Plymouth gunman's mum referred him to anti-terror programme before he shot her and four others dead

Jake Davison killed five people in a 12-minute attack in Plymouth before turning the gun on himself

Plymouth gunman Jake Davison's mother reported him to the Government's counter-terrorism programme years before he shot her and four others dead.

The 22-year-old killed his mother Maxine Davison, 51, at her home in Keyham before going out into the street and shooting dead four strangers in a 12-minute attack.

His victims included three-year-old Sophie Martyn and her father Lee, 43, who were killed in front of terrified onlookers as they walked their dog.

Davison then shot 59-year-old Stephen Washington in a nearby park before killing 66-year-old Kate Shepherd.

The apprentice crane operator then turned the pump-action shotgun on himself before armed police reached him.

A pre-inquest hearing at Plymouth Coroner's Court today (March 15) heard Maxine Davison contacted the Government’s counter-terrorism Prevent programme in November 2016 - before he applied for a shotgun licence.

Details of the referral were not disclosed during the hearing but will be a key area of examination in the inquest which will begin in January next year.

The killings happened just weeks after the shotgun and licence had been returned to him by Devon and Cornwall Police.

They had been seized last year after Davison assaulted two teenagers in a park. He admitted the offences and attended a voluntary Pathfinder programme.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating how the force approved his application and then later gave him back the licence and shotgun.

Davison applied for a shotgun certificate in July 2017 and after the application was processed by the force a certificate was issued to him in January 2018 that was valid for five years.

As part of the watchdog's investigation, two members of staff in the firearms licensing department involved in the granting of the shotgun certificate have been served with gross misconduct notices, while an officer has been served with a misconduct notice.

Police officers hunt for evidence after the deadly gun spree Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

Senior coroner for Plymouth and South Devon Ian Arrow said the inquest was likely to be held under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which widens the scope of the hearing.

Referring to the Prevent scheme, Mr Arrow said: “To deal with the matters of November 2016 being the disclosure re the Prevent scheme made by Mrs Davison.”

He added those running the scheme could be invited to be “interested persons” meaning they could be legally represented and have the right to ask questions of witnesses.

Mr Arrow said the inquest will also consider how Davison’s application for a shotgun was processed by the police, how the allegations of assault against him were dealt with and his referral to the pathfinder scheme.

The inquest will also consider the seizure of his shotgun and licence and return a few weeks before the shootings.

Davison’s contact with mental health services in May 2021 will also be examined and a later occupational health assessment.

The inquest will also consider the events of August 12, Mr Arrow said.

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.

Jason Beer QC, representing Devon and Cornwall Police, said the force is still actively investigating the events of last summer.

Tributes left in Biddick Drive Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

This includes examining Davison’s use of chatrooms on the social media site Reddit.

“A review of Jake Davison’s computer tower and mobile telephone showed he was an active member of Reddit forums,” Mr Beer said.

“Some of these were incel-related. Some of the forums were pro-incel and some were anti-incel.”

Mr Beer said police had secured some posts and they had asked Reddit for further data.

“It did so against a backdrop of Reddit almost immediately deleting Mr Davison’s account once the shootings and his links to Reddit were known about publicly,” he said.

“Reddit declined to assist in any dialogue for the provision of that material and said if you want the material you have to do it under the treaty of mutual legal assistance.”

Jake Davison Credit: Facebook

The inquest heard a peer review was also undertaken into Devon and Cornwall’s firearms licensing procedures by Durham Police, which has made a series of “indicative views”.

“Due to the force’s wish to identify promptly if there were any public safety issues that it needed to be aware of in its firearms licensing processes, policies and practices, a peer review was commissioned immediately,” Mr Beer said.

He said one of the recommendations was for a “more robust system” which automatically flags concerns to the firearms licensing unit without the need for human intervention by cross-checking databases.

Another was to review firearms licence holders who had “contention” and had weapons returned to them.

Mr Beer said the police had also commissioned psychological reports into spree killers, incel-motivated killers and “similarities or differences to Jake Davison and the prevalence or not of steroid abuse in the commission of violent crimes”.

In the wake of the shootings, the Home Office announced the police will now have to check someone’s medical history before issuing a gun licence.

All firearms applications must be accompanied by a medical document signed by a registered, practising doctor.

A further pre-inquest review will take place on December 19.