Gardaí believe ‘inexperienced gunman’ tried to kill Pete Taylor

CCTV footage being examined in attempt to identify shooter who fled in van and then on bicycle

Boxing coach Pete Taylor, father of Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor, was one of three men shot at the Bray Boxing Club. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire.

Gardaí believe the fatal shooting of Bobby Messett (50), in an attack targeting boxing coach Pete Taylor, was possibly carried out by a criminal with little experience of gun violence.

Mr Messett was fatally wounded just before 7am on Tuesday while working out in Bray Boxing Club. An innocent bystander with no involvement in crime, he regularly trained and boxed at the club.

Mr Taylor (57), the father of 2012 Olympic boxing champion Katie, was shot in the upper body but is expected to make a full recovery.

Ian Britton (35), from Greystones in Co Wicklow, was shot in the leg but survived. Like Mr Messett, Mr Britton had gone to the gym for a morning workout class and was wounded during a botched attempt to shoot Mr Taylor.


In recent years many gangland killings, especially in Dublin, have been planned and executed by experienced killers. This high degree of planning has made them difficult to solve.

However, the attack in the club in Bray does not appear to follow that pattern and gardaí are hopeful mistakes made by the killer will help them to identify him.

Gardaí believe Mr Taylor was targeted because of a localised dispute, and because of that, they believe he is well placed to aid the inquiry by supplying the names of anyone he believed wanted to harm him. There is no suggestion that Mr Taylor has been involved in any criminal wrongdoing.


The killer, who appeared to drive himself to and from the crime scene, failed to burn out a Volkswagen Caddy van used in the attack. After the shooting he drove the van to Pigeon House Road in south Dublin, parked up, took a bicycle from the back of the vehicle and then cycled away.

Gardaí are gathering CCTV footage in an attempt to track his movements on the bicycle and the vehicle that was used to flee the scene in Bray was being forensically examined by gardaí.

Any DNA evidence found in the van could prove very significant when paired with the information gardaí believe Mr Taylor will be able to supply.

The scene of the shooting remained sealed off yesterday as a Garda team examined part of the boxing club in an effort to find bullet casings or other evidence.

Gardaí are working on the theory Mr Taylor recently clashed with a number of men involved in drug dealing from west Dublin. They believe one of the men felt Mr Taylor, who is not involved in crime, disrespected him and as a result decided to have him shot.

While the shooting occurred in the boxing club Mr Taylor part owns, the attack is not linked to boxing; as some attacks in the Kinahan-Hutch feud have been. Instead, gardaí believe the killer knew Mr Taylor would be at the club for the early morning workout session and so fixed on a time and location for the murder attempt.

One of the suspects for ordering, and likely paying for, the attack is a Dublin drug dealer in his 40s. He has spent time in prison for drug dealing and has supplied areas including south Dublin and north Wicklow. However, sources said he was just one of a number of suspects at this time.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times