A nurse who lost her husband and daughter during Jake Davison’s mass shooting had posted a family photograph just hours before they died.
Becky Martyn, 42, who works in intensive care in Plymouth, shared the picture of her, Lee, 43, and Sophie, three, at 2.30pm on Thursday during a day out.
Her friend and fellow nurse Laura Newall, 36, who went to a vigil for the five victims of the attack yesterday, said the image was ‘heartbreaking’.
Just hours after the picture was uploaded, Davison gunned down Mr Martyn and Sophie and three others before he killed himself.
But two other people he shot – a mother and son – are expected to make a full recovery.
Ben Parsonage, 33, has already left hospital following the vicious attack while Michelle, 53, will have an operation to fix her arm before she is also discharged.
As special prayers are to be said in Plymouth today for the victims:
- The Independent Review of Terrorism Legislation said the Government could start treating ‘incel’ shootings as terrorism incidents;
- It was warned that there are 10,000 people in Britain with ‘incel’ views;
- Home Secretary Priti Patel laid flowers at the scene of the massacre and described the killings as ‘tragic beyond words’ – but declined to answer questions about gun control;
- Mourners also left hundreds of bouquets;
- A former leading prosecutor said Davison was ‘exactly the type of person’ the authorities should have had on a watchlist.
Becky Martyn, 42, who works in intensive care, shared the picture of her, Lee, 43, and Sophie, three, at 2.30pm on Thursday during a day out
Just hours after the picture was uploaded, Davison gunned down Mr Martyn and Sophie (pictured) and three others before he killed himself
Mrs Martyn uploaded the picture of her, her husband, Sophie and a young boy to her Facebook account about three and a half hours before the shooting.
Ms Newall told the
‘They looked so happy. It is heartbreaking, it was just hours before it happened.
‘I worked on the children’s ward upstairs in the hospital and she was downstairs. We are a close unit and we are all in shock.’
Mr Martyn has been hailed a hero for his brave attempts to shield his daughter when the Davison struck.
The terrified pair were running from the 22-year-old shooter as tiny Sophie was pushing a toy pram.
They were said to be ‘silent’ as they fled the gunman, before the father was shot in the back from 15ft away.
Mr Martyn has been hailed a hero for his brave attempts to shield his daughter when the Davison struck
Sophie and Lee were rushed to nearby Derriford hospital, where Lee’s wife Becky works, but both passed away despite the medics’ best efforts
He then fell on his daughter and spent the last moments of his life trying to protect her.
The 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.’
They added: ‘He fell on to his daughter, protecting her even though he may have been dying.’
Davison shot the innocent pair at least two more times at close range to ‘finish them off’.
He is said to have ‘hovered’ over their bodies for a moment before carrying on down the road to hunt more victims.
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 had targeted the man and child moments after killing his own cancer survivor mother Maxine at her home nearby, before randomly selecting victims.
They were rushed to nearby Derriford hospital, where Mrs Martyn works, but both passed away despite the medics’ best efforts.
Mr Martyn’s family friend paid tribute to the father who made the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ as he tried to save his daughter.
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
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
Dan Sobey, who runs a fitness business, said Mrs Martyn had brought Sophie to his class when she was just six months old.
The 40-year-old told the Mirror: ‘Lee made the ultimate sacrifice. It brings a lump to my throat talking about it.
‘As a friend and neighbour, we have real sympathy for them. You can see from photos how much of a strong, lovely family they were.’
Mr Sobey added: ‘She was a very cute little girl, with floppy red hair, and turned into a lovely little toddler.
‘Someone else who used to train at the same gym as Becky told me they would see Sophie toddling around there too.’
It emerged last night two others who Davison shot – a mother and son – are expected to make a full recovery.
Mr Parsonage has already left hospital following the vicious attack while Michelle will have an operation to fix her arm before she is also discharged.
Ben’s brother Jordan revealed through Facebook his mother was ‘expected to make a full recovery’.
He said: ‘Just a little update on my mum and brother, 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.
‘Also want to say a massive thankyou to everyone who’s messaged and called about there concerns about my family it really means a lot.
‘And lastly what I don’t appreciate is the stupid and pathetic rumours that have been made up about this horrific situation!
‘Other than the people who were involved only know the truth that has happened. If you could all just show your respect for the people who lost their lives and to the people who were involved and effected by this and just keep your opinions and speculations to yourself.
‘This is a very difficult situation at the moment and we need to stand together to keep the peace.’
Ben’s brother Jordan revealed through Facebook his mother was ‘expected to make a full recovery’
Special prayers are set to be said in Plymouth today as the city mourns the five killed – which has left the local community shocked and saddened.
Concerns have been raised over how gunman Davison got a firearms licence and carried out his rampage before turning the gun on himself.
Tributes poured in for those shot dead, including his mother and a three-year-old girl, with flowers, cuddly toys and candles left nearby to the scene in Keyham.
Churches across Devon, including St Thomas’ Church in Keyham, are expected to use their Sunday services to remember the victims, with a special prayer written by the Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell.
Father David Way, the vicar of St Thomas’, told BBC Breakfast: ‘Most importantly we will be praying for those who were killed.
‘But something which has been taxing my mind all the way through is I also have to pray for mercy for Jake on his soul. As Christians, we have to love our enemies, and look with love on people who cause us harm.
‘So yes, the community is in my heart, the people who died innocently are in my heart and in my prayers, but also everybody involved in this situation, I have to make sure we keep in our prayers.’
It comes as a former Metropolitan Police chief said officers should trawl through social media accounts of people applying for firearms licences to ensure ‘guns do not fall into the hands of dangerous people’.
Former commissioner Lord Stevens told The Sunday Telegraph Davison was ‘clearly a dangerous man’.
He added: ‘The videos he made should have been taken into account when he applied for a shotgun licence.
‘There needs to be a trawling of online content for an in-depth assessment of who these people are and what they think.’
Social media posts and interactions offered insight into the mind of a man who was interested in guns and America, while his social media usage suggests an obsession with the ‘incel’ culture, meaning ‘involuntary celibate’.
Elsewhere, the Liberal Democrats accused Home Secretary Priti Patel of dragging her feet over advice to tighten the rules on issuing firearms and shotgun licences.
The party said Ms Patel had so far failed to act on recommendations in a Home Office consultation document calling for new suitability checks before a licence is awarded – despite warnings of ‘fundamental gaps’ in the system.
A Tory source hit back accusing the Liberal Democrats of ‘playing politics’ just days after the killings.
Luke Pollard, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said there was a ‘sense of anger’ among local residents at how the events of the atrocity unfolded.
He told BBC Breakfast: ‘I think people’s emotions have changed from shock and disbelief into now feeling that profound loss of the five people who were killed.
‘But also a sense of anger. Wanting to know the questions as to how was this allowed to happen, why did this happen, and were there opportunities to stop this happening that were not taken?
‘We need to get to the answers of those and that will take some time, and police need to be able to have the space to do it. But we need to make sure the community gets those proper answers because they deserve them.’
An investigation is already under way into Davison’s possession of a shotgun and a firearms licence, which were returned to him after being removed at the end of last year.
The police watchdog launched an investigation following a mandatory referral from Devon and Cornwall Police, which contains preliminary information that Davison’s firearm and licence were returned to him in early July this year.
The certificate and shotgun had been removed by police in December 2020 following an allegation of assault in September 2020, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said.
However, Davison’s firearms licence was returned after he attended an anger management course, according to reports.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer welcomed the launch of the investigation by the IOPC, but asked: ‘How on earth did he get a gun licence in the first place?’
Davison shot his 51-year-old mother Maxine Davison, also known as Maxine Chapman, at a house in Biddick Drive before he went into the street and shot dead Sophie Martyn, aged three, and her father Lee Martyn, aged 43.
In the 12-minute attack witnessed by horrified onlookers, Davison then killed Stephen Washington, 59, in a nearby park before shooting 66-year-old Kate Shepherd, who later died at Derriford Hospital.
Davison also shot two local residents who are known to each other, a 33-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman, in Biddick Drive, who suffered significant injuries but which are not believed to be life-threatening.
Devon and Cornwall Police said they received multiple calls about the incident at 6.11pm on Thursday, with armed and unarmed officers arriving at the scene within six minutes and Davison found dead by 6.23pm.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for the issue of how the shooter came to legally own a gun to be ‘properly investigated’ and described the shooting as an ‘absolutely appalling’ incident.
Devon and Cornwall Police said on Saturday that an online page has been launched for those who may have information to assist with the investigation into the mass shooting.
The force added that post-mortem examinations are taking place and due to continue into early next week.
It is believed the mass shooting, which police are yet to establish a motive for, began with a ‘domestic-related incident’ between Davison and his mother.
Plymouth killer’s school teacher tells how he was obsessed with guns and had a history of compulsive disorder and anger issues – so how is it possible he was allowed to have a shotgun?
A teacher who knew Plymouth killer Jake Davison expressed his fury and disbelief last night that his former pupil was allowed to own a shotgun – and revealed that he had been obsessed with firearms from a young age.
In the wake of Davison’s terrifying rampage – during which he massacred his mother, a three-year-old girl and her father, a dog walker and a bystander – stunned teacher Jonathan Williams described the decision to grant him a gun licence as a ‘catastrophic mistake’.
Mr Williams, who taught English, drama and music to Davison at Mount Tamar special school in the Devon city said: ‘You have to ask, what the hell were they thinking giving him this licence?
‘If you ask anyone who was involved in Jake’s schooling whether giving him a licence was a good idea, they would all tell you absolutely not.
‘How is it possible that a police officer read Jake’s history of obsessive compulsive disorder, anger issues and depression and concluded he should be allowed to own a firearm?
‘It was a catastrophic mistake with utterly tragic consequences. Something went badly awry and you can’t help but feel this whole tragedy could have been avoided. There will be serious questions now about who is responsible for all this happening.
‘I’m imagining what we, his teachers, would have thought about the prospect of him requesting a gun licence. We would probably have laughed in disbelief to be honest.’
A teacher who knew Plymouth killer Jake Davison expressed his fury and disbelief last night that his former pupil was allowed to own a shotgun – and revealed that he had been obsessed with firearms from a young age
Mr Williams, who taught the killer when he was aged 14 to 16, recalled how Davison’s obsession with guns developed as a boy
Weapon licensing laws in need of urgent overhaul, says expert
A firearms expert last night called for an overhaul of gun licensing laws in the wake of Jake Davison’s murderous rampage.
Under the current system, would-be gun-owners are assessed by their local police, who judge whether they have a ‘good reason’ to own a firearm and whether they pose a threat to the public.
But an expert last night said police forces were failing to visit people in person at home, and that there were insufficient mental health checks.
Weapons expert Mike Yardley said: ‘There is a glaring error in the way the licensing system works. We need to have more people laying eyes on people in their own home.’
Davison, 22, who was autistic, was stripped of his shotgun licence last December, following a violent altercation with his father Mark. The gun was returned to him in July after he attended an anger management course. A month later, he blasted to death five people – including his mother -– before turning the gun on himself.
It is unclear what checks were made on Davison before his licence was reinstated, but Mr Yardley said someone would have had to vouch for him.
He queried why vetting officers had overlooked Davison’s disturbing YouTube videos, in which he described himself as a ‘Terminator’ and said he had been ‘defeated by life’.
He said: ‘This was clearly a disturbed young man. It does not take an awful lot of research to work that out. How on earth could he be given a licence? There will be a lot of questions for everyone involved.’
Mr Williams, who taught the killer when he was aged 14 to 16, recalled how Davison’s obsession with guns developed as a boy.
He said: ‘He used to have books and books about guns. Whenever I put a film on in class which had a gun in it, he would instantly recognise it and knew the exact make and model. I remember him saying: ‘Oh, that’s a Glock’ and he would be right.
‘His mum Maxine and I decided to try to help him get into the Army Cadets as an outlet for his fascination. She was extremely supportive and only wanted to do the best for him, and I remember going out to help get him boots.’
Mr Williams said Davison’s autism diagnosis should also have barred him from holding a shotgun licence. He questioned whether the 22-year-old had been receiving adequate care in recent years and believed that the killer would have had a ‘bright future’ if he had been given the right support.
He spoke of his shock that the boy he once described as the ‘success story of the year’ had gone on to shoot dead five in Britain’s first ‘incel’ mass shooting – named after a misogynistic online subculture of ‘involuntary celibates’ unable to find a sexual partner – before turning the gun on himself.
He said: ‘It is utterly horrifying and tragic. My heart goes out to Jake’s friends and family, as much as to those of his victims.
‘For me, having spent so much time with him and done all I could to help him, for it to end like this is heartbreaking. Jake would have had an education, health and care plan, which means the State would be required to provide support up to the age of 25. Was he really receiving the support needed?’
Mr Williams’s comments came as Devon and Cornwall Police faced mounting criticism over their decision to return Davison’s shotgun licence after an alleged assault last December. Friends of the killer’s victims, as well as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Plymouth MP Luke Pollard, called for urgent answers as to why the permit was given back to him last month after attending an anger management course.
In a 12-minute massacre, Davison first shot dead his 51-year-old mother, then killed three-year-old Sophie Martyn and her adoptive father, 43-year-old Lee. His two next targets – Ben Parsonage, 33, and his mother Michelle, 53 – both survived. He then killed 59-year-old Stephen Washington, who was walking his two pet huskies in a nearby park. His final victim was Kate Shepherd, 66, who was smoking a cigarette outside a hair salon.
Last night, Mr Williams added that despite Davison being well-built as a teenager, he never had to physically restrain him. ‘We often had problems with some students, I don’t remember ever having to use physical force with Jake,’ he said.
‘He was never violent. In fact, he was often very gentle and kind with his classmates.
‘He liked to get people involved with class activities and he was witty too. He had fantastic creative writing skills too and was just very thoughtful. It is just utterly tragic to think what has happened.’
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)
Vicar says Plymouth community has been left ‘devastated’ by mass shooting
A Plymouth vicar today said how the city had rocked by Thursday’s mass shooting.
Father David Way, from St Peter and the Holy Apostles Church, said the community was trying to rally together after shooter Jake Davidson, 22, carried out his deadly rampage, killing five people before turning the gun on himself.
Today Father David Way told BBC Breakfast: ‘Devastated is just one of many emotions over the last couple of days. All kind of things have been felt.
‘There is anger piling up. Of course a lot of it will be looking perhaps towards the police, because of the shotgun and licence. But it’s important to remember these were the same people running into the situation as it was unfolding. These are people that went through
‘I would rather anger was channelled towards people in social media who are egging on people and causing so many problems with people’s mental health.’
Asked about the community and its reaction to the shooting, he said: ‘We will be praying for those who are killed, but something which has been in my mind all the way through, I have to pray for mercy for Jake.
‘As Christians we have to love our enemies, the community is in my heart, the people who died are also, but also everyone involved in this.
He praised the community as strong and loyal, adding: ‘It’s a lovely area, very quiet area normally, and it’s actually been silenced by what has taken place.
‘Many people have been her for generation after generation, there are new people coming in, but it’s a very close community and I am hopeful that is going to hope in the days to come.’
Meanwhile, a relative in the Shetlands where 51-year-old Maxine’s family came from, who asked not to be named, criticised the authorities.
Another unnamed relative added: ‘The family members up here in Shetland are traumatised, we struggle to string a sentence together as we are all devastated not just for our family, we are grieving for every single person that was affected by this – and we have to live with that for the rest of our days.’
Survivor Ben Parsonage is a former junior boxer whose strong character will help him cope with Davison’s murderous rampage, a family friend said last night. The friend, who asked not to be named, said Ben was a promising teenager fighter who had boxed at shows across the West Country.
He said: ‘He was well respected at junior level. His mum Michelle used to travel with him and watch him ringside.
‘He is a strong character and he knows how to look after himself. I do feel he will come through this, though. He has a good family and a lot of good friends ready to support him.’
Speaking to community leaders in Keyham, Ms Patel said: ‘The impact of this will be long-standing. It’s a very sad time, very tragic. I think in the aftermath, so many people will be affected.
‘People will have seen things that, quite frankly, in all our lifetime we would never, ever want anybody to witness or experience.
‘It’s very hard. But you are not on your own, there is a great deal of support.’
Former Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West Nazir Afzal told BBC radio that there were 10,000 people with ‘incel’ views like Davison in the country.
Mr Afzal said: ‘How many of them, a small minority, are a threat? We have to recognise that we have a responsibility to identify them and share that information.
‘He was exactly the kind of person that you would be keeping an eye on or the authorities should be keeping an eye on.’
Meanwhile, the Government is likely to consider treating so-called ‘incels’ as terrorists if there are more attacks like the Plymouth shootings, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation has said.
Jonathan Hall QC 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.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel and Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, Shaun Sawyer, visiting the tributes in Plymouth today
Hayley Locke, 37, who also works for the NHS in an admin role, was another woman who came down to the park to pay her respects. Pictured: Members of the public today
SO WHAT TURNED THIS ‘COMPASSIONATE’ BOY INTO A MASS MURDERER?
Gunman Jake Davison was praised as ‘compassionate’ and a ‘success story’ in a glowing school report.
His former teacher Jonathan Williams wrote that classmates had warmed to ‘his exceptional sense of humour, compassion, readiness to accept the rules and to help others’, and that he had ‘learned to ‘develop strong friendships’.
The report, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, contrasts starkly with the disturbing YouTube videos Davison recently posted in which he railed against women, claimed he had been ‘defeated by life’ and that he was ‘fat and ugly’.
Mr Williams, who taught autistic Davison for three years at Mount Tamar special school, wrote in 2013 that Jake had been ‘the success story of this year’.
Davison, described as ‘compassionate’ by his former teachers shot multiple people and then himself last night in the worst shooting atrocity in Britain for 11 years
He wrote: ‘At the beginning of the year, much of Jake’s attitude and behaviour were typical of children with his condition.
‘Something seems to have had a terrific effect on Jake, as over the year he has made exceptional progress, both on modifying his behaviour and putting in a much harder effort with his work.
‘His grades have increased considerably in literacy and other subjects.
‘The real change, however, has occurred in Jake’s social skills, where he has learned to develop strong friendships.
‘It is particularly pleasing to see Jake involve himself in Army Cadets, and the support he has received at home should ensure that this becomes a rewarding and valuable part of his training.
‘I’m really pleased with Jake this year, and look to him to set the example to other students next year.’
Last night, Mr Williams said: ‘I really thought Jake had a bright future ahead of him. I just can’t believe that the kind young man with such a bright future turned out like this. It’s an utter tragedy.’
Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast