in his right mind”.

The footage, captured just before noon last Wednesday, shows Davison picking up items, putting them back and scratching his head.

“I think he’s confused.

He doesn’t know what he wants, and what he wants to do, it is not a big shop,” said the shopkeeper, who asked not to be named.

Davison spent more than five minutes in the shop near his workplace before finally deciding what to buy – a £1.35p Monster energy drink and a 39p Biscolata biscuit.

He regularly bought food and soft drinks there but never talked to anyone or lingered for long in the store, the shopkeeper said.

Mental health issues were not known to police when Davison was granted a firearms licence in 2017, nor when it was reinstated last month after his gun had been taken away following a fight.

Vigil

People were tearful as they gathered at a vigil following the fatal shootings in Plymouth.

Hundreds placed flowers and candles in North Down Crescent Park in Keyham on Friday evening to remember those who were killed by gunman Jake Davison.

Many began congregating while it was still light to place the tributes on the ground close to where the incident began on Thursday.

As it grew darker, mourners stood with candles in their hands, many given to them by a group of people at a table, while others shone the torches on their phones.

They paused briefly and stood silent, lifting their lights high in the air in a moment of unity following the atrocity.

As the evening went on, a sea of tributes were left on the grass – including notes paying tribute to the victims.

People could be seen with tears in their eyes and clasping their hands together, while others comforted each other.

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