HERO dad Lee Martyn made the “ultimate sacrifice” trying to save his three-year-old daughter from Jake Davison, friends have said.
Mr Martyn, 43, bravely shielded his daughter Sophie as incel loner Davison carried out his six-minute shooting spree on August 12.
The pair were among five victims killed by the 22-year-old gunman — including his own mother Maxine.
Family friend Dan Sobey, who runs a fitness business, told The Mirror how the tot’s mum Becky brought her to his class when she was just six months old.
Dan, 40, said: “Lee made the ultimate sacrifice. It brings a lump to my throat talking about it.
“As a friend and neighbour, we have real sympathy for them.”
“You can see from photos how much of a strong, lovely family they were.”
Lee made the ultimate sacrifice. It brings a lump to my throat talking about it
Mr Sobey added: “She was a very cute little girl, with floppy red hair, and turned into a lovely little toddler.
“Someone else who used to train at the same gym as Becky told me they would see Sophie toddling around there too.”
Friends, family and neighbours have paid their respects to the father and daughter.
One neighbour said: “It’s so awful. They were a perfect family. The sort you see in adverts.
“I can’t believe this has happened. Sophie was just the sweetest, cutest little girl. So, so lovely.
“This is absolutely devastating. Davison destroyed something so beautiful when he killed Lee and Sophie.”
Lee had been walking home with his adopted daughter Sophie when Davison turned his sights on them and pulled the trigger.
His distraught wife Becky, 42, an intensive care nurse who has helped Covid victims, was last night being comforted by friends.
Her husband and daughter were taken to the city’s Derriford Hospital where she works but it is not known if she was on duty.
What we know so far:
- Five people killed in mass shooting in Keyham, Plymouth, have all been named by police
- Gunman Jake Davison first opened fire at his mum Maxine Davison’s home before randomly shooting people in the street
- Sophie Martyn, three, her dad Lee, 43, Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66, are among the victims
- Davison, 23, also died after turning the gun on himself
- A number of people are still receiving treatment in hospital
- Police have confirmed the horror is not terror related and said Davison’s pump-action shotgun was legally owned by him
Witness John Partridge, 70, who lives on Biddick Drive — the cul-de-sac in which the rampage began — told The Sun: “I heard two shots, like loud fireworks, they went ‘bang, bang’.
“I went to my kitchen window and saw a little girl and a man running into the road.
“He shot at them from about 12ft away. The man was trying to protect the child and had an arm over her.
“I was frozen to the spot, it was terrifying.”
? Read our Plymouth shooting blog for the latest updates
Mr Partridge said he called police before Davison glared at him through the window.
He added: “I just ducked and he moved on down the street.
“After he had walked on, my wife wanted to help the girl and the man but I pulled her back out of the door. I was worried she would be shot too.”
‘STUFF OF NIGHTMARES’
Tributes last night flooded in for Toshiba worker Lee who, along with wife Becky, had adopted little Sophie around two years ago.
Lee had posted a picture on Facebook of the youngster, saying: “We finally adopted Sophie after nearly 15 months! Game changer.”
A close pal of nearly 30 years said: “Lee was a brilliant friend and loved by a lot of people.
“He was a genuine, caring guy, an amazing husband and dad.
“Sophie was just a beautiful little girl, cheeky and full of life.
“What’s happened to them is the stuff of nightmares.”
Davison destroyed something so beautiful when he killed Lee and Sophie.
The friend also questioned why fitness fanatic Davison had been allowed a firearm licence, despite reportedly suffering from mental health problems.
He added: “If he had issues, why the hell was he allowed to have a shotgun? We can’t understand it.”
The victims were targeted at random as Davison stalked suburban streets with his pump-action shotgun.
Minutes earlier, he had shot dead his 51-year-old mum Maxine in her home.
He then brought horror to the quiet streets — targeting four passers-by unfortunate enough to cross his path.
Also among the dead was Stephen Washington, 59 — killed as he walked his two beloved huskies.
And Kate Shepherd, 66, was gunned down outside a hairdresser’s in nearby Henderson Place.
‘MISS YOU MILLIONS’
Home Secretary Priti Patel paid her respects by today placing a large bouquet of flowers near to the scene.
And last night, Stephen’s son Simon paid tribute to his dad, known locally as “Husky Man”.
Simon posted: “After tonight’s events we lost our dad, my mum lost her world, my kids and my brothers’ and sisters’ kids lost their grandad.
“Each and everyone of us will miss him deeply. RIP Dad — you will be missed. Love you.”
Stephen’s other son Daniel added: “Miss you millions, RIP Dad.”
Terry Billing, a 75-year-old neighbour of final victim Kate, described her as a “lovely woman” who “always said hello”.
“She and her husband John were retired. What happened to Kate and all those poor other victims is atrocious,” he added.
Locals last night held a candlelit vigil in memory of the victims in North Down Crescent Park.
And Plymouth City Council said a minute’s silence will be held at 11am on Monday.
Mourners continue to place flowers, candles and cards at the junction of Wolseley Road and Henderson Place.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct regional director David Ford said it would be looking at what policy and procedures were followed concerning Davison’s possession of a shotgun which had only recently been handed back to him.
Mr Ford added: “It has not yet been established whether the shotgun returned to Mr Davison was used in yesterday’s shootings.”