Plymouth shooting: Police reinstated gunman’s firearms license last month

Plymouth shooting: Police reinstated gunman’s firearms license last month

An armed man who killed his mother and four bystanders, including a three-year-old girl, had his firearms license revoked in December, but police reinstated it last month after taking a management course. anger.

Police will be investigated into their relationship with Jake Davison, 22, who has expressed sympathy for the “incel” movement and keen interest in mass shootings. A resident of Plymouth, where the killing took place, said Davison’s family had sought treatment for his mental health issues.

Detectives also face questions over whether to treat the attack – which was Britain’s worst mass shooting in over a decade – as a domestic incident rather than a terrorist attack. On Friday evening, sources said the main motives under investigation were hatred of women and mental health issues.

Lee Martyn with his adopted daughter Sophie, two of the victims of the attack. Photography: facebook

In addition to his mother, Maxine, 51, Davison’s victims were named Friday as Lee Martyn, 43, and his allegedly adopted three-year-old daughter Sophie Martyn, and Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd. , 66.

Devon and Cornwall Police suspended Davison’s firearms license in December last year over concerns over his suitability to hold a weapon, but found him fit to recover his weapon last month . He had been licensed since 2018.

The Guardian understands that Davison had to take an anger management course to get his license back, and months ago, police classified him as fit to own the three-barreled shotgun again, despite claims. previous concerns.

In 2020, he had an argument with two young people and was reported to the police, but he had never committed an offense and agreed to take the course, sources said. The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), will formally investigate the handling of his firearms license by the police.

Davison had shared hateful opinions on the Reddit forums used by incels – men who express hostility and resentment towards those who are sexually active, especially women. Earlier this year, U.S. officials warned that attacks linked to the incel movement were on the rise, and authorities around the world began to treat ideology as a more serious terrorist threat.

Jonathan Hall QC, the independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, told The Guardian: “Incel (dom) can certainly be an ideology for terrorist purposes. It always depends on the evidence, but if you symbolically kill people because you hate what they represent within your ideology, it is no exaggeration to conclude that killing them is for an ideological cause.


Recent history of mass shootings in the UK



Derrick Bird, a taxi driver, killed 12 people and seriously injured 11 others in Cumbria before committing suicide on June 2, 2010. Bird, 52, shot dead his twin brother and at least one co-worker before crossing the countryside. western Cumbria by shooting people.
Calls were made to tighten gun laws after the murders, as it emerged that Bird, who obtained his first shooting license at the age of 16, had a criminal record of theft, driving intoxicated and allegations of threatening behavior. An independent review recommended that offenders sentenced to suspended prison terms of three months or more be prohibited from possessing licensed guns for five years.


The Dunblane Massacre of 1996 remains the deadliest mass shooting in UK history and has led the government to tighten gun regulations. On March 13, 1996, Thomas Hamilton, 43, killed 16 students and a teacher and injured 15 others at Dunblane Primary School before turning his gun on him. The students killed were all between five and six years old.

Hamilton legally owned the weapons used in the mass shooting. After an inquiry into the atrocity, parliament banned private ownership of most guns in Britain.


On August 19, 1987, 27-year-old Michael Ryan shot dead 16 people, including his mother, before committing suicide in Hungerford. Fifteen other people were injured when the gunman fired at random in the town of Berkshire.

The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 was passed in the wake of the murder spree, banning the possession of semi-automatic rifles and tightening restrictions on the use of shotguns.

Thank you for your opinion.

Counterterrorism police declined to comment and referred the inquiries to Devon and Cornwall Police, who said they were keeping an open mind and there was “no [known] pattern ”at the present time.

Davison, an apprentice at a defense and security firm, turned the gun on him after killing five people in 12 minutes shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday. He allegedly used a shotgun that he reloaded at least twice during his rampage and for which he had had a firearms license for three years for sports use.

He would have been known to the police in his youth, but not for anything serious enough to permanently ban him from owning a firearm.

At a press conference in Plymouth, Shaun Sawyer, the Devon and Cornwall Police Chief of Police, said Davison murdered his mother at her home in Biddick Drive, which he allegedly shared with her, before leave the property and shoot the Martyns. in the street.

Jake Davison’s mother, Maxine, was killed in the attack. Photograph: unknown / other

Davison then shot dead two other people, a man and a woman, aged 33 and 53, respectively, at Biddick Drive. They are hospitalized with serious but harmless injuries to their lives.

He entered an adjacent park where he shot Washington down. Then, in Henderson Place, he shot Shepherd, who later died at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. He committed suicide when the police approached.

Davison had written about guns online, including contributing to a Reddit chat called “GunPorn.” In a message, he said he wanted to own a VZ58 assault pistol. In another, he said his weapon of choice would be a Glock 17.

Davison used the incel forums to express his hatred for his mother and the view that mass shootings had nothing to do with gun control. In YouTube videos, Davison said he didn’t “clear up” as a spark – but went on to explain that “people like me have nothing but themselves.”

He appears to have subscribed to “IncelTV” on YouTube, which calls itself a “black pill and lookism content” channel and has over 17,000 subscribers. Lookism is described as prejudice or discrimination because of a person’s appearance. In Incel culture, someone who has “taken the black pill” thinks this is a hopeless case that will never have romantic or sexual success.

Social media posts dating from around 2018 suggest Davison was a Donald Trump fan and supporter of the British Libertarian Party. YouTube and Facebook confirmed that Davison’s owned accounts were deleted on Friday, and people were asked not to share footage of the aftermath of the Plymouth attack.

Davison’s state of mental health has been called into question, with a person familiar with his family saying relatives have sought help from mental health authorities. Writing on Facebook, the neighbor said: “His family [pleaded] to help the mental health team the NHS basically said it was understaffed and that was it. The family even asked the police to come see him as he spoke and acted strangely, but they did not do a welfare check. “

The Guardian approached community mental health services in Plymouth, but they declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Babcock International, a defense and security firm with a significant presence in the city’s shipyards in Devonport, confirmed that Davison has been working for the company as an apprentice since August 2020. The CEO of the company, David Lockwood, said earlier: “Our thoughts and condolences go out to the friends and families of those involved in this tragedy. We stand in solidarity with the city at this difficult time.

Jake Davison
Jake Davison used the online incel forums. Photograph: Jake Davison / PA

The IOPC said it received a mandatory referral from Devon and Cornwall Police regarding the incident. IOPC Regional Director David Ford said: “After evaluating the referral, we have decided that we will conduct an independent investigation focusing on Jake Davison’s firearms licensing history and its impact on tragic events of Thursday, August 12.

“We will examine what police actions were taken and when, the rationale for the police decision making, and whether the relevant law, policy and procedures were followed regarding Mr. Davison’s possession of a rifle. of hunting. The investigation will also examine whether the force had information regarding Mr Davison’s mental health and, if so, whether that information was duly taken into account.

Tributes were paid to the friends and family of the deceased. Boris Johnson tweeted: ‘My thoughts are with the friends and family of those who lost their lives and all those affected by the tragic incident in Plymouth last night. I thank the emergency services for their response.

Keir Starmer of Labor tweeted: “My thoughts are with the families and neighbors of those caught up in this nightmare. I pay tribute to our emergency services who ran to events we were all fleeing from. “


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