Plymouth shooting: dad of gunman Jake Davison warned police not to grant him a gun licence, inquest hears

Plymouth shooter Jake Davison was granted a gun licence weeks before he went on a killing spree - shooting five people dead including his own mother.

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The father of gunman Jake Davison said he tried to warn police not to give his son a shotgun licence because he lived in a “volatile environment”.

Incel Davison used a pump-action Weatherby shotgun to kill five people, including his mother, on August 12 2021. He killed his mother Maxine, 51, after a row at their home before shooting dead Sophie Martyn, three, her father Lee, 43, Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66, in the Keyham area of Plymouth before turning the gun on himself.

His father Mark Davison said there were frequent arguments between Maxine and her son where the 22-year-old would punch holes in doors and that he tried to warn police about his behaviour. Devon and Cornwall Police revoked Davison’s licence and seized his shotgun in 2020 after Davison assaulted two teenagers in a park, but returned them in 2021 – weeks before the killings.

Giving evidence at an inquest in Exeter, dad Mark said: “I tried to stop that boy getting a shotgun because he lived in a volatile environment. They did say they would get back in touch with me, I think I spoke to support staff.

Davison had had his shotgun and firearms licence returned to him in July after they were revoked at the end of 2020 (Photo: William Dax/Getty Images/PA)Davison had had his shotgun and firearms licence returned to him in July after they were revoked at the end of 2020 (Photo: William Dax/Getty Images/PA)
Davison had had his shotgun and firearms licence returned to him in July after they were revoked at the end of 2020 (Photo: William Dax/Getty Images/PA)

“I thought the fact I made a complaint would be enough, I chased it up at a later date. I said I was Jake’s dad, he lived in a volatile environment. I explained about the doors broken and said he was autistic and I said I have a criminal record, what would stop me from getting that gun? I tried the absolute best to get the police’s attention, that’s why I said that.”

Mr Davison, a fisherman by trade, said he expected police to take his complaint abut the shotgun seriously, adding: “I was confident that it would be looked into. We are not talking about a water pistol here, I was pretty sure that in itself would be enough that it would be investigated.”

Davison had applied for a shotgun certificate in July 2017, with one issued by Devon and Cornwall Police in January 2018 which was valid for five years. He then had it revoked in 2020, before getting it returned in the summer of 2021 - not long before his rampage.

Earlier in the inquest, it emerged that Davison had declared his autism on his application and gave consent for his GP to share information with police about his medical history. The inquest had also heard that his gun licence review should have been assessed by a senior manager - as he was classed as “high risk” - however it was not.

Mark Davison described how his son took a keen interest in guns and knew he was looking at them online, though he did not know anything about computers himself.

Jake Davison was thought to be an incel - an online misogynist subculture which refers to “involuntarily celibate”. It is made up of males who believe they will forever be unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one.

Mr Davison said he tried to warn Maxine, who he had separated from, about their son’s ability to soak up information, which he put down to his autism. He explained: “Ask him anything about a military weapon, he would know about the rounds in a magazine. I thought that was an autistic thing, not to the extent that he would do what he did.

“I did encourage him at a young age to join the Army. I said you have to get fit, I did not realise that he probably would not have passed a medical anyway. But he liked guns, lots of kids have hobbies. He would soak up information really well. I said to Maxine, ‘you have got to try minimise what he is taking in (online)’, but she shot me down in flames. I didn’t really address it anymore.”

The hearing continues.

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