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Gerard Cervi jailed for life for gun murder of ‘amazing man' Bobby Messett at boxing club

The 36-year-old was convicted of murder of Mr Messett but acquitted of charges of attempting to murder well-known boxing coach Pete Taylor

Gerard Cervi

Andrew Phelan

A man has been jailed for life for shooting a gym-goer dead in a gun attack at Bray Boxing Club.

Gerard Cervi (36) killed Robert 'Bobby' Messett (50) when he opened fire into a gym training class in the early hours of the morning in an attack at the club in 2018.

Cervi was handed down the mandatory life sentence at the Central Criminal Court today for murdering the father-of-three.

In victim impact statements, Mr Messett's children Gary and Demi said their father was an "amazing man" and the "innocent victim of a brutal crime" who was killed in the "prime of his life" and was missed every day.

A jury found Cervi guilty of Mr Messett’s murder last week, following a seven-week trial. He was acquitted of charges of attempting to murder well-known boxing coach Pete Taylor, who was teaching the class at the time of the shooting, and another man, Ian Britton.

Both Mr Taylor and Mr Britton had been shot and injured, but survived.

Cervi, from East Wall, Dublin, had denied all the charges.

During the trial, the jury heard a gunman appeared at the door of the class on June 5, 2018 and fired nine times into the room.

Mr Messett suffered a single gunshot wound to the head and died immediately at the scene.

Mr Britton was struck in the leg, and Mr Taylor began running towards the gunman, before he too was shot, through the arm and chest, and collapsed to the floor.

The gunman made his escape in a Volkswagen Caddy parked outside.

Cervi was linked to the crime by CCTV evidence that the prosecution said showed him cycling from his home at Russell Avenue, East Wall to the van at Pigeon House Road, Ringsend earlier that morning.

The van then drove to Bray and Cervi was seen on CCTV getting out and going into the club. He was inside for less than a minute "when carnage occurs" before returning to the van, which drove back the same way, prosecutor Paul Murray SC said. His DNA and fingerprints were found in the van.

Defence barrister Hugh Hartnett had argued there was not "an iota" of evidence that Cervi was the gunman.

When the jury delivered its verdict last week, Judge Karen O'Connor offered her condolences to Mr Messett's family.

"I cannot imagine your grief or imagine your pain but you certainly represented him with extraordinary dignity", she said.

More to follow...

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