Teacher helped Plymouth shooter with gun application, inquest hears

A former school teacher of Plymouth shooter Jake Davison helped with his shotgun application after staying in touch on Facebook, an inquest heard.

Josephine Duffy, a teacher at Mount Tamar school, said in 2017 she agreed the 22-year-old could use her details on an application for a shotgun certificate.

The hearing, which is into its ninth day, follows Davison’s killing of his mother, Maxine, 51, after a row and then shooting dead four others in a 12-minute rampage on the evening of August 12, 2021, in the Keyham area of the city.

Apprentice crane operator Davison then turned the pump-action shotgun on himself before armed police reached him, reports Plymouth Live.

Today, during her questioning, Ms Duffy said that before agreeing to help with the shotgun application she requested to meet Davison and his mum at their home.

She said she went around and spent around half an hour chatting with Davison and his mum over a cup of tea he had made.

She described them as both being “happy and relaxed”, and on visual impression, he looked well.

He was clean-shaven and had been going to the gym, which he had talked about doing when he left school.

She said he had an apprenticeship with a scaffolder, and they discussed the firearms license.

She said he explained it was explicitly to go clay shooting with his uncle in Cornwall.

She said his mum said it would get him out of the house and be a positive thing.

She said Maxine was “fully supportive” of the move and that they both looked well and happy, and his mum was “100 per cent” for her son making the application.

As such, Ms Duffy said she agreed to be the referee but made it clear to Davison that she would probably not be the only person the police contacted and the ultimate decision was for the police.

She was contacted a few days later and the inquiry officer spent “five to ten minutes – more like five minutes to be honest” on the phone.

Ms Duffy said she explained Davison was autistic, his special interest in guns and artillery and he was “very knowledgeable” and wanted to have a career in firearms.

She recalled telling the police about the one incident of violence she knew about in school.

Asked if she was asked for documents to back up what she said, she replied “no”.

Asked if anyone told her the license had been granted, she replied “no”.

Earlier in the hearing, Ms Duffy described Davison as well-liked, very funny, clever, and very inquisitive but admitted he came to the school with “difficulties”.

She said she was aware that Davison had a “couple of difficulties controlling his behaviour” and said after his official diagnosis of ASD (Austism Spectrum Disorder) they were able to put a plan “to move forward to help him cope – not just to cope but to thrive”.

She also explained that in her experience that he did not lose his temper until he was provoked and said in the first incident of violence in around 2011, noted previously in the inquest, another child had been trying to provoke him and that Davison retaliated to the other child.

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