Saturday 23 February 2019

Families of tragic Jastine and her killer share grief

The funeral of Mark Hennessy, who was shot dead by gardai after killing Jastine Valdez
The funeral of Mark Hennessy, who was shot dead by gardai after killing Jastine Valdez

The families of Jastine Valdez and her killer Mark Hennessy have met to express their sympathies with one another.

The two grieving families met on Friday morning - as Jastine's remains lay in repose and ahead of Hennessy's funeral last Saturday.

In a joint statement released last night, they said: "In the midst of our grief both the Valdez and Hennessy families met on Friday morning where we exchanged sympathies with each other on the tragic circumstances that resulted in the loss of our respective loved ones.

"Both families request privacy at this very difficult time," the statement, released through the Garda Press Office read.


At a private ceremony for Mark Hennessy in Mount Jerome Chapel in Dublin's Harold's Cross over the weekend, his father described how they had been left "broken" by what has happened.

"For the past week I have been waking every morning to see my darling sweetheart wife broken, broken," he told mourners at the funeral service on Saturday. "I look at my sons and my daughters and they're broken. I look at Mark's uncles and auntie, cousins, nephews, nieces and his beautiful, beautiful daughters and they're broken and I can't fix them.

"To all the people who have come here today and to all of the people who have come through home, offering the shake of a hand, a cuddle, a peck on the cheek, words of encouragement... thank you for coming into this nightmare to help us, because you have helped us so much more. To every single person on this planet who has had a kind thought for us, thank you - thank you."

More than 100 relatives and friends of the Hennessy family attended the funeral, after which he was cremated. There was a low-key presence of plain-clothes detectives at Mount Jerome Crematorium, where immediate family arrived in two limousines. A single wreath was placed on the coffin, which had been transported directly from a funeral home in Bray.

While Hennessy's heartbroken family is said to be struggling to come to terms with his shocking actions, a massive garda investigation continues.

Friends and family have rallied around Hennessy's parents after he was shot dead by a garda as they hunted for his victim.

Ms Valdez's body is due to be flown home to her native Philippines for burial. Meanwhile, officers from the garda's Special Crime Operations team are to probe any links between killer Hennessy and any unsolved crimes against women.

The specialist team, part of the national support services, will use the DNA database, timeline investigations and look for similarities between the abduction and murder of Ms Valdez and other cases, to ascertain if there are any links.

However, gardai working on the case believe that Hennessy suffered a cocaine and drink-fuelled psychosis on the night of the murder after weeks of heavy alcohol and drug use.

Investigations to date are painting a picture of a man losing his grip on reality as he relied more and more on booze and drugs. One former co-worker said Hennessy had worked as a banksman with crane drivers on many major construction sites around Dublin.


He said that he was "fond of his snow blow" - a so-called synthetic high - and on one occasion was fired from a job after consuming cocaine during his lunch hour.

Garda sources say that while a separate team of specialist officers will probe any links to other crimes, they believe his actions may have been a moment of madness scenario and the murder was unplanned.

Officers this week went to court to secure a warrant to take a sample of Hennessy's DNA so they can run it through the nation's database of unsolved crimes. However, there is no evidence to date that he knew Ms Valdez or that he had equipped himself with restraints or weapons when he abducted her on a busy Enniskerry road.

in recent months Hennessy is understood to have started behaving erratically and was spending periods outside the home socialising in local pubs.

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