Belfast Telegraph

Katie Taylor's dad hurt in fatal gun attack at gym

By Ken Foy

The gunman who stormed a gym in Co Wicklow killing a man and shooting the father of Olympic boxing gold medal-winner Katie Taylor is linked to a violent local drugs gang.

Pete Taylor was recovering in hospital last night following the ordeal, which happened before 7am at Bray Boxing Club.

Grandfather Bobby Messett (50) was shot in the head and fatally wounded during the attack.

It is understood Mr Messett, from Kilbride Grove in the town, fell victim simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was struck when he looked out to see what was going on.

The victim, who was a father-of-three, was among 20 people taking part in an early morning fitness session when the killer  struck.

Mr Taylor was being treated last night at St Vincent’s Hospital after suffering injuries when a bullet exited his arm and entered his chest.

Another local man, Ian Britton (35), suffered significant injuries after being shot in the legs.

Detectives were last night probing whether the gun attack was linked to a dangerous local drugs gang, but stressed that all three victims have no involvement in crime.

A police source said: “It is clear that a pretty bad dispute has broken out and that in has gone way too far.

“No one would expect that things would have went this far.

“It is absolutely shocking.”

Katie Taylor’s mother Bridget said she had no idea why the gym would be targeted.

“We really don’t know anything yet,” she said.

“The children are with Pete in hospital.

“We are all very distressed.”

Bridget confirmed her understanding was that Pete had been shot in the arm and the bullet had lodged in his chest, but that his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

“We’re glad he’s going to be OK and we all love him,” she said.

She said their thoughts were with the Messett family.

“I can’t imagine what they are going through,” she added.

“We are finding it hard enough here but it is so much worse for his family, our hearts go out to them.”

She could think of no reason why the club or anyone in it would be targeted in such a violent way.

“I really have no idea. We’re all shocked,” she said.

Gardai have not yet ruled out that the gun attack is linked to the deadly Hutch/Kinahan feud, but senior sources said that at this early stages it was “very unlikely” to be linked to the gang warfare.

There had been speculation that Mr Taylor might have been targeted yesterday by the Hutch mob because he has been training three professional boxers signed to a gym linked to cartel boss Daniel Kinahan.

It is not suggested that Pete Taylor or any of the boxers he coaches are involved in organised crime. It is understood that Mr Taylor coaches the MTK boxers for free and is not employed by them.

Belfast Telegraph

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