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Murder trial Witness thought Bray Boxing Club shooter was holding 'fake gun'

Gerard Cervi (34) is on trial charged with the murder of Bobby Messett at the boxing club in Bray, Co Wicklow, on June 5, 2018.

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A garda stands watch at the scene of the shooting at Bray Boxing Club in 2018. Photo: Colin Keegan

A garda stands watch at the scene of the shooting at Bray Boxing Club in 2018. Photo: Colin Keegan

A garda stands watch at the scene of the shooting at Bray Boxing Club in 2018. Photo: Colin Keegan

A gym goer thought the Bray Boxing Club shooter was holding a fake gun before he saw Bobby Messett being shot dead, a murder trial has heard.

Fitness class participant Andy Williams told the Central Criminal Court that he also believed the gunman was somebody joking before the shooting started.

He recalled Mr Messett then being hit in the face and braced himself to be shot in the back or head after getting to the floor.

Gerard Cervi (34) is on trial charged with the murder of Bobby Messett at the boxing club in Bray, Co Wicklow, on June 5, 2018.

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

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Pete Taylor

Pete Taylor

Pete Taylor

Mr Cervi, of no fixed abode but originally from the East Wall area in Dublin 3, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

It is the State's case that he was the gunman.

Over the past three days the murder trial has been hearing evidence from people who were taking part in the fitness session when a masked man opened fire.

Andy Williams this morning said that he had been going to the class for around three or four years and on that morning went with his daughter.

He recalled seeing the gunman stepping partially inside the gym door on the first floor and saw the person's outstretched arms holding a gun.

The witness said the gun was black and that the man as wearing black leather gloves and a long-sleeved jacket.

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At first, he thought it was a fake gun and thought it was somebody joking, he said.

Mr Williams added that Bobby Messett was also staring at the gun from another part of the room.

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Bobby Messett

Bobby Messett

Bobby Messett

The witness told the jury that he then saw the weapon fire and shoot Mr Messett in the face before he fell.

"That was when I knew it was real" Mr Williams said. He told the court that he "hit the deck" and heard more gunshots.

The witness said he braced and thought to himself "this is gonna' hurt" as he was expecting to get hit in the head or back.

Andy Williams told the court that after the shooting had stopped, he went downstairs and saw that the gunman had left.

He returned to the room and saw Pete Taylor on his back receiving treatment, while adding that Mr Messett was deceased.

Mr Williams also noticed a "horrible, strong" smell of sulphur in the room.

He said he called 999 at 6.52am and believed the emergency services arrived around 20 minutes later but could not be sure of this.

Under cross-examination from Anne-Marie Lawlor SC, defending, the witness said that he had spoken about what had happened with other people.

Mr Williams said that this with those who were there that day "as a bit of comfort".

Evidence was also given on behalf of paramedics, gardaí, and the brother of Bobby Messett who formally identified his body.

Advanced paramedic Eoghan Connolly, based in Tallaght, arrived at the scene at 7.23am that morning.

In his evidence, read out by prosecutor Paul Murray SC, the witness recalled Pete Taylor being treated in the ambulance and noticed an entry wound to his left bicep.

He said he knew Mr Taylor "from the general media".

Another paramedic, Dessie Durkin, said that the ambulances left the scene in convoy at 7.42am for St Vincent's Hospital.

He said a garda escort had been requested because there were people injured in the shooting being transported.

Jimmy Messett, the brother of Bobby, said in a statement that he formally identified his sibling to Garda Sandra Tierney on the day of the shooting.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Michael White, and the jury of three men and nine women, tomorrow morning.

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