Wednesday 21 August 2019

Garda who shot dead Jastine's murderer is cleared of wrongdoing

Jastine Valdez
Jastine Valdez
Mark Hennessy
Paul Williams

Paul Williams

A Garda detective has been cleared of any wrongdoing connected to the shooting dead of Mark Hennessy, who abducted and murdered student Jastine Valdez.

Hennessy (40) died from gunshot wounds when the experienced detective attempted to arrest him during the search for Ms Valdez, who had been abducted outside Enniskerry on the previous evening, Saturday, May 19.

Gardaí launched an intensive manhunt for the suspect and had found the killer who was sitting in a black Nissan Qashqai at the Cherrywood Business Park, south Co Dublin.

When the armed detective from Stillorgan station approached the vehicle, he was under the impression Hennessy was still holding Ms Valdez hostage.

The officer could see the suspect was armed with a knife and was in the process of making stabbing movements. He believed Hennessy was attacking his victim and he opened fire with two shots from his handgun, hitting him in the arm and chest.

The Irish Independent understands the officer, who has had a distinguished career in the Garda spanning several years, was yesterday officially informed he has no case to answer.

Gsoc submitted an investigation file on the shooting to the DPP who in turn accepted the garda had done nothing wrong.

A source revealed that while the confrontation with Hennessy had a tragic and unexpected outcome, the garda's response was perfectly legitimate in the circumstances which is described in some international police forces as a "righteous shooting".

Colleagues of the popular and widely respected officer say that he is hugely relieved as he knew he had no other choice but to open fire.

At the time, the officer was said to have been traumatised by the fact that he had killed the prime suspect before gardaí had found Ms Valdez (24).

Ms Valdez's remains were found the following afternoon in woodland at Rathmichael near Kilternan.

Irish Independent

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