Plymouth shooting: Family of one of the victims ‘still struggling’ one year on

The family of one of the victims killed in the Plymouth shooting say they are “still struggling” to come to terms with the tragic events, one year on.

Stephen Washington, 59, was one of five people killed by Jake Davison, who turned the gun on himself after his 12-minute-long shooting spree on 12 August 2021.

In a statement, his family said: “Our hearts and thoughts are still with the other families and survivors as we move forward towards the inquest in January.

Stephen Washington, 59, was among those killed in the Keyham shooting

“We miss Stephen every day, and we are still struggling to come to terms with the tragic events of that fateful day. The grandchildren miss him dreadfully, as they miss his fun and games and tickle sessions.”

Davison, 22, also killed three-year-old Sophie Martyn and her father, 43-year-old Lee – as well as Kate Shepherd, 66 and his mother, Maxine Davison, 51.

To mark the one-year anniversary, first responders to the incident will be among those attending a private church ceremony on Friday.

The service will take place at St Andrew’s Church before two vigils – one in Keyham for those local to the area, and another for the wider community at Smeaton’s Tower at the Hoe.

More on Plymouth Shooting

From Friday to Sunday, drawings by young people from Keyham will be projected onto the Theatre Royal Plymouth and Smeaton’s Tower.

Witness speaks for first time

Dawn McNicholas was in her courtyard just a few metres from Davison when he turned the gun on himself on the other side of her fence – she’s spoken for the first time about events that day.

“I just heard gun shots and thought it was the lads across the road with their bikes.

“It was really loud. I just heard gun shots. I went upstairs, and I looked out of the window and the armed police were coming up the road, and it was literally, almost, instantaneously they got here – within minutes.

“It was quite scary really.

“We couldn’t come out of our houses unless we asked. We had to be escorted down the road.

“We had police around for seven days, and we had them for weeks after, which is good because it made you feel secure.

“We couldn’t believe how he just went through the park and carried on like that.

“We had people knocking on our door asking if we needed help. We’ve had a lot of support – they’re still supporting us.”

Hannah Pooley from Plymouth Together is one of the vigil organisers.

She said: “We are trying to do this as carefully as possible.

“The city needs to show its respect and remember what happened and people that have wanted to show their respects, want and are welcoming the vigil and some people won’t attend any of it – and that’s absolutely fine, so we wanted to do just enough.

Three of the five victims of the Plymouth mass shooting (L/R): Sophie Martyn, her father Lee Martyn, and the gunman's mother Maxine Davison
Three of the five victims of the Plymouth mass shooting (L/R): Sophie Martyn, her father Lee Martyn, and the gunman’s mother Maxine Davison

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A year on after Jake Davison killed five people, including a young girl in Plymouth, a resident reflects on what happened.

“There are so many organisations that came into Keyham and worked with the local people immediately [after the attack] and they are still working just as hard today.”

Ms Pooley told Sky News there will be help on offer this weekend.

“There has been support since the event happened and obviously it may be in higher demand at the anniversary, but we really want people to reach out and use that support,” she said.

“That includes drop-ins, support for children, families and adults, whatever people feel they need, they can drop into community centres and talk to people, and they’ll be given the help they need.”

Plymouth shooting map

Davison was given back his firearms licence by Devon and Cornwall Police just weeks before the attack.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has completed its investigation into that decision and other circumstances – the findings of which will be published after inquests conclude, next year.

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