herald

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Taylor gym shooting probe focuses on associate of dead gangland fixer

Pete Taylor and partner Karen Brown pictured in Belfast after the shooting
Pete Taylor and partner Karen Brown pictured in Belfast after the shooting

Gardai have identified an associate of dead gangland fixer Martin Cervi as the main focus of their probe into the murder of Bobby Messett and the shooting of coach Pete Taylor and Ian Britton at Bray Boxing Club earlier this month.

Gardai, who have been tracing the route taken by the shooter in a getaway van and later on a bicycle, raided a property in the north inner city last weekend after following a CCTV trail.

It is understood that the focus of the investigation is now on a close associate of Cervi, who died in Holland in 2016.

While Cervi was a close pal of Gary Hutch, his associate - who is in his 30s - is not known to be strongly linked to either side of the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

Grudge

Gardai believe that a psychopathic criminal carried out the shooting.

Mr Taylor was about to start a boot camp class at the gym when a lone gunman burst in and started firing bullets.

Innocent Mr Messett, a popular grandfather and fitness fanatic who was a regular at the gym, was shot dead when he became caught in the crossfire, although gardai do not believe the gunman was aiming at him when he was hit by the fatal bullet.

Mr Taylor suffered an injury to his arm and chest and was rushed to hospital after the shooting, along with another gym-goer, Mr Britton.

Bray Council has since taken control of the building in order to restore it to be fit for public use.

In an interview last weekend Mr Taylor claimed that he had "run at" the gunman, who was firing indiscriminately when he was injured.

He said he had a 30pc chance of losing his arm because of the severity of his injuries.

Shortly after he was released from hospital, Mr Taylor was spotted in Belfast with a large bandage over his upper arm.

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