Family of Plymouth gunman ‘wish they could turn back time’


Jake Davison killed five people, incuding his own mother, in a shooting spree in Plymouth in 2021 (Picture: PA/Getty Images)

The family of mass shooter Jake Davison has spoken of the devastation they felt after he killed five people including his own mother, an inquest has heard.

Davison, 22, killed his mother Maxine, 51, after a row and then shot dead four others, including a young girl, during a 12-minute rampage in Plymouth on August 12, 2021.

Three-year-old Sophie Martyn, her father, Lee, 43, Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66, were killed during Davison’s shooting spree.

The gunman then turned his pump-action shotgun on himself before police had a chance to apprehend him.

An inquest into their deaths is currently being held at Exeter Racecourse and is expected to last four weeks.

Josh Davison, the gunman’s brother, said his whole family was ‘appalled’  by Jake’s actions that day, and are still coming to terms with their grief.

‘We are grappling to understand and manage our own health, emotions and bereavement following the incident,’ Mr Davison told the inquest.

Davison was a self-described ‘incel’ who made numerous hate-filled posts about women and his mother online (Picture: PA)

‘Even deeper than that, we think we share the feelings of despair, hurt and loss of the Martyn, Washington and Shepherd families knowing that it was a member of our family who was responsible for their loss.

‘No words can describe the pain or heaviness of feeling this situation has caused.

‘If we had one wish, it would be that we could turn back time and allow everyone who had a part in the events leading up to this tragedy an opportunity to make changes to prevent it from happening at all.’

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

It was previously seized in 2020 when Davison assaulted two teenagers in a park.

Social media usage by Davison suggested an obsession with ‘incel’ culture – a misogynist movement of men who express hostility and resentment towards those who are sexually active, particularly women.

Davison made numerous hate-filled posts in incel communities on Reddit prior to the shootings in which he raged about his mother and his failure to find a girlfriend.

Davison killed five people during his shooting spree- including a young girl and his own mother – before turning the gun on himself (Picture: Getty)

Reports have since suggested his mother Maxine had been struggling to get help for her son after becoming concerned about his mental health.

A previous hearing heard she had once reported him to the counter-terrorism Prevent programme.

In the statement, which was read by the family’s barrister Nick Stanage, Josh Davison described his mother as a ‘complicated person and a contrast of many different things’.

‘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.’

‘Jake had autism and attended a school that focused on his needs. Mum was absolutely devoted to Jake and protective of him. He was very much the main focus of her life.’

‘Our involvement in this inquest is to help prevent this from happening in future; an event like this cannot and should not ever happen again.’

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