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Murder Trial Witness describes moment Bobby Messett was shot dead by gunman dressed as builder at Bray Boxing Club

Mr McCann said that the gunman "just started f****** shooting" and that he hit the floor as the masked man opened fire.


The scene outside Bray Boxing Club.  Inset: Peter Taylor (left) and shooting victim Bobby Messett (right)

The scene outside Bray Boxing Club. Inset: Peter Taylor (left) and shooting victim Bobby Messett (right)

The scene outside Bray Boxing Club. Inset: Peter Taylor (left) and shooting victim Bobby Messett (right)

A fireman believed that a masked gunman dressed as a builder "was a friend messing" before he shot one man dead and injured two others at Bray boxing club, a court has heard.

Eddie McCann this morning described seeing Bobby Messett shot in the head during a fitness class three years ago and "knew right away he was dead".

The witness also recalled how watching a documentary on the shooting of former US president Ronald Reagan helped him locate the entry wound of boxing coach Pete Taylor, the father of world boxing champion Katie Taylor.

He was giving evidence in the trial of Gerard Cervi (34), who is charged with the murder of Bobby Messett during an exercise class in Bray, Co 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 the East Wall area in Dublin 3, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.


Gerard Cervi

Gerard Cervi

Gerard Cervi

Eddie McCann, a fire fighter for 20 years, told the Central Criminal Court of the moment the shooting took place at the boxing gym.

He arrived there at 6.47am that morning, and said he knew the exact time because boxing coach Pete Taylor was a "stickler" for participants being punctual.

Mr McCann told the jury that he walked up the stairs and into the gym on the first floor as the trainer was pairing the class into groups of two.

The witness said that a short time later Mr Taylor was putting on music at the stereo.

"I remember him saying 'listen guys, the subs are due, I don't want to be chasing people."

Mr McCann told prosecuting counsel Paul Murray SC that, as he was warming up, he looked over to the doorway and noticed a person standing in the hallway dressed as a builder with a yellow hard hat and a hi-vis jacket.

He said he found this "very odd" and thought it "was a friend messing, having a joke" before thinking to himself "somethings not quite right".

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The witness said he was fixed on the man, and noticed he had a "black thing" clasped between his hands.


Bobby Messett

Bobby Messett

Bobby Messett

"I kept saying 'no this isn't what I think it is, it couldn't be'.

"He turned around and I noticed he was wearing a black balaclava and black sunglasses."

Mr Justice Michael White, presiding, asked the witness to take his time recalling the incident as he composed himself.

Mr McCann then described the mask as ribbed, "like what you see on the TV, like a terrorist" would wear.

"I kept looking a him....he was staring at me, he had the gun in his hand.

"He was standing like this, scanning the room, and I still was like 'Jesus'. It didn't register with me," he told the court.

Mr McCann said he turned to Bobby Messett who was to his left and smiled as he said to him 'look at this c***'.

He added that Mr Messett had a smile on his face, and stood up.

Eddie McCann then made a gun gesture with his hands and mimicked the gunman leaning backwards to the jury.

"And I just saw the bullet, not bullet, I saw red and poof Bobby went up and came down," the witness said, bringing his hand to his face to mimic the bullet hitting Mr Messett.

"I knew right away he was dead."

Mr McCann said that the gunman "just started f****** shooting" and that he hit the floor as the masked man opened fire.

"And then there was silence, and I just thought 'he's going to f****** kill me now'.

"He's after shooting everyone, that's what it felt like. The noise was just deafening," the fireman recalled.

The witness said there was screaming and he thought to himself 'Don't move, don't breathe, he's coming'

Mr McCann said everyone ran out the door and that he went over to Pete Taylor and asked where he'd been hit.

He also saw blood but couldn't find an entry or exit wound on Mr Taylor's body,

He said he had watched a documentary on US president Ronald Reagan, and recalled how US Secret Service agents had lifted up the president's arm after he was shot to find a tiny hole under his armpit.

Mr McCann said he lifted up Pete Taylor's arm and saw an entry wound.

"He asked me 'how's Bobby', and I was like 'He's gone' or something like that".

He said he noticed another of the class participants, a 16-year-old girl, in the corner of the room and said she was terrified.

The witness said he told her to get out and not to look at Bobby Messett as she left.

Eddie McCann told the jury he rang emergency services and was applying pressure to Pete Taylor's wound when Karen, Mr Taylor's partner, arrived.

"She couldn't believe it... she went to Pete and said 'Are you okay Pete, are you okay Babe', and she said 'do you want water'.

"I said no just turn the music off."

He recalled another gym goer, Craig Britton, come back up the stairs and walk over towards Mr Messett before saying he had a pulse.

"And I said 'Craig he doesn't, he's dead, leave him'. He was gone."

Mr McCann said gardaí arrived and helped him put pressure to Mr Taylor's wound.

He felt himself "start to wean" and went downstairs where he saw Ian Britton sitting on a wall.

"He was as white as a ghost. I said 'what happened to him', I could see the blood, and he said he's been shot as well".

Earlier the jury were taken through maps and photographs of the scene at Bray Boxing Club, and of Pigeon House Road where a silver Volkswagen Caddy which the prosecution allege was used in the shooting was found. The court heard that four white spirit bottles were recovered from the van, while a number of shell casings were recovered from the boxing club.

Eddie McCann will continue giving his evidence to the jury of three men and nine women tomorrow morning.

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