herald

Wednesday 22 August 2018

'He was known as a weirdo' - neighbours in shock as killer is unmasked

Mark Hennessy buying the car used in the abduction
Mark Hennessy buying the car used in the abduction

A video has emerged of Jastine Valdez's killer purchasing the car that is suspected of being used to abduct her.

The black Nissan Qashqai, was purchased by kidnapper Mark Hennessy last September.

During the initial investigation into Jastine's disappearance, gardai put a call out to the public to report the whereabouts the 2017 vehicle.

On Sunday members of the public were instructed not to approach the driver of the vehicle.

Shadow

Dad-of-two Hennessy died after he was shot by gardai investigating the missing persons case in Cherrywood industrial estate in south Dublin.

The kidnapper produced a knife at the scene before being fatally shot in the head, chest and arm on Sunday.

Now, a video has emerged online of Hennessy collecting the car he used to abduct Ms Valdez at a dealership close to his family home.

Hennessy can be seen in the video from September 25, delighted with his new purchase.

"Absolutely beautiful now, it drives really well, delighted with it," he said.

"Absolutely delighted with it," he added.

The scene of the shooting
The scene of the shooting

Separately, another video emerged last night of Hennessy socialising in a south Dublin pub.

In the video, Hennessy can be seen talking and laughing to a group of young women sitting at a table.

It is unclear if Hennessy knows the women personally or not.

It is understood that the video has now become part of a garda investigation.

Hennessy lived in the shadow of Bray Head in a quiet cul-de-sac, where he was described by some as "a weirdo".

The construction worker, a married man and father of two young children, had made a home for himself and his family on Woodbrook Lawn, Bray, Co Wicklow, for around three years.

But he'd made little effort to establish himself in the neighbourhood, lined with trimmed bushes and mowed lawns.

"He was known as a weirdo," one neighbour said.

"You'd say hello to him and he'd ignore you, he wouldn't answer you back or even look in your direction.

"He had two young kids and I'd see him driving round but he wasn't part of the community. I just feel sorry for his family.

"He was a monster who hid what he was."

Another neighbour said he had been particularly shocked by the news of Hennessy abducting a young woman, as he felt he'd just been "a normal dad".

"I didn't know him, he didn't speak to me but I just thought he was private and wanted to keep himself to himself," he said.

Animal

"But I would talk to other people nearby. I just came to accept he didn't talk to anyone.

"I never dreamed he could be this animal he clearly was. And that he lived so near."

Hennessy's home, a well-kept semi, opposite a green, with Bray Head in the distance, lay in silence yesterday. Curtains were closed and there was no sound of children on the street.

Neighbours spoke to each other over walls about the disturbing character that lived among them.

"He used to go into local bookies a lot," said one man in Bray. "But he didn't socialise round here.

"If he was a construction worker he didn't bother with others in his industry round here.

"He was an evil man who didn't let anyone know who he was."

A local workman had in recent days spent time in Hennessy's house doing some work there. He also had found only a normal family life, it is understood.

"I know the gardai don't believe he knew the young woman," said a local man, who had seen Ms Valdez in Bray.

"But I find it hard to believe. I really feel he must have seen her in a cafe and became obsessed with her.

"That road he drove seemed so out of the way.

"Maybe he had been served by her in a cafe and had a twisted mind."

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