Families speak of heartbreak at inquest into deaths of Plymouth shooting victims

Top L-R: Father and daughter, Lee and Sophie Martyn, and Kate Shepherd. Bottom L-R: Maxine Davison and Stephen Washington.

The families of the Keyham shooting victims have paid tribute to their loved-ones at an inquest into their deaths.

Gunman Jake Davison killed his mother Maxine, 51, after a row before he shot dead four others in a 12-minute attack in Plymouth.

His other victims were 43-year-old Lee Martyn and his three-year-old daughter Sophie, 59-year-old Stephen Washington and 66-year-old Kate Shepherd.

Lee Martyn - an 'adored' father

Rebecca Martyn lost her husband, Lee, who was a carpenter, and her daughter Sophie in the tragedy.

In a statement read to the court on her behalf, she described her husband as "happy and smiley" and her daughter Sophie as "fierce and unwavering."

She said: "Lee loved football, supporting his beloved Everton and played from a young age. He made friends easily. He worked at Princess Yachts. He loved the company of his colleagues and was happy in his job.

"He was happy, smiley and had a steady presence in the lives of all who knew him. He loved being the fun dad. Both our children utterly adored him. Sophie was able to wrap him around her little finger. He called her daddy’s princess."

Lee and Sophie Martyn were among the victims Credit: Family picture

Sophie Martyn - a 'fierce and unwavering' three-year-old

Sophie's mum Rebecca said her daughter was a "typical redhead" who was always in charge, fierce and unwavering.

"She knew what she wanted," she added. "She loved any opportunity to be active, was very keen on gymnastics sessions and totally fearless in the swimming pool.

"She loved her baby dolls and insisted on them being naked. Princess Ana from Disney’s Frozen was one of her favourites.

"My job involved long hours, so we always made the most of time off together."

Stephen Washington - a devoted family man

Mr Washington was married to Sheila and was a carer for his wife.

His family previously described him as a "devoted family man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and best friend".

Stephen Washington was one of five people shot dead by Jake Davison Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police/PA

In court today, his widow Sheila said: "I am still finding it hard to come to terms with how Steve died and the fact he is no longer with us."

"Never could I imagine I would lose him in such a horrendous circumstance."

Kate Shepherd - a 'vibrantly courageous' artist

Mrs Shepherd, known as Kate, was shot outside a hair salon on Henderson Place. She died from her injuries at Derriford Hospital.

She was married and friends described her as a “very talented artist”.

In court today, Kate Shepherd's eldest son George said: "She was colourful in her painting, textile designs and her clothing. She was colourful in her attitude, even in her language sometimes.

Katherine Shepherd, known as Kate, was the fifth victim of the tragedy

"She will be remembered as a vibrantly courageous artist, a fiercely protective mother, a loyal wife and a kind friend.

"She was a creative and compassionate lady with a great sense of humour.

He continued: "Art played a large role in Kate’s life. We inherited many village children and had many table workshops in bad weather. 

"Kate cared for her boys like a lioness. Her uninhibited fearless style was reflected in all her creations and making projects."

Maxine Davison - an "independent and free-spirited" woman

The court also heard from Davison's family, who told the inquest that they wished they could turn back time to prevent the tragedy from happening.

In a statement Josh Davison, the gunman’s brother, described their mother as a “complicated person and a contrast of many different things”.

“She was thoughtful but impulsive. Reserved and quiet on the one hand, creative, adventurous and able to attract attention, on the other,” he said.

Maxine Davison, the mother of the gunman, was his first victim

“She was very much an independent, free-spirited soul and really was one of a kind. Sometimes unpredictable and stubborn and very much dancing to the beat of her own drum.

“I think she was quirky and eccentric, a lovely woman, well-meaning and kind. Mum was also genuine and straight-talking.

“She was polite and never wished to harm anyone but if she didn’t take to someone, she found it hard to hide it. You could always rely on her to provide an honest opinion on something.”

The killings happened just weeks after Davison’s shotgun and gun licence had been returned by Devon and Cornwall Police.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has previously launched a criminal investigation into the Devon and Cornwall force’s firearms licensing unit.

As part of the investigation, two members of staff have been served with gross misconduct notices and an officer has been served with a misconduct notice.

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