Monday 20 May 2019

'My natural instinct was to attack back' - Pete Taylor denies any involvement in crime as he recovers from shooting

  • Believes shooting may have been an act of intimidation that went wrong
  • Bobby Messett was killed when gunman opened fire earlier this month
Boxing coach Pete Taylor. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Boxing coach Pete Taylor. Photo: Gerry Mooney Newsdesk Newsdesk

Pete Taylor, the boxing coach injured in the gun attack in his Bray club earlier this month, has insisted he is not involved with crime and believes that the shooting, which claimed the life of his friend Bobby Messett, could have been an act of intimidation gone wrong.

Mr Taylor, father of lightweight boxing champion Katie Taylor, was speaking to the Sunday Times. 

The boxing coach claims to be perplexed as to the reasons why "anyone would attack the club, myself or any of our members." He said that if anyone wanted to directly target him there would have been "much less risk in shooting me at 4.30am outside my home when I set off for my first personal training session of the day, or at 6.15am when I arrive at the boxing club, which is an isolated area, in the dark. Or at night, when I am locking up the club at 9pm."

"My routine is identical every day," Mr Taylor told the Sunday Times. 

Describing the shooting, Mr Taylor said that the assailant fired eight times when he entered the club and that he was (Mr Taylor) only hit when he attempted to tackle the gunman. 

"The only reason I got caught in the firing line was because I made an attempt to run at him. My natural instinct was to attack back and try to protect my friends," he said. 

Mr Taylor, who is recovering from his injuries abroad having been discharged from hospital last week, said he was in the dark as to the motive behind the shooting and dismissed rumours of his involvement in crime, saying that his gut feeling was that the attack was "an act of intimidation that went wrong."

Mr Taylor also addressed rumours that the shooting could be linked to his supposed association with boxing management company MTK, it is alleged that MTK has links with members of the Kinahan crime family, though Mr Taylor insists that he has never met any member of the family. 

He further stated that he was not directly involved with MTK and that he simply coaches a number of professional boxers, with whom he has previously worked with at amateur level, managed by MTK. 

A gunman entered the club shortly before 7am on Tuesday, June 5, and opened fire, killing Mr Messett (50) and injuring Mr Taylor (57) and Ian Britton (35).

Gardaí investigating the shooting have drawn up a list of around half-a-dozen criminals they believe could be responsible. Detectives suspect the gunman fled to across the Liffey on a bicycle after escaping the scene in a VW Caddy. 

The criminal did not attempt to burn out the vehicle, which was discovered on the Pigeon House Road in Dublin's Ringsend just an hour after the gun attack.

The boxing club at the centre of the attack has since been closed down. The council said that as owner of the premises, it has a responsibility to ensure the building is restored to a condition fit for community use. 

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