herald

Saturday 19 October 2019

Kidnap and murder victim Jastine choked to death, inquest told

Tragic Jastine Valdez
Tragic Jastine Valdez

Murder victim Jastine Valdez died of asphyxia, an inquest confirmed before it was adjourned until next year.

No members of the Valdez family were present for the opening of an inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court into the accountancy student's tragic death.

Clearer

A family liaison officer has been appointed, and Detective Inspector Frank Keenaghan applied to the court for a three-month adjournment of the case.

"The family will be back in the jurisdiction at that stage and we will have a clearer picture," Det Insp Keenaghan said.

The 24-year-old Filipino died of asphyxia, the inquest heard, following her abduction in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, on Saturday, May 19.

Depraved killer Mark Hennessy forced her into the boot of a black Nissan Qashqai in broad daylight on a busy road at 6.20pm, but a witness rang 999.

Her body was discovered shortly before 3pm on May 21 in dense woodland near Puck's Castle in Rathmichael, South Dublin.

The inquest heard that Ms Valdez's parents, Danny and Tess, travelled to the city morgue the following day to identify their tragic daughter's remains.

The coroner's court heard a statement from Mr Valdez, saying how he travelled to the morgue with Garda Patrick Mackey of Bray Garda Station.

"There I saw my daughter Jastine and I identified her as my daughter," he said in his statement.

A post-mortem examination conducted by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan gave the cause of death as asphyxia.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane adjourned the inquest for further mention to March 14, and extended the condolences of the court to the Valdez family.

Killer Hennessy (40) died from wounds to his arm and chest after he was shot by a garda at Cherrywood Business Park, Co Dublin, the day before Jastine's body was found.

The Herald previously revealed that the kidnapper was leading a shocking secret life in the weeks before the murder.

Gardai were investigating if the father-of-two was using a dating app to search for women with whom he could have extramarital affairs.

His secret life - kept hidden from his wife - included abusing cocaine, drinking heavily and apparently using Tinder to meet women.

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