Latest: Gardaí trying to find Jastine Valdez's handbag; GSOC reveal Mark Hennessy was shot while in car

Update - 7.51pm: It has emerged that the man believed to have murdered Jastine Valdez was fatally shot by Gardaí while sitting in his car.

The new details about the shooting of Mark Hennessy have emerged in a statement from the Garda watchdog GSOC.

GSOC, which is investigating the incident, said the 40-year-old was shot while sitting in the driver seat of his Nissan Qashqai at the Cherrywood Business Park last Sunday.

Investigators found a stanley knife in the vehicle, and his body had evidence of self-harming.

The scene of the shooting on Sunday.

They say Mark Hennessy was shot once in the shoulder, with the bullet entering his torso causing fatal injuries.

GSOC investigators are collecting video footage from a Garda traffic car at the scene, and from CCTV cameras surrounding the area.

Update - 7.44pm: Gardaí investigating the murder of 24-year-old Jastine Valdez have appeal to the public for information on the location of some of her possessions.

They are looking for her blue shoulder bag and an Apple Mini iPad.

They are also continuing to appeal for information on the movements of the black Nissan Qashqai, registered number 171 D 20419, and its driver Mark Hennessy between 5pm on Saturday, May 19, and 8pm on Sunday May 20.

They are asking for anyone who was in the Dalkey, Killiney, Ballybrack, Sallynoggin, Cherrywood or Rathmichael areas between those times on Saturday and Sunday, particularly anyone with a dash cam fitted, to contact them.

People should contact Bray Garda Station on 01-6665300 the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Update - 5.05pm: Suspected murderer Mark Hennessy died from a single gunshot wound to his shoulder which ricocheted into an artery.

A post mortem has now concluded on the 40-year-old, father of two who is believed to have abducted Jastine Valdez.

It is said that there was a single bullet discharged from the official firearm of the Garda involved and appears to have hit a bone around his shoulder and ricocheted into the artery.

Gardaí are also investigating whether he tried to buy cocaine after the death of the 24-year-old student.

More searches are being carried out today in Rathmichael in South Dublin in the hope of finding Jastine's handbag.

An online book of condolence has also been opened on Wicklow.ie along with one at the Powerscourt Arms Hotel in Enniskerry.

Also, donations to the page on the crowdfunding site, gofundme.com, Jastine Valdez Memorial Fund, have reached almost €100,000.

Latest: Searches are continuing in Rathmichael in South Dublin this afternoon following the brutal abduction and murder of Jastine Valdez.

The scene where her body was found remains sealed off as Gardaí look for more evidence.

Gardaí are spending a third day in Rathmichael as they search for more evidence into Jastine Valdez’s murder.

Jastine’s murder and the killing of schoolgirl Ana Kriegal has prompted calls for a review of femicide in Ireland.

Ian Power from Spunout.ie says things needs to change so women feel safe.

"I think parents need to have those conversations with their young men as well. A lot of the time, over the last 24 hours, people have asked what can parents do to protect their daughters," said Mr Power.

"Actually, I would say, what can parents do to make sure that their young men are growing up and contributing to a culture where women are respected?"

Mark Hennessy

Earlier: Mark Hennessy may have gone on drink and drug binge

Gardaí are investigating whether the man suspected of killing Jastine Valdez went on a drink and drug binge just hours after her death.

Father of two Mark Hennesey was shot dead by Gardaí on Sunday - while the body of the 24 year old was discovered on Monday.

Gardaí are continuing to appeal for information on the movements of Mr Hennessy over the weekend.

Hennessy was described as 5ft 9, slight build, balding, and wearing a dark-coloured T-shirt, blue jeans, and grey runners.

Gardaí yesterday asked to speak to people (including those with dashcams in their cars) in the Dalkey, Killiney, Ballybrack, Sallynoggin, Cherrywood, and Rathmichael areas of south Dublin and who saw Hennessy or his Qashqai (171 D 20419) between 5pm on Saturday and 8pm on Sunday.

Earlier: Hundreds attend vigil as gardaí confirm Jastine Valdez was strangled to death

By Cormac O’Keeffe and Daniel McConnell

Jastine Valdez was manually strangled to death a short time after being abducted by her suspected killer, Mark Hennessy.

As detectives continued to search for any possible links between the Filipino student and the father of two, an autopsy confirmed the 24-year-old woman was strangled with her killer’s bare hands.

A vigil was held for Jastine in her home town of Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

The confirmation came as a vigil was held in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow — the scenic home of Ms Valdez, who lived with her parents, and the site of her abduction on Saturday evening.

Over €70,000 had been raised as of last night in a GoFundMe campaign to assist Ms Valdez’s traumatised parents, Danillo and Teresita, including in the repatriation of the body of their only child to the Philippines.

On the fourth day of the Garda investigation, it emerged that:

  • Gardaí are awaiting a full pathologist report to see if Ms Valdez was sexually assaulted;
  • A note written by Hennessy, 40, found in the Nissan SUV he was driving contained the word ‘sorry’, as well as the words ‘Puck’s Castle’ which directed the garda search team to the remote Rathmichael area of south Dublin where the remains were found at around 3pm on Monday;
  • Gardaí extended their appeal for any sightings of Hennessy, and the 171D Nissan Qashqai he was driving, across six south Dublin areas between 5pm on Saturday, when he left his Bray home, and 8pm on Sunday, when he was fatally shot by gardaí in Cherrywood;
  • Gardaí gathered CCTV footage from at least one pub, in Ballybrack, where Hennessy was seen drinking, and are canvassing other pubs, after he dumped Ms Valdez’s remains;
  • A DNA sample from Hennessy was being checked with the crime scene index of the DNA database to see if it matched any unsolved sexual assaults or murders.

A book of condolence for Ms Valdez was opened at Powerscourt Arms Hotel in Enniskerry.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar led Dáil condemnations of the “senseless and brutal deaths” of Ms Valdez and also of 14-year-old Ana Kriegel, who was found beaten to death in a derelict farmhouse in west Dublin last Thursday.

It also emerged yesterday that Hennessy had called his wife before his death and told her that he had done “something awful” and indicated he would not be coming back.

When his note was found afterwards, it was covered in blood. Some Garda reports suggest he appeared to be stabbing himself with a knife in the car when they arrived at Cherrywood.

These reports suggest he then ran, armed with the knife, at a garda, at which stage he was fatally shot by a local detective. That incident is under GSOC investigation, as required by law.

The preliminary autopsy at the scene at Puck’s Castle Lane, estimated that Ms Valdez had died within 36-48 hours. An eyewitness also saw the Nissan driving suspiciously at 6.50pm in the area.

Given the abduction was reported by a 999 call at 6.20pm, this suggests to investigators that she was strangled by Hennessy in the next 30-40 minutes.

Investigators are perplexed at the circumstances of the abduction — in broad daylight, on a busy road, and being witnessed — and the quick murder that followed.

We simply don’t know why he did it, and now that he is dead and he succeeded in killing Jastine, we might not know why,” said one Garda source.

Gardaí still suspect that Hennessy and Ms Valdez were not known to each other and that he appeared to just randomly abduct her as she walked home. But they are conducting a “deeper” investigation for any possible links.

Experts from the Garda Technical Bureau continued their examination of the note in terms of deciphering what he had written, for possible clues.

Yesterday, it emerged that they identified the word ‘sorry’, following the discovery on Sunday night when they found the note of the words ‘Puck’s Castle’.

This, together with the downloading of the satnav history on the Qashqai, led to searches in the Puck’s Castle Lane and lead mines areas of Rathmichael.

They saw her body inside thick gorse, which they had to cut through to reach. Garda sources said Hennessy must have “battered” his way through it to hide the body.

Gardaí yesterday asked to speak to people (including those with dashcams in their cars) in the Dalkey, Killiney, Ballybrack, Sallynoggin, Cherrywood, and Rathmichael areas of south Dublin and who saw Hennessy or his Qashqai (171 D 20419) between 5pm on Saturday and 8pm on Sunday.

Hennessy was described as 5ft 9, slight build, balding, and wearing a dark-coloured T-shirt, blue jeans, and grey runners.

Gardaí said he could have stopped at restaurants, cafes, petrol station shops, or bars in those areas.

Bray Garda Station on 01 6665300; Garda Confidential Line 1800 666111.

This story originally appeared on the Irish Examiner.


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