Suspect In Killing Of 5 People Talked About ‘Incel’ Culture Online — Many Fear Incels Are A New Terrorist Threat

Victims include a 3-year-old and the suspect's mother.

Plymouth Shooter Jake Davison YouTube

UK police are continuing their investigation of Plymouth shooting suspect Jake Davison as fear mount over incel subcultures. 

Police initially decided not to label Davison’s actions a terrorist incident but are now reviewing the decision as more details emerge about his involvement in the incel movement. 

What did Plymouth gunman Jake Davison do?

Jake Davison, a 22-year-old man, shot and killed 5 people and himself in the English city of Plymouth on Thursday, Aug 12, according to police. 


The youngest victim was Sophie Martyn, a 3-year-old who was killed alongside her 43-year-old father, Lee Martyn. 

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Davison also allegedly killed his own mother during the shooting spree which took place in multiple locations. 

Davison talked about being an ‘incel’ online.

Davison made several hateful rants on his YouTube channel, which has been taken down, as well as on online forums.

In a video from 3 weeks ago, he talked about the incel ideology and protested about not losing his virginity as a teenager. 

On Reddit, he described women as, “very simple-minded and they ain’t all that bright.”


The shooting has raised concerns over how misogyny spreads online, particularly amongst men within incel forums and chat rooms. 

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Should incels be considered a form of terrorism? 

The decision of whether or not to define acts of incel violence as terrorism ultimately lies with the law enforcement.

In the UK, the Crown Prosecution Service defines terrorism as “the use or threat of action, both in and outside of the UK, designed to influence any international government organisation or to intimidate the public.”

“It must also be for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.”


Incel-dom, as it exists now, can certainly be considered an ideological cause and it most definitely intimidates the public. 

However, it may be complicated to treat all incels as potential terrorists. 


"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," said Jonathan Hall, the UK's official Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.

Categorizing the movement as a form of terrorism could lead to a more thorough approach to shutting down places where incels congregate online which may ultimately be life-saving. 

Incel violence against women has stirred up fears and concerns over how authorities deal with misogynistic killers. 

Since the beginning of 2020, several women’s lives have been claimed in attacks carried out by men associated with the “involuntary celibate” movement. 


In Feb. 2020, a German man accused of killing 10 people was connected to the incel movement. Later that month, Toronto police labeled a homicide at a massage parlour an act of incel terrorism. 

In July 2021, an Ohio man was charged in federal court after attempting to plan a hate crime against women. 

Incels are often radicalized online and resort to extreme action, typically targeting women. This points to a dangerous ideology that is spread through fear and acts of terror. 

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.