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Wednesday, Dec 01, 2021

Tributes paid to Plymouth shooting victim Stephen Washington

Tributes paid to Plymouth shooting victim Stephen Washington

He was described as a ‘devoted’ family man

Relatives of Plymouth shooting victim Stephen Washington have paid tribute to the “friendly, devoted and outgoing” family man.

The 59-year-old, one of five people shot dead by Jake Davison on Thursday night, was a “loving husband, father, grandfather and best friend”, they said in a statement.

The family added that their world “has been turned upside down in the blink of an eye” by the tragedy.

Mr Washington was the fourth victim during the shooting spree and was gunned down in front of horrified onlookers in a park in the Keyham area of the city.

Mr Washington’s family said: “Stephen was a friendly, outgoing person. He would help anyone at the drop of a hat, he loved his animals and was often seen walking his two huskies in the area.

“Stephen was a devoted family man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and best friend.

“Since the devastating events a couple of days ago, our world has been turned upside down in the blink of an eye and he will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the families also affected by this tragic incident.”

Floral tributes in Keyham

Mr Washington’s widow Sheila described him as her “soulmate”, adding: “Fly high, you’ve earnt your angel wings.”

Davison shot his 51-year-old mother, Maxine, at a house in Biddick Drive before he went into the street and shot dead Sophie, aged three, and her father, Lee Martyn, 43.

In the 12-minute attack, Davison then killed Mr Washington, 59, in a nearby park before shooting 66-year-old Kate Shepherd, who later died at Derriford Hospital.

Prayers were said for the victims of the atrocity on Sunday.

Speaking after a service remembering those killed, Father David Way, parish priest at St Thomas’ Church, in Keyham, said: “Those people who have died, we have to keep those in our prayers, but also the loved ones which have been left behind.

“I’m hoping we can break any cycle of anger, as it were, and bring a cycle of love for everybody involved.”

During the service, he asked the congregation to pray for the five victims, Maxine Davison, Lee Martyn, Sophie Martyn, Kate Shepherd and Stephen Washington, adding: “We pray also for peace for Jake.”

Questions are continuing to mount over how gunman Jake Davison, 22, obtained a firearms licence and carried out his spree before turning the gun on himself.

A former Metropolitan Police chief has said officers should trawl through social media accounts of people applying for firearms licences to ensure that “guns do not fall into the hands of dangerous people”.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats accused Home Secretary Priti Patel of dragging her feet over advice to tighten the rules on issuing firearms and shotgun licences.

A Tory source accused 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 residents at how the events of the atrocity unfolded.

Father David Way during a service at St Thomas Church in Plymouth

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?”

An investigation is already under way into Davison’s possession of a shotgun and a firearms licence,

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.


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