Katie Taylor ‘appalled’ over coverage of father’s shooting

‘You didn’t deserve this heartache; I’m so sorry for your loss’, she told family of Bobby Messett who was shot dead

 Katie Taylor said she had been appalled “by the misuse of my name and image during the reporting of this incident. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Katie Taylor said she had been appalled “by the misuse of my name and image during the reporting of this incident. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

World boxing champion Katie Taylor has hit out at “the misuse” of her name and image in the media coverage of the shooting of her father Pete Taylor at Bray Boxing Club on Tuesday.

Mr Taylor was seriously injured in the early-morning attack on the Co Wicklow club that left local man Bobby Messett (50) dead and a third man Ian Britton (35) seriously wounded.

Ms Taylor said in a statement released to The Irish Times that “for my Dad” she was “very thankful and relieved” that he survived “this horrific attack” and that he is recovering well.

The former Olympic champion said that “as many of you know” she has been “somewhat estranged” from her father, her former trainer, for “a number of years” and has had “little contact with him in the last three years and no contact or association whatsoever with Bray Boxing Club since 2015.”

“I have been appalled by the misuse of my name and image during the reporting of this incident in the media coverage,” she said.

“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 member out of this story.”

The murder victim in the attack, Mr Messett, was an innocent bystander and fitness enthusiast who regularly trained and boxed at the club.

Mr Taylor (57) was shot in the upper body but will make a full recovery. Mr Britton (35), from Greystones, Co Wicklow, was shot in the leg but survived.

“I understand there is still a lot of uncertainty about the nature of the incident but I’m hoping the Garda will get to the bottom of it very soon,” said Ms Taylor in her statement.

To the family of Mr Messett, she said: “You didn’t deserve this heartache; I’m so sorry for your loss.”

She offered them her “most heartfelt condolences” 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,” she said in the statement.

Mr Taylor started training his daughter Katie in the 1990s at St Fergal’s Boxing Club in Bray and was in her corner when she won gold at the 2012 Olympics in London.

He stopped training his daughter before the 2016 Olympics citing “personal reasons.”