Plymouth shooting: Gunman Jake Davison shot five people after arguing with mother, inquest told

Jake Davison Credit: PA Media

A gunman shot dead five people after a row with his mother, an inquest has heard.

Jake Davison, 22, killed his mother Maxine Davison, 51, at her home in Plymouth before going outside and shooting dead four people he did not know in a 12-minute attack.

Three-year-old Sophie Martyn and her father Lee, 43, were shot dead in front of horrified onlookers as they walked their pet dog in Biddick Drive.

Davison then shot Stephen Washington, 59, in a nearby park, before shooting Kate Shepherd, 66, on Henderson Place.

The apprentice crane operator then turned the gun on himself before armed officers reached him.

Police forensic officers investigating the Davison shooting

During a 10-minute hearing on Thursday 19 August, Ian Arrow, senior coroner for Plymouth, Torbay and South Devon, formally opened the inquests into Davison’s victims and received evidence from police of identification and the brief circumstances of their deaths.

Detective Steve Hambly, the senior investigating officer, told the hearing all five had died from shotgun wounds during the attack on Thursday 12 August. He said the results of histology and toxicology tests were pending.

He said police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

Mr Hambly said Mrs Davison, a former trawler woman, died at her home address in Biddick Drive, in the Keyham area of the city.

“The circumstances of her death are that Maxine sustained fatal gunshot wounds following an argument with her son,” he told the court.

Mr Hambly said Mr Martyn, a married carpenter, was shot dead in Biddick Drive. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

“The circumstances of his death was while walking with his daughter Sophie and the family dog, Lee was fatally shot by an assailant who was not known to him,” the officer said.

The inquest heard Jake Davison shot his mother after they argued Credit: Jake Davison/PA

Referring to Mr Martyn’s three-year daughter, the detective said: “While out walking with her father Lee and the family dog, Sophie was fatally shot by an assailant who was not known to her."

The hearing was told Mr Washington, who was a carer for his wife, was shot while out walking his dogs in parkland close to Biddick Drive.

Mr Hambly said: “Whilst out walking his dogs, Stephen was fatally shot by an assailant not known to him."

The final victim of Davison’s rampage was married artist Katherine Shepherd who was fatally shot on Henderson Close.

Floral tributes left outside an address in Biddick Drive as police stand guard Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

Mrs Shepherd, who was known as Kate, was taken to Derriford Hospital where she died that evening, the inquest heard.

“Katherine was shot by an assailant not known to her while walking along Henderson Place,” the detective said.

“Katherine received immediate medical attention and was conveyed to Derriford Hospital. Despite best efforts of medical staff Katherine sadly passed away."

The coroner adjourned all inquests and fixed a provisional date for pre-inquest reviews on December 9.

As well as the coroner’s investigation, two other inquiries are already under way into the shootings.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is examining the decision by the Devon and Cornwall force to return Davison’s shotgun certificate and weapon to him just weeks before the killings after they were seized following an allegation of assault.

The National Police Chiefs Council is also leading an investigation, in conjunction with the local police and crime commissioner, into the force’s firearms policies and procedures.

Floral tributes left in Keyham following the shootings Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

Meanwhile, the Government will be introducing new statutory guidance, including asking doctors to undertake medical checks on anyone applying for a licence, as well as inquiries into social media usage.

The Home Office has previously asked all police forces in England and Wales to review their current firearm application processes, as well as assess whether they need to revisit any existing licences.

Davison received mental health support during the coronavirus lockdown and had been in contact with a telephone helpline service in Plymouth run by the Livewell Southwest organisation.

Social media usage by Davison suggested an obsession with “incel” culture, meaning “involuntary celibate”, as well as an interest in guns and the US.

Reports have suggested Davison’s mother had been struggling to get help for her son, having become concerned about his mental health.

A sixth inquest will be opened separately into the death of Jake Davison on the afternoon of Thursday 19 August.