Plymouth gunman behind mass shooting received mental health support during lockdown

17 August 2021, 18:13 | Updated: 17 August 2021, 21:33

Jake Davison killed five people in one of the UK’s worst mass shootings
Jake Davison killed five people in one of the UK’s worst mass shootings. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

A man who killed five people in one of the UK’s worst mass shootings received mental health support during the coronavirus lockdown, it has emerged.

Jake Davison, 22, who carried out the attack in the Keyham area of Plymouth, had been in contact with a telephone helpline service in the city.

He received support from the helpline, run by the Livewell Southwest organisation, over the last 18 months.

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An NHS spokeswoman said: "When mental health services were approached for help it was given.

"The First Response Service continued throughout lockdown and was strengthened to help people who were struggling."

Reports have suggested Davison's mother had been struggling to get help for her son, having become concerned about his mental health.

It raises more questions as to why Devon and Cornwall Police gave Davison his shotgun back after confiscating it.

His shotgun and certificate had been returned just weeks before the killing spree.

They had been seized in December last year following an assault allegation the previous September and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has already launched an investigation.

The Government has also announced firearms applicants will be subject to social media checks.

Apprentice crane driver Davison shot and killed his 51-year-old mother Maxine Davison at a house on August 12.

He then went into the street and shot dead three-year-old Sophie Martyn and her father Lee Martyn, 43.

In the 12-minute attack, he also killed Stephen Washington, 59, in a nearby park, before shooting Kate Shepherd, 66.

Davison then turned the gun on himself before armed officers reached him.

Social media usage by Davison suggested an obsession with "incel" culture, meaning "involuntary celibate", as well as an interest in guns and the US.

All police forces in England and Wales are being asked to review their current firearm application processes, as well as assess whether they need to revisit any existing licences.

The shootings could be reclassified as a terror attack after the National Counter Terrorism Policing Network initially said the incident was not one.

"The status of this will be kept under continual review and a further referral made should new information come to light," a police spokeswoman said.

"We are aware of Davison's interest and engagement with the incel movement and his use of various online platforms, and this forms a key strand within the ongoing police investigation."

If you need someone to talk to, Samaritans can be reached on 116 123 or via their website.