Wednesday 20 June 2018

'You didn't deserve heartache' - Katie Taylor breaks silence on boxing club shooting as gardai draw up list of suspects

  • Offered condolences to family of late Bobby Messett
  • Distances herself from boxing club
  • 'I have been somewhat estranged from my dad for a number of years now'
  • Gardaí draw up list with half-a-dozen gun suspects
  • Bobby Messett to be laid to rest today
Katie Taylor said she had had little contact with her father. Photo: PA
Katie Taylor said she had had little contact with her father. Photo: PA

Ken Foy and Ryan Nugent

Boxing champion Katie Taylor has broken her silence on the horrific shooting in Bray Boxing Club which left her father injured and one man dead.

The five-time world champion boxer spoke of her estranged relationship with Pete Taylor while offering condolences to the family of victim Bobby Messett, murdered by a lone gunman on Tuesday morning.

The 31-year-old athlete, currently in America training for her next professional fight, decided to speak out to ensure "clarity in future stories that will inevitably be written".

"First and foremost, I would like to wish my most heartfelt condolences to the family of Bobby Messett for their tragic loss," she said.

"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 added: "You didn't deserve this heartache. I am so sorry for your loss."

Pete Taylor. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Pete Taylor. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The sports star is relieved her father made it through the horrific attack and thankful he is now recuperating well.

She said: "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."

When she won her first European boxing title in 2005, her father sold his electrical business and devoted his life to training his daughter full-time.

While being coached by her dad, Taylor won five world amateur titles, six Europeans and her Olympic gold.

Karen Brown, the girlfriend of Pete Taylor arriving at St Vincent’s hospital in Dublin. Mr Taylor was shot at the Bray Boxing club.
Karen Brown, the girlfriend of Pete Taylor arriving at St Vincent’s hospital in Dublin. Mr Taylor was shot at the Bray Boxing club.

However, less than nine months out from the 2016 Rio Olympics, their training partnership came to an unexpectedly abrupt end.

Taylor also distanced herself from Bray Boxing Club where the shooting took place.

"[I've had] no contact or association whatsoever with Bray Boxing Club since 2015."

She criticised the media coverage of the shooting which she described as "reckless'"

"I have been appalled by the misuse of my name and image during the reporting of this incident.

"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," she added.

In a statement issued to the 'Irish Times', she added: "I'm hoping the gardaí will get to the bottom of [the investigation] very soon."

A married father of three, Mr Messett was killed last Tuesday when a gunman opened fire at the club.

Ian Britton, a 35-year-old from Greystones in Co Wicklow, was shot twice in the legs while boxing trainer Pete Taylor was wounded in the upper body.

The gunman fled from the scene near Bray harbour in a silver Volkswagen Caddy.

Yesterday, Mr Taylor's partner Karen Brown was photographed as she visited him at St Vincent's Hospital.

Ms Brown (30) carried a Nike trainers box and a container which appeared to contain clothing and a towel.

She also appeared to be bringing a container of food to her partner, who is understood to be making a good recovery from the horrific injuries he received when a bullet exited his arm and entered his chest.

Gardaí have drawn up a list of around half-a-dozen criminals they believe could be responsible for the fatal shooting.

This strand of the investigation is focused on Dublin's north inner city.

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 handgun used in the attack has not yet been recovered.

"There are around half-a-dozen dangerous young men who are being actively looked at but, no arrests have yet been made," a source said.

Meanwhile, a large crowd is expected to attend this morning's funeral of victim Bobby Messett.

The funeral will take place at St Mochonog's Church in his native Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, at 11.30am.

Irish Independent

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