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Inquest to open into Plymouth shooting as questions remain over shotgun licence

Inquest to open into Plymouth shooting as questions remain over shotgun licence
Senior officer leading investigation expected to give evidence

A coroner will today open inquests into the deaths of Plymouth shooter Jake Davison and his five victims.

The hearing is expected to receive evidence from the senior officer leading the investigation for Devon and Cornwall Police.

This morning, senior coroner for Plymouth, Ian Arrow, will formally open the hearings into the deaths of Maxine Davison, 51, Sophie Martyn, 3, her father Lee Martyn, 43, Stephen Washington, 58, and Kate Shepherd, 66.

In a separate hearing in the afternoon, Mr Arrow will open the inquest into the death of apprentice crane operator Jake Davison.

Jake Davison, 22, killed five people and injured two others last Thursday evening in an event that shocked the nation and has sparked calls for further gun control regulation.

Following a six-minute rampage in Keyham, Plymouth, Davison then killed himself.

Devon and Cornwall’s police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez announced yesterday that she would be assisting the police force in a “fast review” of their firearms licensing procedures.

The force is already under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over why Jake Davison was in possession of a shotgun and shotgun certificate.

The licence and shotgun had been removed from Davison by police in December 2020, following an alleged assault in September of that year. But the force returned the gun to him after he completed an anger management course.

It emerged this week that Jake Davison had received help for his mental health over lockdown.

In a statement, Commissioner Hernandez said: “We must not jump to conclusions about the reasons for these heinous crimes but await the Independent Office of Police Conduct’s investigation, an NPCC led review into the police’s procedures and the coroner’s report as we seek to fully understand what, if any, changes may need to be made into firearms licensing procedures.

“I am assisting the Chief Constable to organise a fast review of the general procedures of firearms licensing in Devon and Cornwall to ensure they are following national guidance correctly.

“We will also be working with Police and Crime Commissioners from around the country to ensure that if there are lessons to be learned these will be shared with colleagues from around the country.”

An IOPC spokesperson said that their investigation will consider “whether relevant law, policy and procedures were followed concerning Mr Davison’s possession of a shotgun”. And also “whether the force had any information concerning Mr Davison’s mental health and if so, if this information was appropriately considered.”