The gunman who shot dead five people and himself in Plymouth has become a celebrated figure in the woman-hating ‘incel’ world.
The Centre for Countering Digital Hate said Jake Davison’s videos were a ‘rallying point’ for involuntary celibates and his shooting spree will help the movement.
The killer was hailed a ‘supreme gentleman’ and a ‘new hero’ and was told to ‘shoot for the stars’ after his vicious rampage on Thursday.
It comes as the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation said the Government is likely to consider treating ‘incels’ as terrorists if there are more attacks.
Jonathan Hall QC said the ideology was a hard one to categorise for ministers because it ‘seems part of right-wing terrorism but it is not really’.
Meanwhile CCTV footage emerged of the moment Davison casually walked across a Plymouth street towards his final victim – moments after shooting dead a three-year-old girl and three others.
In the video obtained by
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.
The footage emerged as it was revealed police had returned his shotgun last month after confiscating it in December after an accusation of assault – for which Davison was allegedly given an ‘anger management’ course.
His shooting spree on Thursday left six people dead – including himself – and many others injured and was Britain’s first ‘incel’ mass shooting.
In other developments:
- Friends claimed Davison’s mother had begged the NHS and police to give him urgent mental health treatment during lockdown, but failed to get the help he needed;
- Neighbours also said his father Mark had previously told the police his son’s gun should be taken away from him;
- The police watchdog is also investigating what information Devon and Cornwall Police had about Davison’s mental health, and if it was considered
- Boris Johnson said the issue of how the killer came to legally own a gun should be ‘properly investigated’ as he described the mass shooting in Plymouth on Thursday night as an ‘absolutely appalling’ incident
- Plymouth residents held a candlelit vigil for the five victims killed in the shooting spree on Thursday;
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
This is the moment caught on CCTV showing killer Jake Davison casually walked across a Plymouth street towards his final victim – moments after shooting dead a three-year-old girl and three others.
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
The killer’s actions appear to have sparked jubilation in sick corners of the internet where fellow involuntary celibates hailed him.
One fan wrote: ‘This is what happens when you disenfranchise men. I don’t approve at all of what he did, but this will continue to happen.
‘It’s not just self-described incels who do it out of frustration, it’s other types of men too. The guys in prison are mostly incels.’
But in a sign police will start clamping down harder on the movement, top QC Mr Hall said there is a chance incel attacks will be treated as terrorism.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘The question is really whether or not the authorities want to treat the incel phenomenon as a terrorist risk.
‘That would involve diverting resources or putting resources into it. If we see more of these sorts of attacks, then I have got no doubt that it will be treated more seriously as terrorism.
‘It fits rather uneasily into the way the authorities understand ideologies. It seems part of right-wing terrorism but it is not really.
‘In fact, it is quite separate from it. It is a different sort of ideology. The question is really one of choice. Do we want to start treating incels as potential terrorists?’
Sophie had been 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 attempted 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.
Adopted Sophie Martyn, 3, and her father Lee, 43, (pictured left) 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
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
Jake Davison then moved on towards a nearby wooded area where he shot and murdered dog walker Stephen Washington, 59 (above)
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.
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.
He 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 shocking new video shows Davison at this point. He walks past a house and crosses the road in the direction of Blush hair salon, where he fatally shot 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.
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.’
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.
‘Police gave shotgun back to gunman after ‘anger management class’ one month before rampage’
Police are tonight 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.
Tonight 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 this 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.’
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 today 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’.
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 this 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.’
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
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
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
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’.
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.
Jake Davison who shot multiple people and then himself last night was a YouTuber who ranted about being a ‘fat ugly virgin’
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 and logo’d T-shirts 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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