Plymouth gunman’s father tells inquest he warned police about shotgun licence

<img src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/GWddDj2A1i4OGXDmZkt_LQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3NjtjZj13ZWJw/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/d01300d09b684499d97a4deb071cb16c&quot; alt="<span>Photograph: PA
Photograph: PA

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

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

Giving evidence at an inquest in Exeter, his father, Mark Davison, said: “I tried to stop that boy getting a shotgun because he lived in a volatile environment. They did say they would get back in touch with me, I think I spoke to support staff. I thought the fact I made a complaint would be enough, I chased it up at a later date. I said I was Jake’s dad, he lived in a volatile environment.

“I explained about the doors broken and said he was autistic and I said I have a criminal record, what would stop me from getting that gun? I tried the absolute best to get the police’s attention, that’s why I said that.”

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

Davison applied for a shotgun certificate in July 2017 and one was issued by Devon and Cornwall police in January 2018 that was valid for five years. The force revoked Davison’s licence and seized his shotgun in 2020 after Davison assaulted two teenagers in a park, but returned them in 2021 – weeks before the killings.

Davison described how his son took a keen interest in guns and he knew he was looking at them on the internet.

He said he tried to warn Maxine, who he had separated from, about their son’s ability to soak up information, which he put down to his autism.

“He would soak up information really well,” Davison said. “I said to Maxine: ‘You have got to try minimise what he is taking in [online],’ but she shot me down in flames. I didn’t really address it any more.”

The hearing continues.

Published by anthonyhayble

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