Keyham inquest: Jake Davison had an 'obsession' with guns as a teenager

Jake Davison is responsible for one of the worst mass shootings in the UK

An inquest into the Plymouth shooting has heard Jake Davison, who shot and killed five people in August 2021, had an "obsession" with guns as a teenager.

Davison killed his mother Maxine after a row, then shot dead four others in a 12-minute attack before turning the gun on himself.

Three-year-old Sophie Martyn, her father, Lee, 43, Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66, died on the evening of 12 August in the Keyham area of the city.

Davison's GP, Dr Benjamin Dawson, told the jury an assessment had been compiled in 2013 by the child and adolescent mental health services after an incident at Davison's school.

The report said they had discussed his obsession with guns at length with Jake and his mother.

It said guns were his sole interest and he spent much of his time researching and writing about guns.

However, the report found that at that time, although he was displaying some traits that might be considered a risk, he did not pose a risk.

Jake Davison shot and killed five people in Keyham before turning the gun on himself

Dr Benjamin Dawson from St Neots Surgery in Plymouth went on to tell the inquest jury he had received a letter from the Devon and Cornwall Police's firearms licensing department asking him for medical details and whether he had any concerns about Jake Davison being issued a shotgun licence.

The letter stated that if he did not respond within 21 days they would assume he had no concerns and issue the licence.

He said he had never received a letter like this before and took advice from the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Local Medical Committee before replying the next day.

Dr Dawson wrote to them and said that he declined to provide the information requested because it fell outside of his medical expertise.

He told the jury that to give that type of opinion, he would have had to carry out a personality disorder test and he was not qualified to do that.

There had been a report in a newsletter distributed to doctors across Devon which talked about "concerns from doctors" about requests for their input in the issuing of shotgun licences.

This said this was clearly a request for medical opinion rather than just a request for facts and as such should come from someone who was suitably qualified.

This would be a GP who had been qualified under section 12 of the Mental Health Act and very few doctors had this qualification. Dr Dawson did not have this qualification.

He told the jury he heard nothing else from the police about the application.

He added he was not told it had been issued, was not told that it had been revoked and was not told that Jake Davison had the guns returned to him.

Dr Dawson told the jury that he had been Jake Davison's GP and had seen him a number of times over the years. He said that Jake Davison had been diagnosed as autistic in 2011.

A report found that he had:

  • Emotional and behavioural difficulties

  • Was exhibiting rigid thinking 

  • Obsessional behaviours towards violence and killing

  • Was struggling to differentiate between fantasy and real life.

Before he began giving his evidence, Dr Dawson addressed the members of the families of all of those who lost their lives in Keyham in August 2021.

He said: "On behalf of myself and my colleagues at St Neots surgery.

"The pain you have endured over the best part of 18 months and continue to endure is unimaginable and the quiet dignity you have shown throughout this inquest has been inspirational."

The inquest continues.

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