The family of one of Britain's worst mass shooters has spoken for the first time about the tragedy at the opening of the victim's inquests - and called for lessons must be learnt to stop a similar tragedy ever happening again.

Five "wholly innocent" people were shot dead by gunman Jake Davison who was given back his firearm by cops just a month earlier, an inquest heard.

Davison, 22, then carried out one of the worst mass shootings in decades during a 12-minute killing spree before turning the gun on himself, the coroner was told.

The serial killer began by murdering his mother Maxine Davison, 51, after a row at her home in Plymouth, Devon on August 12, 2021.

In the minutes that followed Davison, an apprentice crane operator, shot dead strangers Sophie Martyn, three, and her father Lee Martyn, 43, on the street as they walked their dog.He then killed Stephen Washington, 59, a full-time carer for his wife, in a nearby park as he also walked his dog by shooting him in the chest, before gunning down artist Katherine Shepherd, 66, who later died at Derriford Hospital from a wound to her stomach.

A 33-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman were also shot and wounded before Davison turned the gun on himself and ended his own life.

Opening the inquests for the victims at Exeter Racecourse on Tuesday, senior coroner Ian Arrow outlined the tragic events that unfolded and the issues that would be explored during the inquest.

This included concerns from the families as to why Davison was ever allowed to legally own a firearm.

These were heightened after it was revealed his gun, that he owned under a sporting licence, was confiscated following an accusation of assault - but given back to him shortly before the tragedy.

On the opening day of the inquest, a statement from the family of Maxine and Jake Davison outlined their feelings of anguish over what happened.

Maxine's son Josh Davison, wrote the statement on behalf of him and his sister Zoe and it was read in court by a family representative.

He said: "I speak for the whole family when I say we are all appalled by what happened.

"We are grappling to understand and manage our own health. Even deeper than that we share the feelings of hurt, despair, and loss of the Martyn, Washington and Shepherd families - knowing that it was a member of our family who was responsible for their loss.

"No words can describe the pain and heaviness of feeling this situation has caused.

"Our involvement in this inquest is to help prevent this happening in future - an event like this cannot and should not happen again.

"If we had one wish it would be we could turn back time and allow everyone who had a part in the events leading up to this tragedy an opportunity to make changes to prevent it happening at all.

"Our thoughts, feelings and lives are all over the place, we simply cannot express in words how much we miss her every single day."

Josh said Jake had struggled with autism and was adored by his mum.

He added: "Jake had autism and attended a school that focused on his needs - mum was absolutely devoted to Jake and protective of him"He was very much the main focus of her life.

"Paying tribute to Maxine, Josh described her as a "hippie" said added she was a "breezy, brilliantly quirky firecracker of a mum."

"She was a complicated person and a contrast of many different things. She was thoughtful but impulsive, reserved and quiet on the one hand, creative, adventurous and able to attract attention on the other.

"She was very much an independent, free-spirited soul, and really was one of a kind.

"She was very much dancing to the beat of her own drum.

"She was quirky and eccentric, a lovely woman, well-meaning and kind. Mum was also genuine and straight talking. She was polite and never wished to harm anyone.

"She seemed to travel the universe with her feet very much off the ground- almost like she was not quite designed for this earth."She was enchanting and a mysterious sort of woman, real love for life."She was lovable and daft as a brush - like a fairy blowing in the wind."

He said she was the youngest of ten siblings and a "real rock."

The inquest had heard Maxine had worked on a trawler in the Shetland islands where she met Jake's father Mark Davison before returning to Plymouth with her children. Mr Arrow told the 11-strong jury at the start of the hearing it would be looking at five separate deaths.

He told them:" Some of you may be aware of the incident and the alleged perpetrator was the son of Maxine Davison."He too died that day - but you are not being asked to sit on his inquest at this stage. His will follow afterwards.

"You will not just hear evidence of the incident. A shotgun that was lawfully held by Jake Davison was used to kill five wholly innocent victims.

"You will also be hearing something of Mr Davison's background and the licence application he made for that gun."There was an occasion in 2020 when his shotgun licence was revoked and how a decision was made later to return the shotgun to him in 2021."Witnesses will be coming to explain those events to you in some details."

The coroner also addressed bereaved relatives at the inquest and added: "I am very sorry of the circumstances that have brought us here today. I do hope the inquest process provides answers to the many questions you have without adding any further to your distress."

The IOPC had previously confirmed it had issued a gross misconduct notice to a member of police staff and a misconduct notice to a police officer. It has also held an investigation into Devon and Cornwall Police for potential breaches of legislation in the running of its Firearms Licensing Unit.

The probe had earlier revealed Davison had been given his fireman back by cops under a sporting licence designed to be used for clay pigeon shooting.The police watchdog had earlier confirmed the killer first applied for a shotgun certificate in July 2017.

The application was then processed by Devon and Cornwall Police and a certificate was issued to him in January 2018, valid for five years.

It is understood that in March 2018, Davison legally purchased a shotgun but concern was first raised about his behaviour after he admitted attacking two youths in a park in Plymouth.

The inquest continues and will hear tributes from the families to the other victims this afternoon.