Belfast Telegraph

Boxer Katie Taylor offers condolences to shooting victim’s family

Father-of-three Bobby Messett, 50, died in the shooting at the gym near Dublin.

Boxing champion Katie Taylor has expressed heartfelt condolences to the family of a man shot dead in an attack that also injured her father.

Father-of-three Bobby Messett, 50, died while Pete Taylor, 57, sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries in the shooting at the gym he owns near Dublin.

A third man, 35-year-old Ian Britton, was also injured when a lone gunman opened fire in the Bray Boxing club in Co Wicklow on Monday morning.

World champion and Olympic gold medallist Taylor broke her public silence on the incident in a statement issued to the Irish Times on Thursday.

bpanews_fe1f887c-c735-40db-a32b-accb882221f7_embedded236844098
Pete Taylor was seriously injured in the shooting (Niall Carson/PA)

Describing the attack as “horrific”, the boxer expressed relief that her father had survived and was “recovering well”.

She confirmed she and Mr Taylor were “somewhat estranged” and said she was “appalled” at the media coverage of the event, accusing outlets of leveraging her name to “sell a story”.

The statement to the Irish Times 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 ensuring 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.

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

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

“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 Garda 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.

“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.

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

The club was where Taylor – Ireland’s Olympic, European and world champion – began her career. She went on to win gold at London 2012 with her father in her corner but now works in the US under different management.

A man wearing a balaclava or helmet and a high visibility jacket burst in and opened fire at the harbour-side centre using a suspected handgun at around 7am on Monday.

Gardai, who said the attack came “out of the blue”, located a suspected getaway van at Pigeon House Road in Dublin later that day. They are still hunting the killer.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph