Boxing referee ‘stared death in the face’ during Dublin attack

Mickey Vann
Mickey Vann
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Yorkshire boxing referee Mickey Vann has spoken of the terrifying moment he looked death in the face.

Vann was caught up in a shooting at a Dublin hotel which left one man dead and two others seriously injured.

The Continuity IRA has claimed responsibility for the attack during the weigh-in for a championship bout in the Irish capital last weekend. Van had been due to referee the top of the bill contest and was standing next to one of the wounded men when he was shot.

The 72-year-old, from Leeds, caught the eye of one of the gunmen, who were dressed as police officers, before he opened fire. Vann said panic began at the Regency Hotel when word spread of a shooting in the car park. He decided to stay in the room where the weigh-in had been taking place, only to find himself trapped when the gunmen entered.

“Two of them came in carrying Kalashnikovs,” Vann said. “They had scarves round their faces, but they were dressed as Gardai. They walked in very slowly, with their rifles pointed down. They were looking at people on the floor, then one of them looked at me.

“I looked down, then they spotted a guy in a grey tracksuit standing four or five feet from me, lifted their rifles and shot him. There were two or three shots, really loud, then they just walked off.”

Vann admitted while others in the room hurled themselves to the floor, he remained standing, not realising what was going on. He said: “I went into the reception area and there was a man lying dead on the floor. I was gobsmacked.”

The two boxing shows which had been due to take place in Dublin were cancelled and Vann flew back to Yorkshire after giving a statement to detectives investigating the incident.