Jake Davison’s Assault Case Should Have Been Sent to CPS, Investigating Detective Says | UK News
The decision not to refer Jake Davison’s assault of two teenagers to the Crown Prosecution Service a year before he shot five people in Plymouth was wrong and posed a danger to the public, a detective has admitted.
DS Edward Bagshaw said a brief should have been sent to the CPS to consider charging him with assault causing bodily harm and grievous bodily harm. But police came under pressure to stop referring cases to courts, which were struggling to deal with backlogs caused by the pandemic, and instead put him through a restorative justice program.
Inquests into the deaths of Davison’s five victims heard that Davison punched a 16-year-old boy in the face and slapped his 15-year-old friend after she was called fat by another teenager. The boy suffered injuries to his eyebrow, nose and lip during the incident at a park in Plymouth in September 2020.
Davison, an apprentice crane operator, was not charged over the incident and was instead referred to the Pathfinder restorative justice program. His legally held shotgun and certificate were later seized, but later returned in July 2021. The following month Davison, 22, killed his mother, Maxine, 51, Sophie Martyn, three, his son father, Lee Martyn, 43, Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66, before turning his shotgun on himself.
Bagshaw said police could charge themselves with common assault or battery offenses, but if it was a more serious charge, such as assault causing actual bodily harm ( ABH) or assault causing grievous bodily harm, this required CPS approval.
Inquiry lawyer Bridget Dolan KC asked the detective if there has been a trend of downgrading offenses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bagshaw replied, “There was a lot of pressure from the court to use extrajudicial arrangements at that time.”
Dominic Adamson KC, representing the families of Davison’s victims, suggested the assault on the boy was a “nailed” case under Section 47 ABH and should have been referred to the CPS.
“In my view, at that time it should have been referred to the CPS,” Bagshaw said.
Nicholas Stanage, representing Davison’s brother and sister, Zoe and Josh Davison, asked, “Was the decision not to treat the case as ABH a decision that failed to protect the public? Do you agree?”
Bagshaw replied, “I should be okay with that.”
Stanage asked, “A decision that posed a danger to the public?”
Bagshaw replied, “Probably, yes.”
The inquest also heard from DI Debbie Wyatt, who made the decision to send Davison’s case to Pathfinder. She said at the time, officers received “regular emails” asking them to consider “out-of-court arrangements”.
Dolan asked, “Was that a call to send as many as possible to the Pathfinder?”
The officer replied, “If it was appropriate. If I hadn’t thought it was suitable, I wouldn’t have sent it.
Investigations are continuing.