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Police feared invading incel gunman’s PRIVACY: Officers ‘did not check his social media history’ before handing back shotgun ahead of Plymouth rampage that left six dead

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Police feared invading incel gunman's PRIVACY: Officers 'did not check his social media history' before handing back shotgun ahead of Plymouth rampage that left six dead
  • Police feared invading incel gunman’s PRIVACY: Officers ‘did not check his social media history’ before handing back shotgun ahead of Plymouth rampage that left six dead
  • Friends of killer’s victims as well as the Gun Control Network and Plymouth MP Luke Pollard called for answers
  • Meanwhile a former top prosecutor said he should have been on a police watchlist before he killed five people
  • Nazir Afzal, ex-chief prosecutor for the North West, said he was ‘exactly the type of person to keep an eye on’ 
  • It comes after video emerged showing shooter casually walk across a Plymouth street towards his final victim

Police did not bother searching for Plymouth incel murderer Jake Davison‘s warning sign rants before handing his shotgun back to him because it would ‘invade his privacy’, it was claimed tonight.

Within hours of his murderous rampage on Thursday night, a disturbing series of YouTube videos emerged in which the gunman, under the user name Professor Waffle, fantasised about being the ‘Terminator’ from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

He also spoke of his belief in the ‘blackpill’ philosophy of the ‘incel’ community, a fatalistic and misogynistic world view that your position in life cannot change.

But comments tonight from Shaun Sawyer – Devon and Cornwall Police’s chief constable – that sifting through the videos would infringe on the killer’s rights have sparked fresh calls from MPs for more rigorous background checks before guns are returned.

Mr Sawyer told the Sun: ‘We take and return firearms on a not irregular basis when people have emotional crises or we receive reports from family members, then they can be returned.

‘What we don’t do, because firearms licencing is a lawful thing, is trawl the internet looking at people’s lives. That’s an invasion of privacy.’

Tory MP Tim Loughton said in response: ‘It’s a matter of public record. It’s a misunderstanding of social media to suggest it would be invading their privacy.’

It comes as it was also revealed that Davison’s shotgun was confiscated last year over a skatepark attack on a 16-year-old boy that allegedly saw him smack the teenager in the face, it was revealed tonight.

Pressure has grown on Devon and Cornwall Police this weekend amid questions over why the killer was granted a licence for his weapon, and why it was returned to him last month, having been taken away following an incident last September.

Details of this incident have now come to the surface, after it emerged the same force issued images of a man – now identified as Davison – that they wanted to speak to in connection with an alleged assault at a skate park in the city.

Officers have received reports that a 16-year-old boy was approached by a man in the seated area of the Central Park venue and smacked in the face on the evening of September 16.

Police appealed for information in tracking down the suspect, following an attack which is said to have caused the teenager visible injury.

Davison, who is recognisable in the images released by police last October, had his shotgun confiscated in the aftermath of the alleged assault.

Less than a year later, however, it was returned to him after he attended an anger management course, and within mere weeks, the 22-year-old would carry out his atrocity that left five victims dead.

Meanwhile, it was claimed that Davison also spat at and hit a girl who tried to break up the clash, to which he yelled: ‘I f***ing hate women’.

Caroline Reilly, a friend of the mother of the 16-year-old allegedly attacked told the Sun: ‘He just walked up to them and started punching one, kicking him in the head.

‘A girl tried to intervene to say, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ and he spat in her face and said, ‘You can go to hell’.

‘If the girl had not intervened he would have carried on. He hit her and spat at her and said, ‘I f***ing hate women’.’

Police last year issued images of a man - now identified as Davison - that they wanted to speak to in connection with an alleged assault at a skate park in the city
Police last year issued images of a man – now identified as Davison – that they wanted to speak to in connection with an alleged assault at a skate park in the city
Davison, who is recognisable in the images released by police last October, had his shotgun confiscated in the aftermath of the alleged assault
Davison, who is recognisable in the images released by police last October, had his shotgun confiscated in the aftermath of the alleged assault
Less than a year later, however, it was returned to him after he attended an anger management course, and within mere weeks, the 22-year-old would carry out his atrocity that left five victims dead
Less than a year later, however, it was returned to him after he attended an anger management course, and within mere weeks, the 22-year-old would carry out his atrocity that left five victims dead

It comes as disturbing new footage shows the gunman crouching over one of his victim’s bodies during the horror attack.

A car’s dashcam picked up the grisly scenes as Davison looms over the woman while shocked residents appear to be calling the police.

Meanwhile a former top prosecutor said the shooter should have been on a police watchlist before he killed five people and himself on Thursday.

Nazir Afzal, who was previously chief crown prosecutor for the North West, said Davison was ‘exactly the type of person the authorities should be keeping an eye on’.

The police chief investigating the mass shooting was confronted by an angry local on why his force had given back Davison’s pump-action shotgun after taking it away.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer was challenged by 78-year-old former MoD armed security guard Stewart Parfitt who asked why the firearm was returned last month.

Davison’s shooting spree left five people dead – as well as himself – and was Britain’s first ‘incel’ mass shooting, named after a violent online subculture of ‘involuntary celibates’, who have an inability to find a sexual partner.

Today, his sister spoke of how she had been unable to comprehend the fact that her brother had murdered their mother Maxine, before taking four more lives, including that of a three-year-old girl.

She told a friend: ‘I’m devastated, I haven’t been able to take it all in, it’s just too much.’

The friend told MailOnline: ‘She is heartbroken, her brother has not only shot and killed their mother but then taken his own life and if that isn’t bad enough is responsible for killing four innocent people, including a little three-year-old girl.

‘She’s lost two members of her family and needs time to grieve, which is difficult because she’s had so many people knocking at her house. She’s had to move away temporarily.

‘When I saw her, she looked so shocked still and really tired and withdrawn. You can see the effect this horrific incident has had on her.

‘The one positive thing is that she isn’t alone, she has her boyfriend Shane who has been looking after her and providing a shoulder to cry on. He’s been a tower of strength.’

The sister’s other brother himself left a heartfelt tribute to his mother this afternoon, by updating his Facebook profile picture to one of the two of them together.

In other developments:

  • Friends said Davison’s mother had begged the NHS and police to give him urgent mental health treatment;
  • Neighbours said his father Mark had previously told the police his son’s gun should be taken away from him;
  • The police watchdog is also probing what information Devon and Cornwall Police had about Davison’s health;
  • Boris Johnson said that the issue of how the killer came to legally own a gun should be ‘properly investigated’;
  • The Prime Minister branded the mass shooting in Plymouth on Thursday as an ‘absolutely appalling’ incident;
  • Plymouth residents last night held candlelit vigils for the five victims killed in the shooting spree on Thursday; 
Jake Davison who shot multiple people and then himself last night was a YouTuber who ranted about being a 'fat ugly virgin'

Jake Davison who shot multiple people and then himself last night was a YouTuber who ranted about being a ‘fat ugly virgin’
Adopted Sophie Martyn, 3, and her father Lee, 43, (pictured) were shot by Jake Davison at random. Lee's wife Becky is pictured right. Witnesses have told how Lee died while trying to shield his daughter from the gunman
Adopted Sophie Martyn, 3, and her father Lee, 43, (pictured) were shot by Jake Davison at random. Lee’s wife Becky is pictured right. Witnesses have told how Lee died while trying to shield his daughter from the gunman
Sophie and Lee were rushed to nearby Derriford hospital, where Lee's wife Becky works, but both passed away despite the medics' best efforts. Sophie was pushing a toy pram when the gunman struck
Sophie and Lee were rushed to nearby Derriford hospital, where Lee’s wife Becky works, but both passed away despite the medics’ best efforts. Sophie was pushing a toy pram when the gunman struck
Jake Davison's mother Maxine  was the first to be killed. She and other relatives are claimed to have begged the police and NHS to help him with mental health problems
Jake Davison’s mother Maxine  was the first to be killed. She and other relatives are claimed to have begged the police and NHS to help him with mental health problems
66-year-old Kate Shepherd was Davison's final victim, and was gunned down by Blush hair salon in Plymouth
66-year-old Kate Shepherd was Davison’s final victim, and was gunned down by Blush hair salon in Plymouth
Jake Davison then moved on towards a nearby wooded area where he shot and murdered dog walker Stephen Washington, 59, (above)
Jake Davison then moved on towards a nearby wooded area where he shot and murdered dog walker Stephen Washington, 59, (above)
Home Secretary Priti Patel and Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, Shaun Sawyer, visiting the tributes in Plymouth today
Home Secretary Priti Patel and Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, Shaun Sawyer, visiting the tributes in Plymouth today
Plymouth residents last night came together for a candlelight vigil at North Down Crescent Park after the local community was rocked by the shooting spree
Plymouth residents last night came together for a candlelight vigil at North Down Crescent Park after the local community was rocked by the shooting spree

‘Police gave shotgun back to gunman after ‘anger management class’ one month before rampage’

Police are facing mounting questions about why the killer behind Britain’s worst mass shooting for more than a decade was free to own a weapon – as it was revealed his licence was returned just a month ago.

Gunman Jake Davison, 22, murdered his mother Maxine, 51, in her Plymouth home with a pump-action shotgun before going out into the street and killer a further four innocent people.

The bodybuilder, who had posted rambling videos about being ‘beaten down’ on social media, said nothing during the 12-minute rampage through a quiet residential street before turning the gun on himself.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said they would investigate Devon and Cornwall Police over Davison’s possession of a shotgun and shotgun certificate.

The legally held weapon had been taken from him in December 2020 following an allegation of assault last September.

It was returned to him in July after he attended an anger management course after which police classed him as being fit again to possess the three-shot shotgun.

Confirming a mandatory referral from Devon and Cornwall Police yesterday morning, IOPC regional director David Ford said announced an investigation into the shooting and ‘police contact with Jake Davison prior to the incident’.

This includes the force’s role and actions regarding firearms licensing, he said.

Mr Ford said: ‘After assessment of the referral we have determined we will carry out an independent investigation focusing on Jake Davison’s firearms licensing history and its impact on the tragic events of Thursday August 12.

‘We will examine what police actions were taken and when, the rationale behind police decision-making, and whether relevant law, policy and procedures were followed concerning Mr Davison’s possession of a shotgun.

‘The investigation will also consider whether the force had any information concerning Mr Davison’s mental health and if so, if this information was appropriately considered.

‘It appears the force’s response to reports of the shootings was very prompt and having reviewed information currently available, we are not intending to investigate the Devon and Cornwall Police response to the shootings.

‘This will be kept under review as more information emerges. However, the investigation will explore whether there was any causal link between the arrival of police and Mr Davison apparently shooting himself.’

Mr Ford added: ‘It has not yet been established whether the shotgun returned to Mr Davison was used in yesterday’s shootings.’

According to The Telegraph, Davison had claimed that he had the shotgun for sports use and had the licence reinstated after he attended an anger management course.

Today it emerged that the gunman worked out at a special gym which helped people with their mental as well as physical health.

He used to regularly attend the Ford Community gym near his home, where trainers also give advice on self-esteem so people can ‘improve how they see themselves’.

Davison used to spend ‘hours’ working out and would only lift weights, according to a fellow gym user, who said: ‘He was quiet, didn’t say much at all.

‘He’d go and find the heaviest weights and lift them, he was a big strong lad.

‘But if I went down for a big session at the gym, he’d always still be there when I left.

‘This was about two years ago, I don’t know if he still went but it’s the kind of place he would go to, it’s not a big commercial place.’

The gym was set up by couple Peter and Brydie Bruce.

In a 2019 interview with the Plymouth Herald, the couple said they were driven by a ‘passion to help others improve their mental health, as well as their physical health.’

Brydie, who is a Mental Wellbeing Coach and MHFA Youth Mental Health First Aider, said that the gym ‘isn’t just about getting fit, it’s also how about people see themselves.’

When approached by MailOnline today at their home, Peter said: ‘I’m not going to talk about anything whatsoever. The gym is closed today and will be for a few days.’

It comes as friends of victim Lee Martyn, who died alongside his daughter Sophie, said: ‘If he had issues why the hell was he allowed to have a shotgun?’

The Gun Control Network, which helped ban handguns, said: ‘The important question is how did he get the gun and why was he given a licence. It is not about his motivation but what was wrong with the system that we can put right.’

Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News: ‘Well it’s a very good thing there’s already an investigation into how the perpetrator got a gun licence given back to him very recently.

‘I think the wider question is how on earth did he get a gun licence in the first place, what background checks were done. I’m glad there’s the investigation already into why the licence was returned.

‘I do think there are wider questions here and that could involve a review of the gun licencing laws because there are other questions here that need to be addressed.’

Today, Home Secretary Priti Patel told the community of Keyham, Plymouth: ‘You’re not on your own.’

The Conservative MP visited North Down Crescent park on Saturday afternoon to add a bouquet of flowers to a growing floral tribute in the peaceful park – which overlooks Biddick Drive, where the shooting happened.

Ms Patel spoke with community leaders, including chairman of the Keyham Neighbourhood Watch Kevin Sproston, to assure them that they had a ‘great deal of support’.

She said: ‘I can imagine how shattering this was for everybody, seeing the scale of what was going on, and the volume and response of the emergency services.

‘But it is important to recognise that these things, thankfully, very, very rarely happen. This will not define Keyham.

‘Seeing the way the support has helped bring people together and look after each other has been, and will continue to be, so important.’

Addressing the Home Secretary, Mr Sproston likened the incident to ‘Keyham’s September 11’, and said: ‘Every single person in Keyham knows exactly where they were when this happened.

‘The hurt is deep, and we need some help in order to look after the people in our community.’

Ms Patel responded: ‘That’s absolutely understandable. The implications, the impact of this will be long-standing.

‘It’s a very sad time, very tragic. I think in the aftermath, so many people will be affected.

‘People will have seen things that, quite frankly, in all our lifetime we would never, ever want anybody to witness or experience. It’s very hard.

‘But you are not on your own, there is a great deal of support.’

The Home Secretary declined to answer any questions put to her around gun control.

Davison first murdered his own mother, Maxine, at her home nearby, before going outside and randomly killing schoolgirl Sophie Martyn, her father Lee, 43, and dog walker Stephen Washington. He then crossed a road to a hair salon where he shot and fatally injured Kate Shepherd, 66
Davison first murdered his own mother, Maxine, at her home nearby, before going outside and randomly killing schoolgirl Sophie Martyn, her father Lee, 43, and dog walker Stephen Washington. He then crossed a road to a hair salon where he shot and fatally injured Kate Shepherd, 66
A woman lays flowers with tributes in Plymouth, Devon, where five people were killed by gunman Jake Davison in a shooting on Thursday
A woman lays flowers with tributes in Plymouth, Devon, where five people were killed by gunman Jake Davison in a shooting on Thursday
Members of the public place flowers at Royal Navy Avenue on Saturday afternoon in Plymouth two days after the horror shooting spree
Members of the public place flowers at Royal Navy Avenue on Saturday afternoon in Plymouth two days after the horror shooting spree
Kev Sproston, a member of the local neighbourhood watch team, told her the mass shooting was 'our September 11'. Pictured: The public laying flowers today
Kev Sproston, a member of the local neighbourhood watch team, told her the mass shooting was ‘our September 11’. Pictured: The public laying flowers today
During Ms Patel's visit, Chief Constable Sawyer was challenged by 78-year-old former MoD armed security guard Stewart Parfitt who asked why the firearm was returned to Davison last month. Pictured: The public laying flowers today

During Ms Patel’s visit, Chief Constable Sawyer was challenged by 78-year-old former MoD armed security guard Stewart Parfitt who asked why the firearm was returned to Davison last month. Pictured: The public laying flowers today

But Luke Pollard, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton, and Shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA, said that the people of Plymouth deserve ‘clear answers’ as to how the gunman got a firearms licence.

Mr Pollard said: ‘I want to see answers to two very simple questions – why did this happen, and how did this happen?

‘I want to see a proper, thorough investigation as to how the shooter got a firearms licence, and why he was given back that gun. That’s the question that the people in this community have.

‘When I heard what had happened, I was a bit broken anyway – but when I saw the news that the gun had been returned to him, I was even more so.

‘We have been through an enormously difficult few days, and those difficult days are going to continue well into the future.

‘That’s why we need to make sure we’re getting clear answers to those questions. This community deserves the truth.

‘If there are problems with the system, I want to see those problems being improved and repaired.

‘But more than that, I don’t want to see any other community, anywhere in Britain, going through what we have over the last couple of days.

‘We’ve got an entire community grieving here, we’ve got families grieving. We’ve got a three-year-old killed. We need to have proper answers here.’

Meanwhile, the people of Keyham have been left reeling in the aftermath of the shooting – with even those who didn’t know the victims turning out to lay flowers and candles in North Down Crescent park.

Debbie Ackland, 55, a mental health support worker for the NHS, said she has had a ‘constant headache’ since the shooting happened.

She said: ‘I just haven’t been able to get rid of my headache since it happened.

‘I work for NHS social services, and as soon as I heard the names of the little girl and her dad, I knew who the mum was and that she worked for the NHS.

‘I haven’t had any dealings with the family personally, but it’s just terrible. It’s devastating.’

Debbie, who grew up in Keyham, added: ‘I was in the park here when the emergency services arrived.

‘I was just about to put my three grandchildren in the playground when all the helicopters came in.

‘There were police walking around with dogs, it was so surreal. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.’

When asked what she thought of Mr Davison having a firearms licence, Debbie said: ‘I deal with people with mental health problems every day, it’s one of the things we deal with in adult social care.

‘It’s very sad, they need help. We do what we can, we refer them to the immediate crisis team – it’s pretty much all we can do.

‘I do know that if people have got a mental health background, they wouldn’t be issued that firearms licence anyway. So I don’t know whether that’s something they’re looking into.

‘You just don’t know who you’re living next to, what people are thinking, what they’re doing.’

But Debbie said: ‘The support has just been brilliant. I went into work on Friday and they had counselling set up for all the staff that had been involved. Everyone has really come together.’

And Hayley Locke, 37, who also works for the NHS in an admin role, was another woman who came down to the park to pay her respects.

She said: ‘I don’t know any of the victims, but when I heard that the little girl’s mum also worked for the NHS, it really hit me hard.

‘We’re obviously a massive staff, but we all care for each other, we look after each other in the NHS, and somebody in our Trust is going through hell now.

‘I just think it’s a really tragic thing that’s happened, and I wanted to pay my respects.’

Speaking about Mr Davison’s firearms licence, Hayley added: ‘You don’t know the circumstances around it, but they must have thought it was okay to give him his licence back – although whether he convinced them of that, I don’t know.

‘But it sounds to me like he shouldn’t have had one. Having read about some of his social media posts, it sounds like he had a few problems.

‘I don’t really want to talk too much about him, to be honest. It’s the people who have lost their lives, and their families, that I feel most for.’

Meanwhile, a mother who visited the park with her eight-year-old son, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘It’s just horrifying. I just don’t understand it.

‘There’s not enough mental health support out there anyway, but I think that somehow some boxes have been missed here.

‘I think if he had had the gun taken off him in the first place, I don’t understand how he’s been given it back.

‘He must have had some sort of mental health issue, because you don’t just do that for no reason. But if he did, then why has he got a gun licence?’

And another woman, who also did not wish to be named, agreed that Mr Davison should not have had the gun.

She said: ‘He shouldn’t have had it in the first place. This is Britain we’re talking about, not America.

‘I’m not for guns at all. Why did he need to have it?

‘I think we’re all in shock. It’s just one of those ones where I can’t find the right words to say – I think I just need to be here to pay my respects.’

Davison was stripped of his gun in December following an alleged assault in September but it was returned to him last month after he attended an anger management course.

This is despite his toxic social media posts and videos and please from his mother to keep it away from him.

An investigation was yesterday launched by the Independent Office for Police Conduct into his possession of a shotgun and a firearms licence.

Mr Afzal, who was chief crown prosecutor for the North West said Davison was ‘exactly the type of person the authorities should be keeping an eye on’.

When asked on BBC Breakfast on Saturday if Davison should have been on a watchlist, he said: ‘Yes, absolutely, particularly given that he had a firearms licence and given that we now learn in December it was taken off him temporarily because of allegations he was facing and returned to him.

‘He was exactly the kind of person that you would be keeping an eye on or the authorities should be keeping an eye on.’

Mr Afzal said none of Davison’s social media posts seemed to have been taken into account when restoring his gun licence.

When asked on BBC Breakfast if a year seemed like a short period of time for the licence to be revoked, he said: ‘100 per cent I agree with you.

‘It’s not just about the fact that the gun was returned to him, his licence was restored.

‘In the interim there were all these social media posts talking about the violence he believed in or felt was necessary, how he felt about women. None of that seems to have been taken into account.’

He added: ‘If they (the police) were aware (of his social media posts) then they have got even more questions to be asked.’

Davison’s social media use suggested he was involved in the ‘incel’ culture, a following in which people describe themselves as ‘involuntary celibates’ and feel they are being oppressed by women due to a perceived lack of sexual interest.

Mr Afzal said Davison’s social media posts painted a picture of a man who thought women were ‘lesser beings’.

He added: ‘We have now seen posts on various social media sites which paint a picture of somebody that has a very low opinion or had a very low opinion of women, who seemed to have a belief he was entitled to do whatever he wanted to, a real expectation that women were some kind of lesser being.

‘That kind of extreme misogyny of the type we have seen here and in terms of the incel community is a threat to all women and, ultimately, to all our communities.’

Priti Patel paid her respects to the victims of the mass shooting in Keyham by placing a floral tribute near to the scene this afternoon.

She laid a large bouquet of cream flowers among other tributes at North Down Crescent Park, where a vigil was held on Friday evening.

Ms Patel was joined by the chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police Shaun Sawyer, who also laid a large bouquet of white flowers.

The Home Secretary, joined by local Labour MP Mr Pollard, then spoke with members of the local neighbourhood watch team at the park.

Ms Patel told members of the local neighbourhood watch team that Thursday’s mass shooting was ‘tragic beyond words’.

A message on one of the flowers is pictured to three-year-old Sophie, who was killed despite her hero father's best efforts to save her
A message on one of the flowers is pictured to three-year-old Sophie, who was killed despite her hero father’s best efforts to save her
Flowers are placed at Biddick Drive in Plymouth as police officers talk to locals paying their respects on Saturday afternoon
Flowers are placed at Biddick Drive in Plymouth as police officers talk to locals paying their respects on Saturday afternoon

Speaking at a park near to the scene, she said: ‘It’s tragic beyond words, really, really tragic, for a range of reasons, and obviously for those involved.

‘I’m sure everyone will have known each other and this really will have touched so many people’s lives. But quite an important moment as well where people are coming together from across the community to support one another.’

Kev Sproston, a member of the local neighbourhood watch team, told her the mass shooting was ‘our September 11’.

Mr Sproston told reporters: ‘How I define that is the fact that every single kid, every single adult, knows exactly where they were, similar to 9/11.

‘To the point that I speak to people, and they will tell me exactly where their brother was, where their sister was, where their mother was.

‘That’s the impact that it’s had on people, it’s going to be something that is in their own minds and thoughts for a long period of time.’

The chilling parallels between the shooting in Plymouth and the Sandy Hook and Hungerford massacres

In December 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza gunned down 27 people, including his mother, before turning his weapon himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut.

Lanza murdered 20 elementary school children, six adults and shot his own mother, Nancy, 52, four times in the head with a rifle while she slept in bed.

A 2014 report found Lanza was a deeply troubled young man who obsessed over mass killings as he fell deeper into a pit of mental illness while his mother ignored his struggles.

FBI files revealed he had an ‘obsession’ with historic mass shootings and a ‘paedophilia-like’ interest in children before he committed the fourth deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States.

Documents  also showed Lanza had meticulously created a spreadsheet documenting previous mass shootings, including the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.

He had acquired National Rifle Association safety permits after attending shooting ranges with his mother, Nancy Lanza.

Details on the pair’s relationship remain unclear, but one a medical professional said Nancy was never allowed into Adam’s room.

It was on August 19, 1987 that loner and gun fanatic Michael Ryan went on a shooting rampage in Hungerford, a market town in Berkshire.

Armed with an automatic rifle, a pistol and at least one hand grenade he shot 16 people dead, including his mother, before killing himself.

His victims included a police officer who tried to tackle him. At least another 15 people were also injured.

His first victim was a woman who was picnicking with her two children in Savernake Forest, 10 miles from the Berkshire town.

Less than 10 minutes later, firefighters were called to a house in Hungerford where they found the body of Ryan’s mother.

Ryan, dressed in combat gear, then made his way, shooting at people as he went on foot, to the town’s main shopping area where he indiscriminately shot and killed 12 people.

He then managed to evade a massive manhunt by armed police and helicopters until he was tracked down to the empty John O’Gaunt Community Technology College where he barricaded himself in.

Negotiators made contact with Ryan after he had fired at circling helicopters.

At one point Ryan waved an unpinned grenade at police through a window.

He is reported to have told negotiators: ‘Hungerford must be a bit of a mess. I wish I had stayed in bed.’

The body of the 27-year-old, who had shot himself, was later found inside.

Ryan was described by the press as a gun fanatic who had an ‘unhealthy’ relationship with his mother.

The incident led to tighter restrictions on gun ownership with the introduction of the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 1988 but critics said the legislation did not go far enough.

On March 13 1996, former Scout leader Thomas Hamilton entered the gymnasium at Dunblane Primary School and opened fire on a class of five and six-year-olds, killing 16 children and their teacher.

In a shooting spree which lasted less than three minutes, Hamilton, who was armed with two pistols and two revolvers, fired a total of 109 rounds.

A public inquiry into the Dunblane massacre found that Hamilton, a former shopkeeper, had been investigated by police following complaints about his behaviour towards young boys.

The incident led to further tightening of gun controls with a ban on owning handguns.

During Ms Patel’s visit, Chief Constable Sawyer was challenged by 78-year-old former MoD armed security guard Stewart Parfitt who asked why the firearm was returned to Davison last month.

Mr Sawyer had laid flowers in a park close to the killings in tribute to those that died in Thursday afternoon’s horror.

But he was approached by Mr Parfitt, who got his attention by raising his walking stick in the air before asking: ‘Why did you give that bloke his gun back when he’s been a bloody lunatic for years?’

Mr Sawyer told him that the matter was being looked into but he was unable to comment as it was now part of an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Parfitt said: ‘People around here are angry that the gun that man used to kill five people before himself was given back to him just weeks ago by the police.

‘He’s always been odd, I’d see him walking about and when you’d pass him he’d grunt like a gorilla. My grandsons said he used to wear odd shoes and hardly talked to anyone face to face, preferring to unleash all his feelings to a camera by himself.

‘He’d had the gun and his licence taken off him at the end of 2020 when he was accused of assault but I wanted to know who decided to give it back to him and so when I saw the chief constable I tried to get some answers.

‘But he just gave me a reply that it was all being looked into but there wasn’t an awful lot he could tell me now because it was being investigated by the IOPC.

‘He said he’d get more answers for me and the community soon – but I’ll probably be dead by the time they get round to it. He then said he had to go and walked off to meet the Home Secretary.

‘I’m a former member of armed security who worked for the MoD guarding the docks and the only people who should be allowed to keep guns are police and the army – certainly not 23-year-olds who live in the middle of a city.’

Ms Patel responded: ‘That’s absolutely understandable. The implications, the impact of this will be long-standing. It’s a very sad time, very tragic. I think in the aftermath, so many people will be affected.

‘People will have seen things that, quite frankly, in all our lifetime we would never, ever want anybody to witness or experience. It’s very hard.

‘But you are not on your own, there is a great deal of support.’ The Home Secretary declined to answer any questions put to her around gun control.

But Luke Pollard, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton, and Shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA, said the people of Plymouth deserve ‘clear answers’ as to how the gunman got a firearms licence.

Mr Pollard said: ‘I want to see answers to two very simple questions – why did this happen, and how did this happen?

‘I want to see a proper, thorough investigation as to how the shooter got a firearms licence, and why he was given back that gun. That’s the question that the people in this community have.

‘When I heard what had happened, I was a bit broken anyway – but when I saw the news that the gun had been returned to him, I was even more so.

‘We have been through an enormously difficult few days, and those difficult days are going to continue well into the future.

‘That’s why we need to make sure we’re getting clear answers to those questions. This community deserves the truth.

‘If there are problems with the system, I want to see those problems being improved and repaired.

‘But more than that, I don’t want to see any other community, anywhere in Britain, going through what we have over the last couple of days.

‘We’ve got an entire community grieving here, we’ve got families grieving. We’ve got a three-year-old killed. We need to have proper answers here.’

The people of Keyham were today grieving in the aftermath of the shooting – with even those who did not know the victims turning out to lay flowers and candles in North Down Crescent park.

Debbie Ackland, 55, a mental health support worker for the NHS, said she has had a ‘constant headache’ since the shooting happened.

She said: ‘I just haven’t been able to get rid of my headache since it happened. I work for NHS social services, and as soon as I heard the names of the little girl and her dad, I knew who the mum was and that she worked for the NHS.

‘I haven’t had any dealings with the family personally, but it’s just terrible. It’s devastating.’ Debbie, who grew up in Keyham, added: ‘I was in the park here when the emergency services arrived.

‘I was just about to put my three grandchildren in the playground when all the helicopters came in. There were police walking around with dogs, it was so surreal. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.’

When asked what she thought of Mr Davison having a firearms licence, Debbie said: ‘I deal with people with mental health problems every day, it’s one of the things we deal with in adult social care.

‘It’s very sad, they need help. We do what we can, we refer them to the immediate crisis team – it’s pretty much all we can do.

‘I do know that if people have got a mental health background, they wouldn’t be issued that firearms licence anyway.

‘So I don’t know whether that’s something they’re looking into. You just don’t know who you’re living next to, what people are thinking, what they’re doing.’

Mr Sawyer had laid flowers in a park close to the killings in tribute to those that died in Thursday afternoon's horror. Pictured: A child paying tribute
Mr Sawyer had laid flowers in a park close to the killings in tribute to those that died in Thursday afternoon’s horror. Pictured: A child paying tribute
The people of Keyham were today grieving in the aftermath of the shooting ¿ with even those who did not know the victims turning out to lay flowers and candles in North Down Crescent park
The people of Keyham were today grieving in the aftermath of the shooting ¿ with even those who did not know the victims turning out to lay flowers and candles in North Down Crescent park
Debbie Ackland, 55, a mental health support worker for the NHS, said she has had a 'constant headache' since the shooting happened. Pictured: The scene today
Debbie Ackland, 55, a mental health support worker for the NHS, said she has had a ‘constant headache’ since the shooting happened. Pictured: The scene today
She said: 'I just haven't been able to get rid of my headache since it happened. I work for NHS social services, and as soon as I heard the names of the little girl and her dad, I knew who the mum was and that she worked for the NHS'
She said: ‘I just haven’t been able to get rid of my headache since it happened. I work for NHS social services, and as soon as I heard the names of the little girl and her dad, I knew who the mum was and that she worked for the NHS’
Police at the scene on Biddick Drive on saturday afternoon as a tent remains erected over one of the five victims
Police at the scene on Biddick Drive on saturday afternoon as a tent remains erected over one of the five victims

Hayley Locke, 37, who also works for the NHS in an admin role, was another woman who came down to the park to pay her respects. Pictured: Members of the public today
Hayley Locke, 37, who also works for the NHS in an admin role, was another woman who came down to the park to pay her respects. Pictured: Members of the public today

But Debbie said: ‘The support has just been brilliant. I went into work on Friday and they had counselling set up for all the staff that had been involved. Everyone has really come together.’

And Hayley Locke, 37, who also works for the NHS in an admin role, was another woman who came down to the park to pay her respects.

She said: ‘I don’t know any of the victims, but when I heard that the little girl’s mum also worked for the NHS, it really hit me hard.

‘We’re obviously a massive staff, but we all care for each other, we look after each other in the NHS, and somebody in our Trust is going through hell now. I just think it’s a really tragic thing that’s happened, and I wanted to pay my respects.’

Speaking about Mr Davison’s firearms licence, Hayley added: ‘You don’t know the circumstances around it, but they must have thought it was okay to give him his licence back – although whether he convinced them of that, I don’t know.

‘But it sounds to me like he shouldn’t have had one. Having read about some of his social media posts, it sounds like he had a few problems.

‘I don’t really want to talk too much about him, to be honest. It’s the people who have lost their lives, and their families, that I feel most for.’

A mother who visited the park with her eight-year-old son, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘It’s just horrifying. I just don’t understand it.

‘There’s not enough mental health support out there anyway, but I think that somehow some boxes have been missed here.

‘I think if he had had the gun taken off him in the first place, I don’t understand how he’s been given it back.

‘He must have had some sort of mental health issue, because you don’t just do that for no reason. But if he did, then why has he got a gun licence?’

And another woman, who also did not wish to be named, agreed that Mr Davison should not have had the gun. She said: ‘He shouldn’t have had it in the first place. This is Britain we’re talking about, not America.

‘I’m not for guns at all. Why did he need to have it? I think we’re all in shock. It’s just one of those ones where I can’t find the right words to say – I think I just need to be here to pay my respects.’

Davison shot multiple people and then himself last night in the worst shooting atrocity in Britain for 11 years
Davison shot multiple people and then himself last night in the worst shooting atrocity in Britain for 11 years
In rambling and unsettling films made in the weeks before his rampage, he described an obsession with The Terminator and repeatedly mentions to 'incel' movement linked to mass shootings in the US
In rambling and unsettling films made in the weeks before his rampage, he described an obsession with The Terminator and repeatedly mentions to ‘incel’ movement linked to mass shootings in the US
In rambling and unsettling films made in the weeks before his rampage, he described an obsession with The Terminator and repeatedly mentions to 'incel' movement linked to mass shootings in the US
In rambling and unsettling films made in the weeks before his rampage, he described an obsession with The Terminator and repeatedly mentions to ‘incel’ movement linked to mass shootings in the US

Elsewhere CCTV footage released last night captured the shooter casually walk across a Plymouth street towards his final victim – moments after shooting dead a three-year-old girl and the three others.

The video, obtained by ITV News, was on a quiet street showing the incel gunman during his killing spree, his pump action shotgun hanging by his side.

Minutes earlier he had murdered his own cancer survivor mother, Maxine, at her home nearby, before going outside and randomly killing three-year-old Sophie Martyn and her father Lee, 43.

Sophie was pushing a toy pram up the street accompanied by her adoptive father Lee who was shot in the back when he tried to protect his daughter.

The pair – who had tried to run away – were then shot at least twice more at close range, killing them instantly. Davison is said to have ‘hovered’ over their bodies for a moment after slaughtering them before carrying on down the road.

One witness said: ‘A man was running with his little girl who was pushing a toy pram as she ran. There was no noise or screaming, they were just running.

‘This bloke with the gun stopped about 15ft from them, raised his gun to his shoulder, and shot the man in the back. He fell on to his daughter, protecting her even though he may have been dying.’

Speaking of Davison, the witness added: ‘He walked up and stood over them and fired from inches away to finish them off.

‘It looked like first he shot the man in the head, then through the body, and I think that shot went through and killed the child.

Davison then aimed and shot at two locals, named by family members as Ben Parsonage, 33, and his mother, Michelle, 53, who had gone out to help the earlier victims. Both received ‘significant’ injuries but survived.

Davison then walked out of the cul-de-sac down a path, telling a stunned resident: ‘Nothing to worry about mate,’ before shooting dog walker Stephen Washington, 59.

One witness said: ‘I went up there to see if I could help and there was a bloke lying on the grass face down. He was obviously dead, and his two dogs were running free.’

The video shows Davison at this point. He is then seen walking past a house and crosses the road in the direction of Blush hair salon, where he will fatally shoot Kate Shepherd, 66, his fifth victim. This is where the footage ends.

 A witness to Ms Shepherd’s murder said she was shot ‘without a word’ from Davison as she was smoking a cigarette outside the salon.

A 16-year-old boy, who was walking to a supermarket when he saw the murder, said: ‘She fell to the floor and he just carried on walking. He didn’t say anything to her. I don’t know if she worked at the salon or not. A man in a hoodie arrived and held his hands over her stomach wounds. I couldn’t believe what I saw.’

Seconds later, Davison turned the gun on himself before armed police can reach him. Sophie and Lee were rushed to nearby Derriford hospital, where Lee’s wife works, but both passed away despite the medics’ best efforts.

Tributes have flooded in for the Martins who lost their lives during a six-minute scene of carnage, as it was revealed Sophie was adopted by Lee and his partner two years earlier.

One friend said in tribute: ‘You were such a kind selfless gentleman who put everyone else before yourself we have shared many memories together, I will never forget the things in life you have done for me.’

Another wrote: ‘I am totally distraught that a good friend’s brother and niece have been taken in such an horrific way, my heart is breaking for my friend & his family at this very very sad news.

‘Deepest and sincerest condolences to all the deceased & hope those injured make a speedy recovery.’

Neighbours said penultimate victim Mr Washington was out walking his two pet Huskies along a tree lined path close to the Davison family home when he was shot by the killer.

Mike Moore, who lives near by said: ‘Both the dogs ran back to Stephen’s home and that’s when the family became concerned.

‘Stephen was well known around here because he was always out with his beautiful dogs. He wasn’t friends with Jake and there’s nothing connecting them so we think it was completely random.’

Within six minutes, officers, some armed only with Tasers, had raced to the scene of the carnage. But they were too late to save the victims, whose bloodied bodies lay in the street.

Davison’s body was found 12 minutes after the shooting began.

Yesterday police and social services were facing questions about whether Britain’s worst mass shooting for more than a decade could have been prevented.

Last night the Independent Office for Police Conduct launched an investigation into ‘Devon and Cornwall Police’s decision-making in relation to Davison’s possession of a shotgun and shotgun certificate’.

IOPC regional director David Ford said the probe will look at ‘what police actions were taken and when, the rationale behind police decision-making, and whether relevant law, policy and procedures were followed’. The killer’s shotgun and certificate were removed by police in December some three months after an allegation of assault in September 2020.

He is said to have had a row with two youths which was reported to police, to whom he was already known. A family friend also claimed yesterday that Davison had assaulted his own father.

A source close to the family said: ‘Apparently, he hasn’t been well for quite a bit, mentally, and also beat up his father a couple of months ago. The police took his gun licence from him, but then gave it back to him.’

His weapon, which is legal in the UK for sports such as clay pigeon shooting if a licence is obtained, was then returned in early July.

Nazir Afzal, who was previously chief crown prosecutor for the North West said Davison, 22, was ‘exactly the type of person the authorities should be keeping an eye on’.

When asked on BBC Breakfast on Saturday if Davison should have been on a watchlist, Mr Afzal said: ‘Yes, absolutely, particularly given that he had a firearms licence and given that we now learn in December it was taken off him temporarily because of allegations he was facing and returned to him.

‘He was exactly the kind of person that you would be keeping an eye on or the authorities should be keeping an eye on.’

Mr Afzal said none of Davison’s social media posts seemed to have been taken into account when restoring his gun licence.

When asked on BBC Breakfast if a year seemed like a short period of time for the licence to be revoked, he said: ‘100% I agree with you. It’s not just about the fact that the gun was returned to him, his licence was restored.

‘In the interim there were all these social media posts talking about the violence he believed in or felt was necessary, how he felt about women. None of that seems to have been taken into account.’

He added: ‘If they (the police) were aware (of his social media posts) then they have got even more questions to be asked.’

Mr Afzal said that Davison’s social media posts painted a picture of a man who thought women were ‘lesser beings’.

He added: ‘We have now seen posts on various social media sites which paint a picture of somebody that has a very low opinion or had a very low opinion of women, who seemed to have a belief he was entitled to do whatever he wanted to, a real expectation that women were some kind of lesser being.

‘That kind of extreme misogyny of the type we have seen here and in terms of the incel community is a threat to all women and, ultimately, to all our communities.’

Within hours of the carnage, a disturbing series of YouTube videos emerged in which Davison, under the user name Professor Waffle, fantasised about being the ‘Terminator’ from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

He also spoke of his belief in the ‘blackpill’ philosophy of the ‘incel’ community, a fatalistic and misogynistic world view that your position in life cannot change.

His family had desperately applied for professional help with Davison’s ADHD according to a close family friend, with the gunman being described as ‘introverted’ and a ‘troubled soul’.

The friend told the Telegraph: ‘Jake was always very quiet growing up, almost introverted. He was a troubled soul. He got into guns and he knew everything there was to know about them.

‘Maxine and Jake used to be close. You’d always see him helping her with the shopping at Lidl up the road, but then his views changed and he went against women and he became misogynist. They clashed a lot about that.’

Victoria Cleave, 29, whose husband worked with Davison at Babcock, said: ‘Absolutely vile man. So sickening what he did and to think Danny was sat in the same room as him yesterday and worked with him.’

The vigil was organised by the local neighbourhood watch and chairman Kevin Sproston who led attendees in a minute's silence
The vigil was organised by the local neighbourhood watch and chairman Kevin Sproston who led attendees in a minute’s silence
Mr Washington (pictured above) had been out walking with his 'beautiful' huskies, who rushed back home to raise the alarm with concerned family members
Mr Washington (pictured above) had been out walking with his ‘beautiful’ huskies, who rushed back home to raise the alarm with concerned family members

Local Kristina Viladzidzi called him as a sociopath. She wrote: ‘He was absolutely terrified of dogs. I remember him being super anxious when we met him in the park, I was always automatically taking dogs on a lead.

‘We were about to go to exact same place but my boyfriend wanted to finish [a computer] game so we went ten minutes later. If we went a bit earlier he would definitely target us as he hated our dogs.

‘He was a great example of a sociopath. Even eye contact with him was awkward. Before I knew details, he was the person [who] came to my mind and not surprisingly for me it was him.’

Self-described ‘f***ing fat ugly virgin’ and bodybuilder Davison was described as having a ‘pump action shotgun’. The weapons are legal in the UK – but only as long as they have a fixed magazine capacity of no more than three cartridges and a valid Shotgun certificate.

The murders came 22 days after he was bragging online about the UK ‘having more guns you think’ in a post about US-style mass shootings.

He ‘liked’ about 800 clips about gun culture, the US second amendment and violent games online.

Davison also described his fascination with previous atrocities including the Hungerford massacre in 1987 – one of the worst UK gun attacks in history – where an unemployed former labourer shot dead 16 people with semi-automatic rifles and a handgun.

In a chilling Reddit post written just over three weeks ago about the evolution of gun attacks over the past 80 years, Davison wrote: ‘There are lot more guns in Europe and the UK then people think’.

MailOnline yesterday revealed the killer was a nihilistic YouTuber who fantasised about being The Terminator, ranted about being a ‘f***ing fat ugly virgin’ and described his affinity with the ‘incel’ movement linked to mass murder by misogynists in the US and Canada.

Only yesterday did YouTube and Facebook delete his hate-filled accounts.

And one friend of the family wrote on Facebook last night that his relatives, including his mother Maxine, had begged for mental health support for Davison, adding: ‘The NHS basically said they are short staffed and that was it.

‘The family even asked the police to come out to see him as he was talking acting and acting strange – they didn’t do a welfare check. And now six people are dead’.

On a Reddit thread, under the question 'What do incels think of their mother', Davison replied: 'Can't stand her'
On a Reddit thread, under the question ‘What do incels think of their mother’, Davison replied: ‘Can’t stand her’
Davison wrote this post about mass shootings and more guns being in the UK 'than people think' just 22 days before the Plymouth massacre
Davison wrote this post about mass shootings and more guns being in the UK ‘than people think’ just 22 days before the Plymouth massacre

Devon and Cornwall police chief constable Shawn Sawyer said his social media and claims his family went to the police and the NHS about his mental health would form part of their investigation.

Speaking at a press conference outside Crownhill police station in Plymouth, the senior police officer said the weapon used in the Plymouth shooting was described as a ‘pump action shotgun’ and confirmed a firearm had been recovered from the scene.

Mr Sawyer said police would look at Davison’s social media output as part of the investigation.

He said: ‘This is an extraordinarily unusual response by a fellow human being.

‘Whether there were mental health issues I cannot say at this time.’ He said most witnesses were ‘shocked at what was unfolding before them,’ but said there was no evidence to suggest Davison was saying anything as he carried out his atrocity.

Police investigating the Plymouth shootings raided the gunmen’s father’s flat on Thursday.

Armed officers forced their way into the home of Mark Davison, about a mile from where his son Jake killed five people before turning the gun on himself.

Mr Davison was not in at the time – according to a neighbour – but returned later in the evening and spoke to detectives.

He was being comforted by one of his other sons yesterday afternoon and declined to comment about the tragedy.

Plymouth has two gun shops in the centre of the city, Pull The Trigger and Peter’s Fishing and Sports, which are both near the city’s market.

A member of staff at Peter’s Fishing and Sports recalled how Davison had been in last year. He said: ‘I remember the gunman came in just before the first lockdown and was interested in an air rifle we had up on the wall.

‘He didn’t buy it in the end but spent a few minutes examining it. He didn’t have the bushy beard back then and seemed fairly normal, nothing that would trigger any kind of alarm.

‘Apparently he was seen walking through the market on Monday. I’ve seen him around a few times.

‘But how he managed to get a license to own a shotgun is a mystery because in order to have a license you have every part of your background scrutinised down to the most minute details. Or at least you’re supposed to.’

Was his GP contacted over shotgun licence?

A gun licence will only be granted if police decide the applicant poses no threat to public safety and has a ‘good reason’ for owning a firearm.

To decide if they are fit, officers will carry out a series of checks. These include interviews, visiting the person’s home, obtaining character references, carrying out a criminal record check and contacting the family GP.

Home visits are not always necessary to renew a licence, but police must be satisfied there is no ‘danger to public safety or the peace’. As part of the application process consent must be given for the person’s GP to share medical information with officers.

If a licence is granted a note is placed on the owner’s GP record and the doctor should contact police if concerns arise about their suitability. In most cases GPs are only contacted during the vetting procedure if the applicant has declared a medical condition. Relevant conditions requiring a GP report include depression and personality disorders. Mental health problems can also be relevant.

Applicants must have a legitimate reason to own a shotgun, such as for hunting and gun club target shooting. Pump-action shotguns by law cannot hold more than three shells.

There is no minimum age to get a shotgun certificate, but you are not allowed to use it without adult supervision until you are 15. You have to be 14 before you can get a separate firearms certificate, which allows you to own a rifle.

A senior police source said firearms licence departments were struggling in forces in areas such as Devon and Cornwall.

He said: ‘The resources are not there to regularly and proactively visit every single firearms licence holder. There are simply not enough staff to do that because of the sheer number of licences.

‘The gun lobby is also relatively powerful. Suspension or revocation of a licence is seen as an extremely big step. That needs a certain amount of justification. You cannot do it on a whim.’

Activists want police to brand the killings terrorism. The Everyday Sexism project’s Laura Bates said we ‘are talking about an individual radicalised online into an extremist belief system who then acted on those beliefs to massacre people. This is terrorism. It is extremism. It is radicalisation.

‘Repeated news reports, police and politicians all saying this is not terror related. This is shocking and shameful. Extremist misogyny, male supremacy, sees women die all over the world, including repeatedly in incel massacres. We cannot tackle it if we do not name it.’

One policing source said: ‘This may need to be something that the policing world needs to review, to keep pace with this threat.’

MailOnline has revealed Davison was an active YouTuber calling himself ‘Professor Waffle’, who posted videos of himself working out and most recently ten-minute rants about life being ‘rigged against you’, humanity being on the ‘brink of extinction’ and being repulsive to the opposite sex.

He also shared clips from ultra-violent video games and just two days ago ‘liked’ videos of a M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle being shot.

In his most recent online rant from his bedroom he said: ‘You wake up and you stare at the wall and you’re thinking um nothing’s changed but I’m still in the same position, same period in life, still a f***ing this, that virgin f***ing fat ugly, what’. He added: ‘I like to think sometimes, you know, I’m a Terminator or something. And despite, despite, um, you know reaching almost total system failure he keeps trying to accomplish his mission’.

A fortnight ago, the 23-year-old also spoke of his affinity with the ‘incel’ movement, which has been linked to a number of mass shootings in the US. The most notorious was by misogynist killer Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in California in May 2014 before he turned the gun on himself. In Canada in 2018 Alek Minassian posted a Facebook message showing his support for Incels before ploughing a van into crowds, killing ten.

‘Incel’ stands for ‘involuntary celibate’ and those referring to themselves as such believe their unattractiveness to women is predetermined by his genetics. Some extremist followers believe they are owed sex by women. Davison says repeatedly in his videos that he is repulsive to women, overweight and so is all his family.

He also talks about being a ‘black pill-er’ – a group who believe they are unworthy of love and attempts to form lasting relationships with women are ‘destined to end in failure’.  Davison also ‘liked’ a series of videos about guns, and shared posts on Facebook quoting former American president Donald Trump as well pictures of a statue holding a rifle with the US flag in the background.

His Facebook profile suggests he started working at defence and engineering company Babcock International earlier this year. The company declined to comment.

He said on July 28: ‘People like similar to me, they’ve had nothing but themselves. And then they’ve socially had it tough, probably grew up in a s*** background, like, like… How can you have drive and willpower, you know, when you’ve been defeated a million times? It’s you wake up and you’re like ‘what the f***?’, you know, when you’ve when you’ve worked so f***ing hard – so f***ing hard – and you see mother***ers who work nowhere near as hard as you.

‘For the most part it’s just been me against the world. It’s just been me fighting an uphill battle with a big f***ing rock on my back, you know, while I’m seeing mother***ers that don’t deserve half of anything, now they’re getting a free road to the top’.

He added: ‘I think any as long as you’re breathing air… It’s like in the Terminator, right, you know, fate is nothing, you know, the whole premise of the Terminator movies is that you know everything’s rigged against you, there’s no hope for humanity, you know, we’re on the brink of extinction, you know, these machines are unstoppable killing machines that can’t be beaten, can’t be outsmarted.

‘But yet humanity still tries to fight to the end! And I know it’s a movie but, you know, I like to think sometimes, you know, I’m a Terminator or something.

‘And despite, despite, um, you know reaching almost total system failure he keeps trying to accomplish his mission, you know’.

Why was Incel killer Jake Davison given his gun back? Were his mother’s fears about his mental health ignored? Why were his social media posts not acted on? The questions police HAVE to answer over Plymouth massacre

The devastating rampage Jake Davison undertook in Plymouth on Thursday evening sent shockwaves across Britain.

But it also raised urgent questions about how the 22-year-old killer was able to have access to such a deadly weapon.

Disturbing social media posts and videos he published on open accounts appear to have been missed or ignored when granting him a gun licence.

The sick killer also had a firearm snatched off him by Devon and Cornwall Police last year because he allegedly assaulted someone.

Yet officers, for reasons that are not yet fully known, felt an anger management course would suffice – and gave it back to him last month.

The authorities have burning questions to answer over how they handled the troubled young man, with some of the pressing issues outlined here.

Were his mother’s fears about his mental health ignored?

The biggest question Devon and Cornwall police must urgently answer is whether Davison was fit to be allowed to store a lethal weapon.

The 22-year-old blasted his mother to death before killing four others including a three-year-old girl during his rampage in Plymouth.

The random nature of the other four killings further begs questions about his mental state, with him appearing to take a pop at whoever was in front of him.

Davison then doubled back on the route of his shooting spree to some garages behind the local hairdressers and shot himself in the head.

This is on top of the disturbing videos he posted on YouTube and other platforms about being a ‘f***ing fat ugly virgin’ and pulling deranged faces to viewers.

Jake Davison who shot multiple people and then himself last night was a YouTuber who ranted about being a 'fat ugly virgin'
Jake Davison who shot multiple people and then himself last night was a YouTuber who ranted about being a ‘fat ugly virgin’

He said: ‘I used to be OK with being a virgin too, but when you get older and the inferiority complex kicks in and the feeling of despair and missing out occurs.

‘Try being an unemployed, autistic, poor, sexually frustrated male with tons of health issues, no social circle and being stuck in government housing with my mother for years on end, having missed out on so much in life.’

Meanwhile his own mother, Maxine, 51, is believed to have begged police and health services to check her son’s welfare.

A friend of the family wrote on Thursday night that other relatives had made similar pleas for help. They said in a Facebook post: ‘The NHS basically said they are short staffed and that was it.

‘The family even asked the police to come out to see him as he was talking acting and acting strange – they didn’t do a welfare check. And now six people are dead.’

Davison was diagnosed with autism as a child and was sent to Mount Tamar special school in Plymouth, where he was said to have been ‘disruptive’ for his peers.

Jess Wallace recalled: ‘My boyfriend went to school with him and said he was pretty shy and quiet and would talk about how cool Americans are, and the idea of having a gun collection.’

Another woman related to a former classmate added: ‘He was well-known for his anger issues.’

Did he have a licence for the pump action shotgun he used?

Police have already said the killer had a gun licence, but at a press conference yesterday they could not say whether it was for the firearm he used to murder.

He was seen holding a pump action shotgun but it is not yet clear how he would have acquired the weapon.

Professor of Criminology at Brighton University Peter Squires, who is also a member of the Gun Control Network, explained ammunition for these are restricted in the UK.

The guns are fed from a fixed tubular magazine with cartridges loaded in manually in a similar way to a regular shotgun.

But they can hold more at once than a standard shotgun, meaning the user can fire more bursts in quick succession like a semi-automatic weapon.

In Britain, where gun laws are reasonably strict, Prof Squires said there are restrictions to having just two cartridges in the magazine at one time.

He told MailOnline: ‘Pump action shotguns are not as long as regular ones. There has been an issue surrounding those.

‘They were prohibited to some extent after the Hungerford shootings and restricted to two rounds in the pump action magazine.

But he said there are loopholes for sport and pest control which means people can justify needing a gun.

He said: ‘This is gun licencing in the UK in a nutshell. We have very tough gun laws but when it comes to licence applications and renewals it’s the classic case of 43 police forces do it with 43 different shades of due diligence.

‘I think there’s a real issue about the time and resources that police put into firearms licencing because it costs them money to do it, which is the absurd thing.

‘The fact he may well have been showing signs of lunacy may not have come through. It opens up that whole question about whether GPs should certify if someone is sane at point of licence application or renewal.’

It begs the questions whether Davison had a right to use the gun, whether he was a member of a shooting club and if he modified the gun to suit his twisted needs.

Why was the gun returned to him after being confiscated in December?

In a move that could have prevented the tragedy of Thursday night, Devon and Cornwall Police snatched Davison’s shotgun from him in December.

The legally held weapon had been taken from him following an allegation of assault in September.

But it was returned to him in July after he attended an anger management course after which police classed him as being fit again to possess the three-shot gun.

IOPC regional director David Ford yesterday announced an investigation into the shooting and ‘police contact with Jake Davison prior to the incident’. This includes the force’s role and actions regarding firearms licensing.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer yesterday during a press conference outside a police station in Plymouth, following the shooting on Thursday
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer yesterday during a press conference outside a police station in Plymouth, following the shooting on Thursday

Mr Ford said: ‘After assessment of the referral we have determined we will carry out an independent investigation focusing on Jake Davison’s firearms licensing history and its impact on the tragic events of Thursday August 12.

‘We will examine what police actions were taken and when, the rationale behind police decision-making, and whether relevant law, policy and procedures were followed concerning Mr Davison’s possession of a shotgun.

‘The investigation will also consider whether the force had any information concerning Mr Davison’s mental health and if so, if this information was appropriately considered.

‘It appears the force’s response to reports of the shootings was very prompt and having reviewed information currently available, we are not intending to investigate the Devon and Cornwall Police response to the shootings.

‘This will be kept under review as more information emerges. However, the investigation will explore whether there was any causal link between the arrival of police and Mr Davison apparently shooting himself.’

Mr Ford added: ‘It has not yet been established whether the shotgun returned to Mr Davison was used in yesterday’s shootings.’

In its investigation the IOPC will seek to get to the bottom of why officers returned the deadly weapon to Davison and what checks they did.

Was he a member of a shooting club which gave him the right to have one?

There are few reasons to justify having lethal weapons in the United Kingdom, with gun licencing laws being tough.

One of them a person can fairly apply using is if they are a sports shooter who goes to shooting ranges or hunts game or other animals.

The Telegraph reported this morning that this was Davison’s justification for needing a shotgun. Prof Squires said the type of pump action shotgun the killer had on him is often used for sport shooting.

He said: ‘There has been a sort of rock and roll shooting sport created which involved them. It’s been a bit controversial.

‘The law was always a bit of a loophole that a conventional pump action shotgun, which is basically a semi-automatic shotgun was restricted to two rounds.

Davison shot multiple people and then himself last night in the worst shooting atrocity in Britain for 11 years
Davison shot multiple people and then himself last night in the worst shooting atrocity in Britain for 11 years

‘But these new practical shooting shotguns seem to be permissible to have fairly large magazines because they use them in combat simulation sports.

‘It’s a bit like an assault course shooting. They dive behind vehicles, shoot through windows, and jump over walls to hit small targets on a timed basis.

‘It’s a rifle licence, so not just a shotgun licence, but the upgraded rifle licence. To have one you’re supposed to evidence it by being a member of a club and actually taking part in real competitions.

‘That’s your good reason and someone else has to say you’re a genuine sport shooter.

‘So someone has vetted him and said he’s okay and there will be a question about whether he did any competition because that’s really the only reason you’re allowed one.’

If this is the reason Devon and Cornwall Police allowed Davison to keep a gun, more information is urgently needed on whether he used it for this purpose.

Were police aware of his social media rants before the killing spree?

Hours after the shooting, MailOnline uncovered a range of disturbing videos Davison had posted online.

They could be found on mainstream platforms such as YouTube and were not hidden from the public or taken down until after the tragedy on Thursday.

The footage shows a deeply troubled young man who appears ready to blow at any moment.

Calling himself ‘Professor Waffle’, he posted videos of himself working out and most recently ten-minute rants about life being ‘rigged against you’.

He said humanity was on the ‘brink of extinction’ and that he was repulsive to the opposite sex.

He also shared clips from ultra-violent video games and just two days ago ‘liked’ videos of a M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle being shot.

In rambling and unsettling films made in the weeks before his rampage, he described an obsession with The Terminator and repeatedly mentions to 'incel' movement linked to mass shootings in the US
In rambling and unsettling films made in the weeks before his rampage, he described an obsession with The Terminator and repeatedly mentions to ‘incel’ movement linked to mass shootings in the US
In rambling and unsettling films made in the weeks before his rampage, he described an obsession with The Terminator and repeatedly mentions to 'incel' movement linked to mass shootings in the US
In rambling and unsettling films made in the weeks before his rampage, he described an obsession with The Terminator and repeatedly mentions to ‘incel’ movement linked to mass shootings in the US

In his most recent online rant from his bedroom he said: ‘You wake up and you stare at the wall and you’re thinking um nothing’s changed but I’m still in the same position, same period in life, still a f***ing this, that virgin f***ing fat ugly, what.’

He added: ‘I like to think sometimes, you know, I’m a Terminator or something. And despite, despite, um, you know reaching almost total system failure he keeps trying to accomplish his mission.’

A fortnight ago, the 22-year-old also spoke of his affinity with the ‘incel’ movement, which has been linked to a number of mass shootings in the US.

Some followers believe they are owed sex by women. Davison says repeatedly in his videos he is repulsive to women, overweight and so is all his family.

He also talks about being a ‘black pill-er’ – a group who believe they are unworthy of love and attempts to form relationships with women are ‘destined to end in failure’.

Davison also ‘liked’ a series of videos about guns, shared posts on Facebook quoting former Donald Trump and pictures of a statue holding a rifle with the US flag.

Devon and Cornwall Police have not said whether they were aware of the videos or not, but will face pressure to clarify.

How did the conversations between Davison and police go on previous occasions?

Thursday’s shooting was not the first time Devon and Cornwall Police had been in contact with Davison. It emerged yesterday officers had taken his firearm off him in December following an alleged assault.

It is therefore likely they had seen first-hand what the twisted man was like as a person.

The IOPC during its probe will need to uncover the conversations police had with him and whether there was a missed opportunity to help him or grounds to lock him up.

With the deranged killer’s YouTube page being accessible, it would seem confusing if he was not being watched by police or the security services.

A former top prosecutor said today the gunman should have been on a watchlist before the shooting spree.

Nazir Afzal, who was previously chief crown prosecutor for the North West said Davison was ‘exactly the type of person the authorities should be keeping an eye on’.

When asked on BBC Breakfast on Saturday if Davison should have been on a watchlist, Mr Afzal said: ‘Yes, absolutely, particularly given that he had a firearms licence and given that we now learn in December it was taken off him temporarily because of allegations he was facing and returned to him.

‘He was exactly the kind of person that you would be keeping an eye on or the authorities should be keeping an eye on.’

Mr Afzal said none of Davison’s social media posts seemed to have been taken into account when restoring his gun licence.

When asked on BBC Breakfast if a year seemed like a short period of time for the licence to be revoked, he said: ‘100 per cent I agree with you.

‘It’s not just about the fact that the gun was returned to him, his licence was restored.

Mr Afzal said none of Davison's social media posts seemed to have been taken into account when restoring his gun licence
Mr Afzal said none of Davison’s social media posts seemed to have been taken into account when restoring his gun licence

‘In the interim there were all these social media posts talking about the violence he believed in or felt was necessary, how he felt about women.

‘None of that seems to have been taken into account.’ He added: ‘If they [the police] were aware (of his social media posts) then they have got even more questions to be asked.’

Mr Afzal said that Davison’s social media posts painted a picture of a man who thought women were ‘lesser beings’.

He added: ‘We have now seen posts on various social media sites which paint a picture of somebody that has a very low opinion or had a very low opinion of women, who seemed to have a belief he was entitled to do whatever he wanted to, a real expectation that women were some kind of lesser being.

‘That kind of extreme misogyny of the type we have seen here and in terms of the incel community is a threat to all women and, ultimately, to all our communities.’

Police and the security services need to reveal whether they were monitoring him and messed up, or if he completely avoided their gaze.

Will police look to clamp down on gun licences in the county?

The Tragedy of Britain’s first mass shooting in 11 years has inevitably reignited questions over whether gun laws are tough enough.

Rolled out to the press to answer questions on the matter, Nick Kelly, leader of Plymouth City Council, said the investigation could show there are wider issues about scrutinising people who are given firearms.

Councillor Kelly told BBC Breakfast on Saturday: ‘My personal view is let’s see what the investigation unearths, let’s try to piece together exactly why the licence was suspended, taken away in the first place, and why it was deemed appropriate to give back.

‘It could be a wider issue nationally with regards to greater scrutiny of people who are given firearms because the last thing we want as a nation, or indeed as a city, is for anybody else to endure and go through the horrific actions and the loss of five innocent lives and two people who have got serious injuries in hospital.

‘My own view with regards to guns is I think why do you need a gun in the first place?

‘If there’s a very legitimate reason, well I would not want to take guns away from everybody, but I think gun crime in Plymouth is unheard of – perhaps nationally there’s more of an issue.

‘We just need to review it, look at the facts in this specific case and hopefully if tighter legislation is required that will be forthcoming.’

Yet many use guns for completely legitimate reasons, such as farmers for pest control – with rural Devon full of landowners unlikely to want to give up theirs.

Devon and Cornwall Police will surely look closer at their gun licencing practice after this, but it is not yet clear what action it will take.

Obsessions of a maniac who called himself the Terminator: Plymouth gunman posted videos on YouTube of himself pumping iron and ranting about his life before going on murder spree

Staring intensely into the camera, Jake Davison signed off his final video on YouTube with the chilling words: ‘I am a Terminator.’

Within weeks, the 22-year-old virgin would enact his bloody fantasies with appalling consequences.

In a 12-minute rampage, the gunman murdered his own mother and four strangers, including a three-year-old girl.

The gun massacre – the worst in a decade in the UK – left Plymouth residents questioning how a loner with seemingly serious mental health problems was allowed to have a firearms licence.

Shockingly, it emerged yesterday that the behaviour of the apprentice crane operator had been of concern for some time to those close to him, including his mother Maxine and father Mark – who had reportedly begged the NHS for help and even allegedly contacted the police saying he should not be allowed to keep a gun.

Within hours of the shootings, disturbing videos emerged online in which the 17-stone weightlifter moaned about being ‘defeated in life’ and talked about the violent sci-fi films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He said: ‘The whole premise of the Terminator movies is that you know everything is rigged against you, there’s no hope for humanity, you know, we’re on the brink of extinction.

‘These machines are unstoppable killing machines that can’t be beaten, can’t be outsmarted, but yet humanity still tries to fight to the end.

‘I know it’s a movie but, you know, I like to think sometimes I’m a Terminator or something and despite reaching almost total system failure, he keeps trying to accomplish his mission.’

Recording his final video on July 28, Davison said: ‘I’m beaten down and defeated by f****** life. That drive I once had, that’s gone.’

The loner had described himself as an ‘incel’ – a reference to the ‘involuntary celibate’ movement, a radical group of misogynistic young males who spend their lives ranting online about women and are of growing concern to police.

Recording videos in a small bedroom he likened to a ‘prison cell’, Davison spent his days agonising over why he had never had a girlfriend or even been kissed.

Obsessed with sex, he fired off scores of messages to incel groups asking why he was constantly rejected on dating sites and bemoaning his lack of experience of love as a teenager.

Incels and ‘black pill’ links to Plymouth gunman: Misogynist movement who believe they are ‘owed sex’ and have been behind several mass shootings in the US including 2020 machete attack classed as terrorism

An incel, which is an abbreviation of an involuntary celibate, refers to a group of men who advocated for violence against women because they believe they are unjustly denied sexual or romantic attention.

Essentially, they blame women for refusing to have sex with them and believe in responding with rape and violence.

Those who identify as an incel interact with each other on online forums where they discuss their hatred of women, hatred of feminism, how to get away with rape, and specific women to target.

In 2014, self-proclaimed Incel Elliot Rodger (pictured) declared a ‘War on Women’ and went on a killing spree near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Since then, Incels have been linked to a number of violent attacks, and are increasingly described as a terrorism threat.

In February 2020, a machete attack in a Toronto massage parlor became the first incident of alleged Incel violence to be prosecuted as an act of terrorism.

Jake Davison talked about being a ‘black pill-er’ – a group who believe they are unworthy of love and attempts to form lasting relationships with women are ‘destined to end in failure’.

Dr Joseph Downing, a fellow in nationalism at LSE who studies security and terrorism, told MailOnline: ‘The incel attacks and jihadi attacks share many commonality. In all cases it’s the chicken and egg problem.

‘Is it somebody who acts like this because of their predisposition to violence who found the incel movement, or is it the incel movement that gave that individual the idea to go and commit violence?

‘Many think it’s about extremist propaganda and the ability to access it and be radicalised, but I’m on the side of that it doesn’t really matter.

‘These people go and seek extremist ideologies because they’re predisposed to do that kind of thing. So whether it’s Andre Breivik or jihadis or the incel movement it doesn’t matter.

‘The incel movement is pretty nuts. When you go down the rabbit hole they say stuff like women are forcing me to be celibate and should cater it upon themselves as their feminine duties to give sexual favours to men.

‘But it doesn’t really say much about acts of violence. It’s not really an ideology that goes as far as say radical Islam.

‘They’re more of an abstract nihilistic, misogynistic kind of group. So there is a commonality with other forms of extremist violence.

‘It’s more the person is predisposed to to that kind of behaviour and they go and seek out some kind of extremist ideology.

‘The individual is just not interested in the other information out there, they want to find the radical ideology.’

He added: ‘I don’t think people like him will encourage similar acts of violence – in this case we lose the fact that what he’s done is really mysterious.

‘The majority of people you could just never sway to do that kind of thing. But there may well be other individuals who will go out and commit acts of violence and say it’s inspired by him, for example.

‘Some may say yes I was inspired by him and incel and stuff like that, but I don’t think people are swayed, some just have that psychopathic tendency to extreme violence or they don’t.’

Revealing he had not spoken to a girl since he was 17, Davison considered himself a virgin loser with nothing to live for.

He wrote of his loneliness and despair, saying he had been ‘forgotten about’.

‘I used to be OK with being a virgin too, but when you get older and the inferiority complex kicks in and the feeling of despair and missing out occurs,’ he said.

‘Try being an unemployed, autistic, poor, sexually frustrated male with tons of health issues, no social circle and being stuck in government housing with my mother for years on end, having missed out on so much in life.

‘Not being able to do the hobbies and things I enjoy as I don’t have a car, I am socially isolated and a black sheep who barely interacts with anyone other than a few people at work.

‘It’s not just sex and teen romance I feel I missed out on, I feel I missed out on the entire teenage experience. Since leaving school I don’t have any friends.’

Born in Plymouth, he was raised with his older brother and sister by their single mother Maxine, with whom he had a difficult relationship, writing online: ‘Feel my mother has played a role in [me] being a male virgin.’

Diagnosed with autism as a child, Davison was sent to Mount Tamar special school in Plymouth, where he was said to have been a ‘disruptive’ influence on his peers.

Jess Wallace recalled: ‘My boyfriend went to school with him and said he was pretty shy and quiet and would talk about how cool Americans are, and the idea of having a gun collection.’

Another woman related to a former classmate said: ‘He was well-known for his anger issues.’

After leaving school, Davison described feeling positive as he embarked on a career working in construction scaffolding before an ankle injury sent him spiralling into depression. He admitted online that his ‘mental, physical and emotional health’ had been deteriorating for two years.

He wrote of his frustration at being unable to get a doctor’s appointment and revealed he tried a cocktail of supplements and steroids and even considered drugs like cocaine.

Consumed by self-loathing, the recluse posted regular questions such as ‘Should being ugly be considered a disability?’ and recorded scores of videos and selfies discussing his weight issues and fear of being too fat to get a girlfriend.

Lonely and bored, he described himself as a ‘computer addict with nothing else to do for many years’.

He wrote: ‘When you have been a recluse for as long as I have, you search up and go on pretty much every subject on the internet. I can’t think of a subject I haven’t dabbled in on the internet – technology, politics, space, exploration, astronomy, LGBT transgender movies, comics, video games, military, special forces guns, weapons, tanks, jets, nuclear power, futurism, transhumanism, drugs, biology, history.’

In a desperate search for like-minded individuals, he signed up for IncelTV on YouTube.

Spurred on by others in the community, Davison said he had ‘overdosed’ on ‘black pill’ – an incel philosophy centred on the belief that success with the opposite sex is determined by genetics.

He wrote: ‘Inferiority complex of being a virgin for almost 23 years and the panic of getting older is crippling.’ Incel culture has been associated with killings and acts of violence, particularly in the US, where Davison had fantasised about living.

Elliot Rodger became a spiritual figurehead of the incel movement when he murdered six people in Isla Vista, California, in 2014 aged 22 – the same age as Davison.

Before his rampage, Rodger had posted a video on YouTube saying he wanted to take revenge on women for rejecting him.

Within hours of Davison’s killings, other incel internet users had built what was described as an online ‘shrine’ to him yesterday.

Shortly before the attacks, Davison called for a ‘Government-funded incel social programme or rehab centre’ to get them to do group activities ‘to build confidence and self-esteem and getting them out of their depressed mindset’.

Among his ideas were group therapy, activities such as rock climbing and ‘taking away computers, phones, internet to detox from social media and the internet’.

But trapped in his bedroom during lockdown, Davison’s despair only grew.

Yesterday it emerged that he had liked nearly 800 videos on YouTube pointing to an obsession with US gun culture, violent video games and weightlifting.

He boasted to followers that he held a shotgun licence, writing: ‘It would be good if there were more [shooting] ranges and clubs too.

‘I have a section SGC (shotgun certificate) but would properly have a FAC (firearms certificate) as well if there were more ranges… as soon as I get a car, which should not take too long, I will apply for my FAC.’

Within recent weeks, Davison’s thoughts had turned to death and knives. He wrote online: ‘Machetes are awful weapons… most are cheaply made and lack the cutting power to do any real damage like actual swords do.

‘If you actually look at machete attacks, videos and news reports, more often than not they only manage to cut and lacerate skin.

‘They rarely have the weight and sharpness to cut through bone and skull. They are good for cutting through bush, not cutting limbs and heads… best sword for zombie would be a two-handed great sword which would cut limbs clean off and penetrate skull easily.’

In another post on ‘mass shootings’ he referred to the Texas clock tower shooting in America in 1966 and the Hungerford massacre in Berkshire in 1987.

Davison wrote: ‘There are a lot more guns in Europe and the UK than people think.’

Yesterday, neighbours revealed the Davison family’s desperate pleas for help.

Donna Croft said: ‘His poor mum has only just got cleared of cancer. His sister was a harmless soul, she was in the same class as my son.

‘The dad even begged the mental health team to assess him but they basically said they couldn’t be bothered and said they were too short of staff to come out.

‘So not have only the mental services on this country let these poor families down, they could [have] prevented this to happen.

‘People like that need 24/7 help. How he got a gun to kill these people is crazy.’

His Facebook profile suggests he started working at defence and engineering company Babcock International earlier this year. The company declined to comment.
His Facebook profile suggests he started working at defence and engineering company Babcock International earlier this year. The company declined to comment.
His Facebook profile suggests he started working at defence and engineering company Babcock International earlier this year. The company declined to comment.
His Facebook profile suggests he started working at defence and engineering company Babcock International earlier this year. The company declined to comment

Six minutes of utter carnage: How the Plymouth gunman’s sickening rampage unfolded and left five innocent people dead

The rampage lasted for just six minutes – 12 until the gunman’s body was found –  but it left five innocent people and their killer dead and the whole nation in shock.

Jake Davison’s shooting spree in a quiet suburb of Plymouth on a summer’s evening is Britain’s worst for more than a decade.

The first warning residents had in the cul-de-sac of Biddick Drive was when Davison, 22, burst into the house he shared with his mother and began shouting on Thursday evening.

However, the heated argument quickly became murderous.

His killing spree began shortly before 6.11pm, when terrified neighbours made a flurry of 999 calls to Devon and Cornwall Police’s control room.

They told operators they could hear gunfire and there was a man with a pump-action shotgun killing people at random.

One witness, Sharron Turner, 57, who lives nearby, said Davison kicked in the door of a property – now known to be his own home – where he turned the gun on his 51-year-old mother, Maxine, who had cancer.

‘Firstly, there was shouting, followed by gunshots – three, possibly four to begin with,’ she said. ‘This was when the shooter kicked in the door of a house and randomly started shooting. He ran from the house shooting as he ran.’

Some in his line of fire had lucky escapes.

On his way out, still clutching the weapon, Davison, who was dressed in black and grey, told a stunned passer-by: ‘Nothing to worry about, mate.’

But an instant later he gunned down a girl of three, Sophie Martyn, who was pushing a toy pram up the street accompanied by her adoptive father Lee, 43.

Mr Martyn was shot in the back when he tried to protect his daughter.

The pair – who had tried to run away – were then shot at least twice more at close range, killing them instantly.

Davison is said to have ‘hovered’ over their bodies for a moment after slaughtering them before carrying on down the road.

One retired resident who lives opposite and watched the murders from his kitchen window, said he ‘couldn’t believe what I was seeing’.

The shocked local added: ‘We were sat in our kitchen when we heard shots in the street, so we looked outside.

‘A man was running with his little girl who was pushing a toy pram as she ran. There was no noise or screaming, they were just running.

‘This bloke with the gun stopped about 15ft from them, raised his gun to his shoulder, and shot the man in the back.

‘He fell on to his daughter, protecting her even though he may have been dying.’

Speaking of Davison, the witness added: ‘He walked up and stood over them and fired from inches away to finish them off.

‘It looked like first he shot the man in the head, then through the body, and I think that shot went through and killed the child.

‘This is on the pavement across the road from my house. You don’t witness a murder, two people killed right in front of you, every day. He was just shooting indiscriminately.’

By now armed police were on their way. But Davison, a crane driver whom relatives claimed had mental health problems but was unable to get help in lockdown, had not finished.

Still on Biddick Drive, he aimed and shot at two locals, named by family members as Ben Parsonage, 33, and his mother, Michelle, 53, who had gone out to help the earlier victims. Both received ‘significant’ injuries but survived.

Ben’s brother, Jordan, confirmed his brother and mother had been caught up in the carnage.

In a message posted on social media later, he said: ‘Just a little update… Ben is now home and going to make a full recovery.

‘My mum has to have an operation on her arm and is expected to make a full recovery.’

Peggy Holliday, an intern at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, was walking to a shop when she heard screaming. There were also gunshots, which she thought initially were fireworks.

She said: ‘A couple of the gunshots went off and I ran opposite a pub and the owner came out and he shouted at me, ‘Get in here, get in here now!’

‘I forward-rolled into the pub and I literally clung underneath one of the pool tables for dear life and I froze.

‘I said, ‘There’s shooting, it’s violent, it’s terrifying’. It literally felt like a living nightmare. It felt like I was being hunted.’

Davison, who held a licence for the shotgun, entered a nearby strip of open land known to locals in the Keyham area of Plymouth as the ‘dog park’, where he shot Stephen Washington, 59, who was walking his two husky dogs. He died at the scene.

His friend Caitlin Greyling, 19, added: ‘Paramedics were working on the woman. I could see them moving up and down as they did compressions on her chest.

‘After a while they stopped and I thought maybe she has been saved, but she hadn’t.’ Police later confirmed Mrs Shepherd had died at Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital.

Davison then doubled back to garages at the back of the hairdressers, where he put the gun to his own head and killed himself.

Another witness said: ‘He just looked around, turned the gun on himself and fired it. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was like a horror movie.’

By then, police including armed officers from the nearby naval base had arrived in Biddick Drive, where they discovered a scene of carnage.

They quickly traced Davison’s steps and found his body. He was pronounced dead at 6.23pm.

Survivor Bert Pinkerton told the BBC he had walked past the gunman, who had a ‘vacant stare’, adding: ‘The bloke was walking towards me. I could smell the gunfire. It could have been me

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