A member of police staff has been issued with a gross misconduct notice over their handling of Plymouth gunman Jake Davison’s shotgun licence application and decision to hand his gun back to him weeks before he killed five people.
Davison, 23, went on his 12-minute murderous rampage in the Keyham area of Plymouth before turning the gun on himself in horrifying scenes earlier this summer.
It was revealed that the trainee crane operator had his weapon returned to him by Devon and Cornwall Police in July – despite an earlier incident in December 2020 that saw the weapon confiscated.
The gun was returned to him just weeks before the rampage after he attended an anger management course – with police deeming him as being fit again to possess the three-shot shotgun.
Speaking in August, the Independent Office for Police Conduct promised an investigation into the force’s handling of Davison’s legally-sound possession of an offensive weapon.
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said Davison had the gun under a ‘sporting licence’ designed to be used for clay pigeon shooting, but that had been revoked after he assaulted two teenagers in a park in September 2020.
The gunman who shot and killed five people in Plymouth before turning his gun on himself was named by locals as Jake Davison, 23
Police forensic officers at the scene in Biddick Drive, Plymouth where five people were murdered by a gunman who turned the weapon on himself
The images seen here are taken from a video that was filmed in the aftermath of the attack. The grabs show gunman Jake Davison’s body lying at the corner of Henderson Place and Bedford street in Plymouth
Self-described ‘f***ing fat ugly virgin’ and bodybuilder Jake Davison, 22, murdered his mother Maxine, 51, after bursting into her home in the Devon city with a pump-action shotgun.
Without saying a word Davison, dressed in black, then gunned down Sophie Martyn, 3, and her father Lee, 43, who were walking up the road.
After murdering the pair, Davison walked to an adjacent area of parkland and opened fire on dogwalker Stephen Washington, 59, before killing Kate Shepherd, 66, outside of Blush hair salon.
He then turned the gun on himself, concluding his 12-minute bloody rampage that was the worst mass shooting seen in Britain since 2010.
It has since been revealed that Devon and Cornwall Police took three months to seize Plymouth incel Jake Davison’s gun and licence off him last year, despite him attacking two teenagers in a park.
An inquest into the deaths of his victims heard in August was told how police gave his weapon and certificate back to him just weeks before his rampage, because he completed a taxpayer-funded intervention programme – an alternative to being charged or cautioned.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said Devon and Cornwall Police had offered the apprentice crane operator a place on its Pathfinder scheme.
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
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
But at the end of November last year, a scheme worker raised concerns with the force’s firearms licensing department about Davison’s possession of a shotgun, and the weapon and certificate were seized by police on December 7.
After completing the Pathfinder scheme in March 2021 and a subsequent review by the firearms licensing department, the shotgun and certificate were returned to Davison on July 9.
Just a month later he would go on to take the lives of his mother, Maxine Davison, 51, Stephen Washington, 59, Kate Shepherd, 66, Lee Martyn, 43, and three-year-old Sophie Martyn, before turning the gun on himself in one of the UK’s worst mass shooting in recent memory.
Davison had first applied for licensing to own a shotgun in July 2017, with a five year certificate being approved for him the following January.
Meanwhile, a former top prosecutor said the shooter should have been on a police watchlist before he killed five people and himself.
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’.
Davison, 23, had first applied for licensing to own a shotgun in July 2017, with a five year certificate being approved for him the following January
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
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
An IOPC investigation promised background checks, internal police reports, GP and any associated medical or mental health records to determine his suitability to legally own a gun.
The watchdog also assessed Devon and Cornwall Police’s decision to not prosecute Davison over the two park assaults in September 2020.
IOPC regional director David Ford said in August: ‘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.’