Tuesday 25 June 2019

'Heartbroken' Taylor tells of 'excruciating anguish' over murder of pal Bobby

Boxing coach Pete Taylor. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Boxing coach Pete Taylor. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Boxing coach Pete Taylor has told of his "excruciating anguish and devastation" at the loss of his friend Bobby Messett, who was shot dead as he exercised at Bray Boxing Club.

Mr Taylor (57), who is recovering from serious injuries sustained when a gunman stormed his gym, spoke of the "senseless attack" as gardai continued their murder investigation.

Grandfather Mr Messett was laid to rest in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, on Friday.

Mr Taylor, the father of world lightweight boxing champion Katie Taylor, paid tribute to Mr Messett (55), who was shot in the head.

"Words will never explain my excruciating anguish and devastation at the horrific, senseless attack at Bray Boxing Club," he said.

"Bobby was my close friend, training partner and sparring mate. I am utterly heartbroken that he is gone.

"I cannot fathom the excruciating pain and heartache that this horrendous incident has inflicted on Bobby's family. I cannot imagine their loss.

"To Bobby's family and the members of Bray Boxing Club, who are my extended family, I express more sorrow than you may ever know or can believe."

A gunman entered the gym last Tuesday morning just before 7am and opened fire, killing Mr Messett and injuring Mr Taylor, who was wounded in the arm and chest.


Another gym user, Ian Britton, suffered gunshot wounds to the leg.

Bobby Messett
Bobby Messett

Mr Britton told the Sunday World: "Bobby died because he was the nearest one to him [the gunman], simple as that. I'm doing fine, I'm on a lot of meds but I'm alive.

"It's just been a terrifying week, but I'm not in a position to say anything more than I want to offer my deepest con- dolences to Bobby's family."

Mr Messett was one of 20 people at a boot camp class at the club last Tuesday when the incident happened.

Gardai believe he was on an exercise machine and had leaned forward to see what was happening when he was shot in the head.

Seconds earlier, a gunman whose face and head were covered up entered the gym and began firing from a handgun as Mr Taylor and others tried to take cover from the bullets.

The boxing coach was wounded in the arm, then the bullet entered his chest. Mr Britton was shot in the leg as the gunman fled the scene.

The attacker made his way to a parked silver Volkswagen Caddy and drove through Shankill and Cornelscourt, south Dublin.

He dumped the car at Pigeon House Road, Ringsend, before taking a bicycle from the boot and cycling off into rush hour traffic.

Bray Boxing Club is leased by Mr Taylor but it is a community facility funded by the State following his daughter Katie's Olympic gold medal win for Ireland in 2012.

In a statement last week she paid tribute to Mr Messet, saying she wanted to offer her "heartfelt condolences" to his family.

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