herald

Tuesday 14 August 2018

'I'm relieved my dad survived shooting - but I'm estranged from him'- Katie

Katie with her world title
Katie with her world title
Katie with dad Pete in the early days of her career

Irish Olympic heroine Katie Taylor has broken her silence over her father's shooting at Bray Boxing Club, saying she is thankful "he is recovering well" but admitted she is estranged from him.

The unified professional world champion released a statement last night in which she offered her condolences to the family of Bobby Messett, who was killed.

She said she hoped gardai would get to the bottom of the shooting.

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

Katie (31), who is in America training for her next professional fight, distanced herself from both the boxing club and her father, Pete.

"I'm very thankful and relieved he made it through this horrific attack and is recovering well," she added.

"I understand there is still a lot of uncertainty about the nature of the incident but I'm hoping the gardai will get to the bottom of it very soon.

Reckless

"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."

Taylor, who released the statement to the Irish Times, said she wanted to provide clarity.

"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."

The Bray boxer, five-time world amateur champion, went on to say the use of her name in coverage of the incident had been "reckless".

"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."

Earlier this week, Katie's mother, Bridget - who is no longer married to Pete - reacted to his shooting by saying: "We're glad he's going to be okay, and we all love him."

Pete had become one of the most recognisable coaches in Irish sport, as he stood in Katie's corner when she clinched a historic gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The father-daughter duo achieved unprecedented success, with Katie's achievements being the clincher for securing women's boxing in the Olympics.

Less than nine months out from the Rio Games in 2016, their training partnership came to an abrupt end.

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

While being coached by her dad, Katie went on to win her five world amateur titles and six Europeans, along with her Olympic gold medal.

Fantastic

In 2014, Katie opened the revamped, government-funded Bray Boxing Club.

However, just months before Katie was due to travel to Brazil to defend her title, the Taylor partnership ended, with Pete saying he was taking a break.

In February 2016, when quizzed on whose decision it was for her father to no longer be in her corner, she said: "I think you will have to speak to him about that. I'm not going to answer any questions.

"All I can say is my preparation is going fantastic. And I absolutely love my family and I wouldn't be anywhere without them."

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