Update: Jastine Valdez was strangled to death; Mark Hennessy phoned wife after student's murder

Update 7.37pm: It is being reported that the man suspected of murdering 24-year-old student Jastine Valdez contacted his wife before he was shot dead by a Garda on Sunday.

Mark Hennessy was found by Gardaí in a black Nissan Qashqai at Cherrywood Business Park, on the outskirts of south Dublin.

It is believed Mr Hennessy phoned his wife before he was shot dead and told her they would never see each other again.

Mark Hennessy.

It is also reported by the Irish Times that there was blood in the car from his self-inflicted wounds.

Investigators believe that, after killing Ms Valdez, Hennessy cut himself repeatedly with a Stanley knife.

Update 6.01pm: It has been confirmed 24-year-old student Jastine Valdez was strangled to death.

It is believed that it happened 36 to 48 hours before her body was found.

Update 5.11pm: It is believed the woman found dead in Rathmichael in South Dublin was strangled to death.

A post mortem is continuing on the remains, believed to be those of Jastine Valdez.

Gardaí have spent most of the day in Rathmichael cutting away gorse and examining the area where this body was found.

Preliminary results indicate the cause of death was strangulation and it occurred 36 to 48 hours before the body was found.

Update 4.53pm: Gardaí have renewed their appeal for help from the public.

They are particularly interested in the movement 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.

Hennessy is described as 176 cm (five foot nine inches) tall with a slight build and balding hair.

He was wearing a dark coloured t-shirt, blue jeans and grey runners at the time.

Mark Hennessy.

Officers would particularly like to speak with people who were in the Dalkey, Killiney, Ballybrack, Sallynoggin, Cherrywood and Rathmichael areas.

They have said that his car may have stopped at restaurants, cafes, petrol station shops or bars in those areas and are asking for anyone with a dash cam in their car to contact them.

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

Update 3.30pm: A vigil for Jastine Valdez is being organised this evening in her home village of Enniskerry in Co Wicklow.

An online fund set up to help the 24-year-old’s family has raised more than €30,000 so far.

A post-mortem is being carried out on the body found in Rathmichael in South Dublin yesterday.

No formal identification has been carried out on the body found in Rathmichael yesterday afternoon but it is believed to be Ms Valdez.

Gardaí are also examining a blood-soaked note found in the car of Ms Valdez’s suspected abductor, Mark Hennessy, which is said to contain the words "Puck's Castle" and "sorry".

Officers have asked for anyone who may have seen Mr Hennessy in a pub on the night of the abduction, particularly in the Ballybrack area, to contact them.

Local Wicklow TD John Brady said the vigil is a chance for people to pay their respects to Ms Valdez.

"People really don't know what to be doing, or what they can do, but they want to show their support for Jastine's family - who are obviously going through a horrendous time at this stage," said Mr Brady.

"They are organising a vigil at 7 o'clock at the clock tower in Enniskerry village."

- Digital Desk

Update 1.25pm: Body recovered in Jastine Valdez search died 48 hours before being found

Gardaí are examining the scene where the body of a young woman was found in Rathmichael in South Dublin.

The remains are believed to be those of Jastine Valdez and gardaí believe she was killed soon after she was abducted on Saturday.

A blue tent has been erected where this body was found and a handful of garda officers are at the scene cutting away the gorse around it.

Nearby locals have been laying flowers - One note says ‘Jastine, I never knew you but my heart is broken for you and your family.’

A preliminary post mortem was carried out at the scene last night which indicates time of death was about 36 to 48 hours before the remains were found.

Near the scene, locals have been laying flowers. One note says: ‘Jastine, I never knew you but my heart is broken for you and your family.’

Last night a vigil was held for the 24-year-old.

Several members of Ireland's Filipino community attended the service last night and shared their memories of Jastine.

"She's a very lovely girl," said one person. "She is very loving, caring, She is just genuinely really, really nice. We've known each other since [we were] kids."

Another person at the vigil said the events hadn't sunk in yet.

- Digital Desk

Update 10.18am: It is believed Jastine Valdez was killed soon after she was abducted in Enniskerry Co Wicklow.

A post-mortem is due on a body which was found in South Dublin yesterday.

No formal identification has been carried out on the body found in Rathmichael yesterday afternoon but it is believed to be Ms Valdez.

Gardaí are also examining a blood-soaked note found in the car of her suspected attacker, Mark Hennessy

Mr Hennessy, aged 40, is suspected of abducting Ms Valdez as she walked home in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, at 6.20pm on Saturday and killing her soon afterwards.

The remains were found 50 metres away from the main walk way on Puck’s Castle Lane in heavy gorse.

A preliminary post-mortem was carried out at the scene and it indicates time of death was about 36 hours to 48 hours before the remains were found.

According to media reports, gardaí believe Ms Valdez may have been killed within an hour of being abducted.

Gardaí are now looking to speak to anyone who may have interacted with Mr Hennessy on Saturday night as they try to piece together what happened.

At this stage, gardaí still believe the attack was completely random.

Meanwhile, a fundraising campaign has raised over €30,000 to help support the parents of Jastine Valdez.

- Digital Desk

Earlier: Gardaí fear Jastine Valdez was random victim; Murder probe as body set to be identified

By Cormac O'Keeffe

Gardaí are to conduct a detailed examination of the mobile phones and digital devices of Mark Hennessy and Jastine Valdez to determine if there was any contact between them — but suspect she may have been a completely random victim.

If the attack is confirmed to be random, gardaí may also examine Hennessy, a married father of two young children, in relation to other unsolved attacks or missing person cases.

The development comes as the garda search operation for Ms Valdez yesterday turned to a murder investigation with the discovery of a female body in dense gorse in the Rathmichael area of south Co Dublin.

While the body was in the process of being formally identified last night, gardaí believe the remains are those of the 24-year-old Filipino student.

Hennessy, aged 40, is suspected of abducting Ms Valdez as she walked home in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, at 6.20pm on Saturday and killing her soon afterwards.

A preliminary autopsy was conducted at the scene, completing at around 8pm, which did not identify any obvious marks on the body.

Sources suggested this could suggest possible strangulation but the cause of death will not be known until a full autopsy this morning at the city morgue. The body was removed from the Puck’s Castle Lane area before dark.

Gardaí at the scene at Puck’s Castle, Rathmichael, Co Dublin, where a body was discovered in dense gorse. While the body was being formally identified last night, gardaí believe the remains are those of the 24-year-old Filipino student Jastine Valdez. A full post mortem will be conducted this morning. Picture: Stephen Collins

Indications suggested Ms Valdez may have been dead for 36 to 48 hours, which would tally with reports from an eyewitness that a Nissan jeep was seen in the area at around 7pm on Saturday.

It is not known yet if there was a sexual assault. Some of Ms Valdez’s clothes were pulled up, but sources said this could have been caused by dragging her through the gorse.

Ms Valdez was an only child and her parents, who reported her missing late on Saturday night, were informed of the discovery by their garda family liaison officer.

The grim find came at the end of almost two days of searches and some 20 hours after Hennessy was fatally shot by a detective.

Slightly different reports emerged from garda sources as to the events leading to the shooting, but a number of them suggest Hennessy, armed with a knife, ran at a garda.

Garda sources said detectives are trained to “shoot to stop” by aiming at the upper body as shooting at arms or legs may not incapacitate an attacker. It was also pointed out that local detectives do not have Tasers.

CCTV from the scene, at Cherrywood business park, in south Dublin, is being examined — and the entire event is now under investigation by GSOC, as required by law.

Garda search efforts focused on the Rathmichael region yesterday morning after they were able to download satnav history from the Nissan Qasqhai being driven by Hennessy.

It is understood a note was found in the Nissan Qashqai car and that is being examined.

The search team found a purse, with Ms Valdez’s ID card inside, along with an item of clothing at the Puck’s Castle Lane area at around mid-morning.

Approaching 3.30pm, the team was cutting back branches at a section of dense gorse and could see a woman’s body.

Mark Hennessy, from Wicklow, who was shot dead by gardaí.

Detectives are now conducting a “deeper” examination of devices of Hennessy and Ms Valdez to see if there was any contact between them.

However, sources said that, as it stood, they appeared not to have known each other and that Ms Valdez just happened to be walking along the road when Hennessy was passing in his wife’s jeep.

“Yes, they will check his laptops and phones to see if he had any contact with her,” said a garda source, “and they have downloaded her phone and will examine that, but there is nothing at the moment [to suggest they knew each other].

There will be a deeper examination now, but it appears to be random, no connection.

This will leave garda investigators with the scenario that Hennessy abducted a complete stranger from the roadside, in broad daylight, without any care of being seen, which he was.

When investigators called to the Hennessy home in Woodbrook, Bray, before lunchtime on Sunday, they were told Hennessy had driven off in his wife’s car at around 5pm on Saturday.

The car was caught on CCTV passing through Enniskerry village at 6pm.

Sources said Hennessy, a building sub-contractor, had no criminal record and initial inquiries did not reveal anything untoward about him.

- Irish Examiner

READ MORE: Video emerges of Mark Hennessy collecting his new Nissan Qashqai


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