Monday 27 May 2019

'I've had little contact with him in the last three years...' - Katie Taylor issues statement on Bray Boxing Club shooting

  • Gunman killed innocent Bobby Messett and injured Pete Taylor and Ian Britton in attack on Tuesday morning
  • Olympic boxer Katie Taylor has said she is 'relieved and thankful' her father survived
  • She said that they have been 'somewhat estranged for years'
  • Taylor extended condolences to Messett's family - 'you didn't deserve this heartache'
  • Gardai trying o establish history of getaway van
Pete Taylor was shot in Bray. Inset, with daughter Katie
Pete Taylor was shot in Bray. Inset, with daughter Katie

Kathy Armstrong, Conor Feehan and Ken Foy

Katie Taylor has said that she is "very thankful and relieved" her father Pete survived a gun attack at his gym on Tuesday morning, as she revealed that the pair have been estranged for several years.

She also extended her condolences to the family of innocent grandfather Bobby Messett (50), who was killed when a gunman entered Bray Boxing Club in The Harbour, Bray, Co Wicklow, at around 6.55am on Tuesday morning and fired a number of shots.

Mr Taylor and another man, Ian Britton, had to be rushed to hospital after they were injured in the attack.

In a statement released through the Irish Times this evening, Katie has spoken for the first time about the incident.

She said: "Following the horrific gun attack that took place in Bray Boxing Club early last Tuesday morning in which one man Bobby Messett was tragically killed and two others Ian Britton and my father Pete Taylor were seriously injured, there has been considerable public interest in all aspects of the event.

"However, for personal reasons as well as insuring clarity in future stories that will inevitably be written, I would like to make the following statement.

“First and foremost, I would like to wish my most heartfelt condolences to the family of Bobby Messett for their tragic loss. I can’t imagine the despair or the sense of injustice they must be dealing with. I’m praying they know God’s comfort in the hard days ahead."

She continued to touch on her relationship with her father, who owns Bray Boxing Club, saying she has "little to no contact" with him or his gym any more.

Bobby Messett died on Tuesday morning
Photo: Taylor Made Boxing Gym
Bobby Messett died on Tuesday morning Photo: Taylor Made Boxing Gym

“For my Dad, I’m very thankful and relieved he made it through this horrific attack and is recovering well. I understand there is still a lot of uncertainty about the nature of the incident but I’m hoping the gardaí will get to the bottom of it very soon.

“As many of you know, I have been somewhat estranged from my Dad for a number of years now. I’ve had little contact with him in the last three years and no contact or association whatsoever with Bray Boxing Club since 2015," Taylor said.

The 31-year-old athlete continued to deem that the use of her name in reporting of the story as "reckless" and appealed for privacy for herself and her family.

She said: “I have been appalled by the misuse of my name and image during the reporting of this incident in the media coverage, it has been reckless and irresponsible, and a deliberate attempt to inappropriately leverage my name to sell a story. I urge the media to leave me, my Mum and other family members out of this story."

Taylor added: “Finally, to Bobby’s family: You didn’t deserve this heartache, I’m so sorry for your loss.”

Investigating gardai are trying to establish the history of the getaway van used by the killer after information emerged that a similar vehicle with the same registration was written-off in the UK last year.

The silver VW Caddy Maxi was parked on the Pigeon House Road, Ringsend, following the shooting, and a man was seen taking a bike from the back of it and cycling away.

The van had Northern Irish registration plates that come from a vehicle fitting the description of the Caddy.

However, information obtained by the Herald shows that a silver VW Caddy with that registration was written-off by an insurance company last summer.

Records show it was a Category C write-off, meaning the insurer decided it was uneconomical to repair the damage

There was nothing stopping the owner repairing the vehicle and returning it to the road.

Boxing trainer Pete Taylor
Boxing trainer Pete Taylor

It did not appear damaged while parked on Pigeon House Road.

Gardai will establish if the vehicle was stolen or sold recently and what its movements have been in the past few weeks.

As no effort was made to burn it out, it could contain a wealth of potential forensic information that could help identify the gunman.

Detectives will take a detailed statement from Mr Taylor in the coming days and are also expected to give him a formal warning about an active threat to his life. His girlfriend Karen Brown maintained a vigil at his bedside yesterday.

He is expected to be issued with a Garda Information Message, or GIM, and given detailed security advice about his movements.

There is no suggestion that Mr Taylor or the other men shot in the gym have any involvement in crime.

Pete Taylor’s girlfriend Karen Brown, pictured arriving at hospital to visit him in June 2018
Pete Taylor’s girlfriend Karen Brown, pictured arriving at hospital to visit him in June 2018

"The reality is that Mr Taylor is very lucky to be alive and more people could also easily have been hit in this truly reckless attack - there were over 15 people in the gym," a source said last night.

"This is a very fluid and complicated investigation that has many strands to it and a number of theories are being explored and have not yet been discounted," he said

Anyone with information is urged to contact Bray Garda Station on 01 6665300

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