Jake Davison, the 22-year-old man who shot dead five people in the English city of Plymouth on Thursday, made repeated misogynist remarks on social media that echoed the ideology of “incel,” a movement of men who often claim they feel unfairly denied sex by women or girls.
Davison went on hateful rants about women on a YouTube channel that has been taken down. In video clips seen by CNN, he makes numerous hateful remarks, calling women “very simple-minded” and shallow, saying that most women are only motivated by money.
The videos paint a picture of a young man who had been frustrated with his lack of success with women sexually since he was a teenager.
In another video, which was reposted online by The Telegraph newspaper, Davison referred to himself as “the terminator.”
“I’m so beaten down and defeated by life … that drive that I once had is gone. I try … but I’m at the point now where it’s like, why do I even bother,” he said on YouTube.
CNN has not confirmed when Davison filmed the clips. Luke Pollard, a member of parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport verified to CNN that the man in the videos posted on YouTube was Davison. The video clips match images of Davison from his Facebook page, which has also been removed.
Davison’s mother, 51-year-old Maxine Davison, also known as Maxine Chapman, was named as one of the victims.
The youngest victim was Sophie Martyn, a 3-year-old who was killed alongside her 43-year-old father, Lee Martyn, according to police. Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66, have also been identified as victims. Davison took his own life after the six-minute shooting spree, police said.
While police have not made any official link between the shootings and Davison’s videos, the gunman’s misogynist comments echo those often heard by men and boys in the incel – “involuntary celibate” – movement.
Incels are almost always men or boys who espouse misogynist views and often say they want to have sex but feel that women or girls are denying them of it.
After police said they were not treating the incident as a case of terrorism, the shooting gave way to discussions online and in the media about whether incel violence should be included in anti-terrorism legislation.
Men described as “incels” have been behind a number of mass shootings in the United States, and two in Germany by the same gunman.
Jonathan Hall, who is the UK’s official Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, said it was unlikely there would be change to legislation after the shooting, but that if the country saw more similar attacks, there may be discussions to do so.
“The question is really whether or not the authorities want to treat the incel phenomenon as a terrorist risk. That would involve diverting resources or putting resources into it,” he told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program.
“If we see more of these sorts of attacks, then I have got no doubt that it will be treated more seriously as terrorism. It fits rather uneasily into the way the authorities understand ideologies. It seems part of right-wing terrorism but it is not really. In fact, it is quite separate from it. It is a different sort of ideology,” he said.
“The question is really one of choice. Do we want to start treating incels as potential terrorists?”
Davison’s gun license was returned to him
England’s police watchdog will investigate the decisions of Devon and Cornwall police in relation to the Plymouth gunman’s possession of a shotgun and shotgun certificate.
“The investigation follows a mandatory referral from the force which contains preliminary information that Mr Davison’s shotgun certificate and a shotgun were returned to him in early July this year,” said the Independent Office for Police Conduct in a statement released Friday.
Local police had previously taken the certificate and shotgun from Davison in December 2020 following assault allegations in September 2020, according to the IOPC.
IOPC regional director David Ford said, “We will examine what police actions were taken and when, the rationale behind police decision-making, and whether relevant law, policy and procedures were followed concerning Mr Davison’s possession of a shotgun. The investigation will also consider whether the force had any information concerning Mr Davison’s mental health and if so, if this information was appropriately considered.”
Ford also said that “the investigation will explore whether there was any causal link between the arrival of police and Mr Davison apparently shooting himself.”
CNN’s Angela Dewan contributed to this report.