Gunman shot 5 dead ‘after row with mum’
JAKE Davison’s killing spree began following an argument with his mother, an inquest heard yesterday.
Senior coroner Ian Arrow was told the 22-year-old loner started his 12-minute rampage by blasting his mum Maxine Davison, 51, in the head and torso.
The killer’s youngest victim, Sophie Martyn, who was just three, was also shot through the head as she walked her dog with her father Lee, 43.
Lee, a carpenter, suffered fatal wounds to his head and torso at the same time as his daughter.
Davison then shot Stephen Washington, a 59-year-old carer for his wife, who had been out walking his husky dogs. He suffered fatal wounds to the chest.
The final victim, married artist Kate Shepherd, 66, died hours later at Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital, from gun wounds to her abdomen.
The details of the killings, on Thursday evening last week, were given by Devon and Cornwall police to Plymouth Coroner’s Court, which opened and adjourned the hearing yesterday. Det Insp Steve Hambly, the senior investigating officer, told the court that all five victims plus Davison died from shotgun wounds.
He said Mrs Davison, a former trawlerwoman, was gunned down at their home in Keyham, before her son went outside and began shooting.
DI Hambly added: “The circumstances of her death are that Maxine sustained fatal gunshot wounds following an argument with her son.
“Police are not looking for any other persons in connection with Maxine’s death.
“On present evidence the medical cause of death has been ascertained as shotgun wounds to the torso and head.” Davison, a trainee crane operator, then killed Lee and Sophie in front of horrified onlookers.
DI Hambly said: “Sophie died on Biddick Drive on August 12.
“While out walking with her father Lee and the family dog, Sophie was fatally shot by an assailant who was not known to her. Police are not looking for any other person in connection with this evidence.
“On present evidence the medical cause of death has been ascertained as shotgun wounds to her head.”
In a separate hearing for Davison, lasting five minutes, the coroner was told he shot himself in the head.
DI Hambly said: “The circumstances are that following an argument with his mother, Jake fatally wounded his mother. Jake then went along several different roads and fatally wounded another four victims, wounding and injuring two more, then taking his own life. The police are not looking for any other person in respect of this incident.”
The inquest heard the Independent Office for Police Conduct is to consider how Davison – who had mental health problems – came to legally own a shotgun.
His weapon and certificate had been seized following an allegation of assault, but returned to him weeks before the shootings. He had received mental health support during the Covid lockdown and had been in contact with a telephone helpline service. His social media posts suggested an obsession with guns and with “incel” – a movement for “involuntary celibate” men who blame women for them being single. The coroner adjourned the inquest and fixed a provisional date for preinquest reviews on December 9.