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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 22 June, 2018
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Abductor and murderer: Gardaí trying to unravel the mystery left by Mark Hennessy

Jastine Valdez was found dead a short drive from where she was abducted.

Mark Hennessy
Mark Hennessy

IT’S SHORTLY AFTER 8pm on a Sunday and the calm of the summer evening has been broken by the sirens of over a dozen garda cars and the whirring of a helicopter hovering over Cherrywood Business Park in south Dublin.

Mark Hennessy is driving his black Nissan Qashqai. At this moment in time, he is the most wanted man in Ireland – the chief suspect in the abduction of 24-year-old Jastine Valdez.

The accountancy student was last seen being bundled into a car in Enniskerry on Saturday evening, beating on the sides of the windows in a desperate attempt to escape the man who had taken her.

She would be dead within 45 minutes. Her body, having been strangled, would be dumped and crudely buried in thick undergrowth off Puck’s Castle Lane in Rathmichael – an 11 minute drive from where she was kidnapped.

Back to Sunday evening in Cherrywood Business Park, Hennessy has armed himself with a Stanley blade and has been self-harming. He tears a piece of paper in the car and writes that he is sorry for what he has done and that Jastine’s body can be found in Puck’s Castle.

At this time, gardaí are swarming on his location. The Civil Defence, who had been out looking for Jastine, spotted his Qashqai a short distance away.

An unarmed garda tries to speak with him but Hennessy, high on what gardaí believe to be cocaine, is not responding and is, what officers will later report, appear to be making stabbing motions in his car.

He is shot. The bullet enters at his shoulder, bounces off his collarbone and ricochets into an artery. He is dead in seconds.

Jastine Valdez missing People react near the scene in a business park in the Cherrywood area of Dublin where a man has been shot as police search for a missing woman feared abducted. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

1 Mark Hennesy_90545473 (1) Mark Hennessy Source: Facebook

Moments before he was shot dead, Hennessy’s wife received a phone call from a number she didn’t recognise. It was her husband on the phone. He told her that he had done something terrible and that he wasn’t coming home. The phone went dead. Within seconds, he was dead too.

Questions

Garda investigations are still at a very early stage but there are multiple questions to be answered; did Hennessy have any link to Jastine? Where was he before and after the murder? Why did he do this? Is there any way he could have been stopped?

A blurry snapshot of his final movements is becoming clearer. Day by day, garda enquiries are slowly solving the puzzle. The timeline is imperative.

Hennessy’s drinking had always been a problem – his family had assumed he had gone on another weekend drinking binge until they received a phone call from gardaí.

They were asked if they had seen Mark in the last 24 hours – what he was wearing – if he was known to frequent the Enniskerry area. Soon after, word emerged that a young woman had disappeared and that Mark was the prime suspect. Since his death, Hennessy has become a person of interest in a number of unsolved sexual assault and attempted abduction cases around south Dublin.

Mark Hennessy did not have access to the internet at his home and only used an old Nokia phone to communicate. However, the existence of a Facebook account raised questions about how he was accessing the social media sites. Data retrieved from the social media giant is expected to shed light on who and how he was communicating online. The existence of a secret mobile phone he kept in his possession also raises questions.

Gardaí are also attempting to confirm if Hennessy was using dating apps and websites to contact women. Any women who have had dealings with Hennessy are being urged to come forward and have been assured of their privacy.

There were a number of cases of sexual assault around the Shankill and Killiney areas of south Dublin in the last two years. Gardaí will revisit these cases in an attempt to establish a link between Hennessy and the attacks.

Bad reputation

Locals who knew Hennessy described him as being somewhat lecherous around women, especially after he had been drinking. The day he allegedly killed Jastine, he had been drinking and taking drugs. Even following the murder, he had been seen in his local pub. Gardaí believe he had also tried to source drugs from nearby Sallynoggin but was unsuccessful.

Sources have told TheJournal.ie that gardaí expect to interview all those who had even the slightest interaction with Hennessy in the lead up to the abduction and murder will be interviewed.

A friend of Hennessy’s is also expected receive a caution after it was claimed he didn’t tell gardaí when he spotted Mark.

TheJournal.ie understands that Hennessy was spotted on Killiney Beach on Sunday morning – the day after he allegedly killed Jastine and hours before he was shot dead during an incident with gardaí.

It is believed he was seen by a friend who had been out searching for him following the release of garda alerts. This person, it is claimed, decided to see if he could track his movements without alerting gardaí.

It is understood that he passed on this information to someone else who knew Hennessy – but not to gardaí.

valdez Jastine Valdez

Gardaí said that Hennessy may have been all over south Dublin over the weekend and have appealed to members of the public for information if they saw him.

Hennessy is described as being 5’9’’, of slight build and balding. He was wearing a dark coloured t-shirt, blue jeans and grey runners at the time.

“We would particularly like to speak with people who were in the; Dalkey, Killiney, Ballybrack, Sallynoggin, Cherrywood, Rathmichael areas. The car may have stopped at restaurants, cafes, petrol station shops or bars in those areas.

“If you travelled in this part of county Dublin between Saturday and Sunday evenings and you have a dashcam fitted please contact us and make the footage available to investigators.”

Anyone with relevant information is urged to contact Bray Garda Station on 01 666 5300, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

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