Belfast Telegraph

Olympic champion Katie Taylor’s father injured in boxing club triple shooting

Sports and keep fit enthusiast Bobby Messett, 50, died while Pete Taylor, 57, sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries in the attack.

The father of Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor has been injured during a fatal shooting at his gym in Ireland.

Sports and keep fit enthusiast Bobby Messett, 50, died while Pete Taylor, 57, sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries in the attack near Dublin. A third man, 35, was also hurt.

They were part of a group of up to 20 people at Bray Boxing Club in Co Wicklow who were about to start a session shortly before 7am on Tuesday morning.

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 hand gun, police said.

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.

Gardai said the attack came “out of the blue” and located a suspected getaway van at Pigeon House Road in Dublin.

Bray Municipal Council chair Chris Fox said: “Bobby would be very well-known in sporting circles in Bray, very much into soccer and keeping fit and used to go to the club before his day’s work.

“He would not have any association with criminality or anything like that – never.”

He died at the scene.

Mr Fox added: “I don’t know what the background is to this but to me he would certainly have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, I could not see anyone targeting him in any shape or form.”

He said Mr Messett’s son Gary had represented Ireland in the Paralympics. Mr Messett’s wife is Jackie.

Lines of gardai searched the harbour at Bray as they launched a manhunt for the killer.

Forensics experts combed rocks nearby for clues. Armed support officers were present. Investigators in white boiler suits and gloves hunted for evidence.

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Boxing coach Pete Taylor was injured in the shooting at the club he founded in Bray, Co Wicklow (Niall Carson/PA)

Garda Superintendent Pat Ward said detectives were still establishing a motive, investigators were unsure whether the attack was targeted or indiscriminate. They were unaware of pre-existing threats to any gym member.

Mr Ward said the dead man was attending a regular fitness session.

“This came totally out of the blue – it was a normal day for all of those people in the gym.”

He said it was unclear whether the gunman had an accomplice.

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Garda activity at Bray Boxing Club (Brian Lawless/PA)

The man’s body was removed from the club at around 2pm in a blacked out vehicle.

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Evidence at the side of the road after the shooting (Brian Lawless/PA)

Belfast’s former boxing world champion Brian Magee described Mr Taylor as a credit to Irish boxing.

Mr Magee said: “Pete is such a nice guy, he has such a good reputation, he’s such a fantastic trainer. He trained one of the best female fighters ever in the world.”

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