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Bray shooting Pete Taylor tells murder trial he dived 'within touching distance' of gunman before being shot

This morning Pete Taylor, the father of world boxing champion Katie Taylor, was called to the witness box to give his testimony.

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Pete Taylor at the Central Criminal Court where he gave evidence in the trial of Gerard Cervi for the murder of Bobby Messett at Bray Boxing Club, in June 2018.. Pic: Collins Courts

Pete Taylor at the Central Criminal Court where he gave evidence in the trial of Gerard Cervi for the murder of Bobby Messett at Bray Boxing Club, in June 2018.. Pic: Collins Courts

Pete Taylor at the Central Criminal Court where he gave evidence in the trial of Gerard Cervi for the murder of Bobby Messett at Bray Boxing Club, in June 2018.. Pic: Collins Courts

Boxing coach Pete Taylor dived "within touching distance" of the gunman who shot him and two other men at his Bray gym, a murder trial has heard.

Mr Taylor also told the Central Criminal Court how he felt the first bullet aimed at him "whiz over my head" as he ran towards the shooter.

He then jumped towards the gunman but was shot in the chest and spun around 180 degrees onto his back, a jury were told.

The trainer was giving evidence in the trial of Gerard Cervi (34) who is charged with the murder of Bobby Messett at Bray Boxing Club in Wicklow on June 5, 2018.

He is also accused of the attempted murders of Pete Taylor and Ian Britton at the same location on the same date.

Mr Cervi, of no fixed abode but originally from East Wall in Dublin 3, has denied all charges.

It is the State's case that Gerard Cervi was the gunman.

This morning Pete Taylor, the father of world boxing champion Katie Taylor, was called to the witness box to give his testimony.

He told the court that he started the boxing club in 1995 and that it moved down to Bray seafront in 2005.

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6/7/2021 Pete Taylor, with his partner Karen Brown, arriving at the Central Criminal Court. PIC: Collins Courts

6/7/2021 Pete Taylor, with his partner Karen Brown, arriving at the Central Criminal Court. PIC: Collins Courts

6/7/2021 Pete Taylor, with his partner Karen Brown, arriving at the Central Criminal Court. PIC: Collins Courts

He said on the day of the shooting the first class began at 6.45am, and he arrived five minutes before it started.

The court heard Mr Taylor met a number of gym goers there and walked up the stairs into the strength and conditioning room where the class was taking place.

He said he then wrote the session plan out on the whiteboard and began pairing people into groups of two.

Pete Taylor was plugging his phone into the sound system when he heard a loud bang.

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He thought it was an air compressor used to control some of the machines, and as he turned around he heard a second bang.

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Gerard Cervi (34) has pleaded not guilty to all charges

Gerard Cervi (34) has pleaded not guilty to all charges

Gerard Cervi (34) has pleaded not guilty to all charges

Mr Taylor told the court that he saw a person standing in between the door frame with what looked like a gun.

He initially thought it was a prank, before he noticed Bobby Messett on the ground and everybody hitting the floor.

"It was a bit chaotic. The chap was shooting from right to left around the room," the witness said.

Mr Taylor said he was looking around for something to throw at the gunman, but when he couldn't find anything, decided to run at the man.

He said he didn't run directly towards him as he had to run around a number of exercise machines.

"As I was running the first shot went off that was aimed towards me. I felt it whiz above my head," he said, adding that it ricocheted above him off a machine.

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Bobby Messett

Bobby Messett

Bobby Messett

The boxing coach put his arm across his head and continued running, he said.

The witness told prosecutor Paul Murray SC, that he couldn't see where the gun was being aimed and that he was focused on "getting over as quick as I could".

When he got to within 5ft of the gunman, Mr Taylor said he jumped towards him but his leg got caught on a bench.

He said this "shortened my jump" and that he landed "within touching distance, maybe a foot away" from the gunman.

Mr Taylor told the jury that he also got shot in the shoulder while he was diving which spun him around 180 degrees and onto his back.

He indicated to the court that bullet went through the outside upper left arm, near his shoulder, and "lodged" into his chest.

"I tried to get up but obviously couldn't with the pain. Then the shooting stopped, it went quiet and everybody started screaming."

Mr Taylor said class participant Eddie McCann tended to him and applied pressure to his wound.

He said he was later placed onto a chair by paramedics and carried out of the gym.

"It was the first time I saw Bobby," an upset Pete Taylor recalled.

The witness added that the incident lasted between 15 and 20 seconds.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Michael White and a jury of three men and nine women

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