Jake Davison, the Plymouth attacker, expressed misogynistic and homophobic views and portrayed himself as a man in despair who raged against his mother and his failure to find a girlfriend.
In what the 22-year-old described as an “unscripted rant” posted just over two weeks ago, he said “for the most part it’s just been me against the world”.
He also shared hate-filled views on Reddit forums used by “incels” – men who express online hostility and resentment towards those who are sexually active, particularly women. Earlier this year, authorities in the US warned that attacks linked to the incel movement were on the increase as authorities around the world have begun to treat the ideology as a more serious terrorism threat.
Davison used incel forums to express hatred for his mother and a view that mass shootings had no connection to gun control.
One of Davison’s first victim was confirmed to be his mother, Maxine, 51, after police said there was a “familial relationship” with one of the victims.
Davison’s Reddit posts are filled with hatred for his mother, whom he described as “my vile dysfunctional chaotic mother”. He also rants in general against single mothers.
He also alludes to a financial dispute with his mother over benefit money that he felt he was owed because he claimed he had autism. A month ago, he wrote: “Luckly i got PIP money because i legit have autism which i should have taken from my mother at 18 years old really but like an idiot she manipulated and guilt tripped me in lettering her have it until at 22 i decided enough is enough and i took it from her.”
Police said they were keeping an open mind on the motive but a neighbour and friend of the family said Davison had fallen out with his mother and they argued over his misogynist views. The neighbour said: “Maxine and Jake used to be close. You’d always see him helping her with the shopping at Lidl but they started to clash a lot. Jake was very quiet growing up. He was a troubled soul. He got into guns and he knew everything there was to know about them.”
Two days ago, he liked a brief video on YouTube of men in the US loading and firing powerful rifles at a target. Social media posts from about 2018 also suggest he was a fan of the former US president Donald Trump and a supporter of the UK Libertarian party.
He shared a quote of Trump saying: “In America we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to want.” In 2016, he posted an image of a statue of Capt John Parker holding a rifle, an iconic figure in the US of the right to bear arms.
Last month on Reddit, he wrote: “Mass shootings are new phenomena that cannot be directly blamed on guns.” He mentioned the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987 in the UK when 18 people were killed.
Davison’s Facebook profile listed him as working for the defence and security company Babcock International, which is based in Plymouth. His profile also claimed he was from Phoenix, Arizona.
In two videos posted late last month he comes across as a man struggling with his mental health and full of loathing for himself and others.
In the most recent, he said: “It’s just been me fighting an uphill battle with a big fucking rock on my back, seeing motherfuckers that don’t deserve half of anything now. They’re getting a free ride to the top.”
He compared life to a Terminator movie where “everything is rigged against you – there’s no hope for humanity”.
Davison twice likened himself to an “incel” and complained that he lacked friends and a support network.
“Maybe the business owner might go bankrupt twice … but guess what – he had a wife and kids to support him. Does incel or virgin get that? No. Imagine failing at everything in life and having absolutely no support whatsoever.”
In a video filmed in a room with weightlifting equipment visible, Davison spoke of his lack of motivation to continue working out. He said: “You don’t have any willpower to do anything any more … how many years have I been working out? How many years have I been wanting and dealing with all these frustrations?”
He then pinched his stomach and asked: “Do I look any better?” He added: “Now I’m so beaten down, and defeated by fucking life. That drive that I once had has gone, mine has gone.”
He suggested he had been happy working in his late teens as a scaffolder, but had declined since then. “I worked there for a year and a half and then I injured my ankle when I took a couple weeks off and then after that I was just never the same,” he said.
He also compared himself to a retired boxer. “What happens to these pro-fighters when they lose? They lose all motivation, they’re fucked they’re never the same again.”
Speaking with a West Country accent, Davison added: “You get old, you’re ground down.” He added: “I’m still in the same house, same situation, same position … I’m still a virgin, fat, ugly, whatever you want to call it.”
At one point he expressed surprise that he had made it this far in life: “Most people would have been completely broken if they had lived my fucking life.”
In another video, he voiced regret at missing out on teenage love. “I have a feeling like I missed that boat and it’s never coming back.” He added: “There’s nothing really to look forward to as an adult, other than getting rich.”
At one point he described himself as “autistic or whatever” and complained that his workplace was a “male environment”.
He said: “I’m not very social and naturally quite asocial so I don’t have big social circles where I know I can meet girls.”