herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Blood-soaked note from killer led gardai to body of tragic Jastine

Murdered Jastine Valdez
Murdered Jastine Valdez

Killer Mark Hennessy left a blood-soaked note detailing where he had dumped her body after strangling her.

The Herald can reveal that:

• Tragic Jastine Valdez was murdered near the scene where her body was dumped

• Investigators are now searching their DNA database to see if murder suspect Mark Hennessy is linked to any other unsolved crimes

• They are also probing if the suspect went drinking after kidnapping the student.

Father-of-two Hennessy, the only suspect in the murder of Ms Valdez (24), was shot dead on Sunday night after being confronted by an armed garda detective.

It followed a two-day manhunt for the married man and the Nissan SUV he was driving, which was used in the abduction of Ms Valdez.

Despite the suspect in her disappearance being located, it was not until shortly after 3pm yesterday afternoon that gardai managed to find the body of Ms Valdez.

Dumped

It has now emerged that the murder suspect left a note covered in blood, in which he told gardai that he had dumped the Filipino woman's body in the Puck's Castle Lane area of Rathmichael, south Dublin.

The blood was Hennessy's - from self-inflicted knife wounds to his arm and neck.

Gardai pictured at the scene at Pucks Castle, Rathmichael ,Co Dublin today.
Gardai pictured at the scene at Pucks Castle, Rathmichael ,Co Dublin today.

The note led gardai to the area where the body of Ms Valdez was dumped, and before finding her body they discovered her purse and a sock.

Gardai are also investigating reports that Hennessy was socialising in a pub in the Ballybrack area on Saturday night - just hours after the abduction of Ms Valdez.

Following a large-scale search operation involving gardai and the Defence Forces, her body was found in gorse in the Rathmichael area, almost 48 hours after being abducted.

She was dressed but her clothes had been "disturbed", a source told the Herald.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan was due at the scene last night to carry out a preliminary examination of the body. Gardai have not yet established a connection between Hennessy and Ms Valdez, and investigators at this stage believe that the abduction was a random attack.

They are trawling through Hennessy's social media profiles and his phone to see if they can find a link between the two, but have so far found nothing.

Witnesses, including a 12-year-old boy, reported a woman being punched by a male and then forced into a black Nissan Qashqai along the Kilcroney Road, Enniskerry, at 6.15pm on Saturday.

Later that evening, the family of Ms Valdez reported her missing, and gardai established a link between the reported abduction and the young woman's disappearance.

A number of appeals were issued the following day, and a garda manhunt resulted in Hennessy being discovered at a car park in Cherrywood.

It is understood that the murder suspect was self-harming and attempted to attack a garda, before he was shot by an armed garda detective from a south Dublin station.

He was struck in the arm and head, and was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.

Crashed

A GSOC investigation has been launched into this incident, and the garda in question has been receiving support from colleagues.

The experienced detective, who is originally from Wexford, has been described as a highly respected officer who has never faced any disciplinary issues.

It can also be revealed that Hennessy appeared in court on Monday of last week to face a number of charges relating to drink-driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

This related to an incident in Bray in September of last year, when he crashed into another motorist.

He would have been due to reappear in Bray District Court again on June 11 in relation to the matter.

The father-of-two, who only had his second child last September, was not known to gardai in recent years for any serious criminal behaviour.

However, he had three previous convictions dating back to his early 20s.

In 1999, he was convicted of drugs possession after being found with £100 of cannabis in St Stephen's Green.

A year later, in September 2000, he was charged with a public order offence in Rathmines, Dublin.

During that incident, he head-butted another punter at a pub. He was later convicted of threatening and abusing behaviour as well as being drunk and disorderly, and was fined €250.

Ms Valdez's body was discovered at around 3.30pm yesterday following a massive focused search in the Rathmichael area.

Members of the garda divisional search team, assisted by 60 troops from the Defence Forces, carried out a significant operation along Puck's Castle Lane and a nearby golf course.

Purse

Earlier yesterday morning, members of the garda divisional search team had recovered a purse belonging to Ms Valdez.

A coat was also recovered, and will now be forensically examined to determine whether it belonged to the student.

A senior source last night told the Herald that gardai have nothing to connect Ms Valdez and Hennessy.

"There is no obvious connection, even after thorough enquiries by gardai, and at this stage gardai still believe it was a random abduction," the source said.

In a further appeal yesterday, a spokesman said: "Gardai would like to appeal for anyone who was in the vicinity of Puck's Castle Lane, Murphy's Lane or using Carrickgollogan Forest Recreation Area - or anyone who was in the vicinity of the Lead Mines in Kiltiernan - from Saturday at 6pm to Sunday at 8pm, who may have seen anything suspicious and in particular a black Nissan Qashqai, 171 D 20419."

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