AT a candlelight vigil for the five victims of crazed gunman Jake Davison, two nurses clung to each other for comfort as tears rolled down their faces.
Laura Newall and Sam Cartwright were among hundreds of mourners who came together on Friday evening to share their grief and shock.
North Down Crescent Park in Keyham, close to where the shootings took place the day before, is also just five miles from Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where they both work.
It was there that the victims were taken. Tragically, they included colleague and friend Becky Martyn’s beloved husband Lee and their precious three-year-old girl Sophie.
The father and daughter had been out for a walk and were heading home, with Sophie pushing her dolly’s toy pram, when Davison opened fire on them.
Lee, 43, desperately tried to shield her but the shots poured out from the killer’s pump-action weapon. The pair had no chance.
Intensive care nurse Becky, 42, and Lee, who had worked for Toshiba before more recently in carpentry at a yacht company, have a son Cayden, seven.
They completed their family by adopting Sophie two years ago following a nervous 15-month wait for vigorous checks to be made.
Lee described the moment she arrived in their lives as “a game changer” and told his friends on social media that Sophie was “a beautiful little girl, cheeky and full of life”.
The couple loved to share photographs of their family on Facebook.
Laura, 36, said: “Becky posted a photo on Facebook at about 2.30pm on Thursday of the children on a day out. They looked so happy. It is heartbreaking, it was just hours before it happened.
“I worked on the children’s ward upstairs in the hospital and she was downstairs. We are a close unit and we are all in shock.
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“You don’t expect something like this to happen, to be going for a walk in daylight and to be killed. It is shocking, such a tragedy.
“I had to go to the vigil and pay my respects. They were such a lovely family.”
Throughout lockdown, Becky worked tirelessly and was looking forward to spending more time with her family over the summer.
Another nurse that worked with Becky said: “She has spent pretty much the past year working flat out for the NHS, caring for people with Covid-19.
“She’s an angel who saved the lives of many, many people but, first and foremost, she was a loving mum who adored her husband and two children.
“Like many NHS staff she has had to spend a lot of time away from her family over the past year. But Becky never complained and Lee always stepped up.”
And on Thursday he did everything he could to save Sophie’s life.
You don’t expect something like this to happen, to be going for a walk in daylight and to be killed. It is shocking, such a tragedy.
One friend said: “I have been told Davison ran from the house and then just carried on firing as he walked towards Lee and Sophie.
“There was hardly any time for Lee to react. But he apparently put his hands up and tried to confront Davison, while also doing his best to protect Sophie. But he didn’t stand a chance.
“It’s horrendous — and the entire community is in shock. Lee was a fantastic guy and a brilliant dad.
“He was always smiling and always out with the children.
“His wife did long hours so Lee was a really hands-on dad — and whenever Becky was off, they would be out enjoying days at the seaside or walking their dog.
“Lee was usually with his son as well as his daughter but on Thursday the little boy went to stay with his auntie. It doesn’t bear thinking about but, if he had been there too, he may have been killed as well.”
Lee was an Everton fan and before yesterday’s game against Southampton, drinkers in The Anchorage pub in Plymouth — where Lee was a regular — joined together to remember “a true gentleman and his amazing daughter”.
A minute’s silence was also held before Plymouth Argyle’s first home match of the new season against Gillingham — with flags at the ground being flown at half-mast.
Many of the residents in the area of Keyham, a Victorian suburb of Plymouth that was built to provide dense cheap housing for civilian workmen in the docks, were still in shock last night.
It is home to 7,000 residents, including crane driver Davison, 22, and his victims.
And it is where his six-minute rampage took place.
It began at his mother Maxine’s terraced house in Biddick Drive.
He shot dead the 51-year-old, who had just recovered from cancer. As he was leaving the cul-de-sac, he blasted Lee and Sophie.
Dog-walker Stephen Washington, 59, was killed in adjacent parkland.
The killer then moved to Henderson Place, where he shot 66-year-old Kate Shepherd, who later died in Derriford Hospital.
He then turned the gun on himself before firearms officers had the chance to confront him.
Just yards from the scene, next to the main dual carriageway heading into the town, the Lidl supermarket, which shut as a mark of respect, became an unlikely shrine to the dead.
Locals tearfully walked, many in hand in hand, to lay flowers, teddy bears, plus stuffed Winnie the Pooh and Tigger toys.
One of the many bunches of cheerful sunflowers was from Becky’s colleague Laura.
It’s horrendous — and the entire community is in shock. Lee was a fantastic guy and a brilliant dad.
Attached was a touching message that read: “Sleep tight, you beautiful family. Lee and Sophie, you should not have been taken so soon. Take care of each other. The stars will shine bright tonight.”
Another said: “May your five souls shine bright in the heavens as these sunflowers represent you here on earth.”
Another resident put: “Plymouth’s Angels. We will never forget you. May you all rest in eternal peace and love. Thoughts with family, friends and our community.”
Pensioner Peter Crisp drove eight miles into the area to lay flowers.
The 78-year-old, who recently lost his wife to cancer, said: “I didn’t know them, I never met them but I had to do something.
“I wanted to bring flowers to show my respect. This should never have happened. We are all in utter shock in Plymouth.”
The Salvation Army and the police patrolled the area offering words of support and kindness.
One church — a few streets from Lee and Becky’s home — opened a book of condolence.
And Ford Primary School became a meeting area for experts to discuss how to tell the children what had happened.
A pal of Becky’s told us: “She and Lee were really popular members of the community and nobody can believe this has happened.
“I don’t think this area will ever be the same again. How do you recover from something like this on your doorstep?”
Becky is a prolific fundraiser who has worked tirelessly to generate cash for the NHS and associated charities.
She was also a supporter of the Laura Hyde Foundation, which fights to raise awareness of mental health among emergency care workers.
Now a fundraising JustGiving page has been set up for Becky. Within hours, the £1,500 target had been reached.
Organiser Mark Smith posted: “For our amazing friend Becky and Cayden. She has been there for many of us at some point, now we need to be there for her.
“No words or anything we do will make things better, but maybe raising a bit of money for them, and then they can decide how to spend it. I know everyone loves Bex, so whatever you can afford will be appreciated.”
But while Becky is known in the area for her charitable work, it is now her husband who will be remembered as a hero for his desperate attempt to save their young daughter’s life.