Wednesday 26 June 2019

'In the midst of our grief' - Families of Jastine and her killer meet to exchange sympathies

'My family is broken and I can't fix them' - Mark Hennessy's father

Jastine Valdez
Jastine Valdez
Last Journey: More than 100 people attended the funeral of murderer Mark Hennessy in Dublin yesterday. Picture: Fergal Phillips
Mark Hennessy Newsdesk Newsdesk

THE family of murdered student Jastine Valdez has met with the family of her killer Mark Hennessy, it has emerged.

Hennessy murdered Ms Valdez (24) after kidnapping her from near her home in Enniskerry in Wicklow on the evening of Saturday, 19 May.

He was located by gardai at 8pm on the following day in the Cherrywood Business Park and he was shot dead. The young student's body was found last Monday.

Now, the families have released a joint statement confirming that they have met.

Mark Hennessy
Mark Hennessy

"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," it read.

"Both families request privacy at this very difficult time”

News of the meeting comes after it emerged over the weekend that the Hennessy family had held a private funeral for their son.

The father of Mark Hennessy has described his family as "broken".

The Hennessy family held a private funeral for their son, who was killed by Gardai during the search for Ms Valdez, at Mount Jerome Chapel in Dublin's Harold's Cross.

"For the past week, I have been waking every morning to see my darling sweetheart wife broken, broken," he told mourners.

Jastine Valdez
Jastine Valdez

"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," he told the congregation at the funeral service on Saturday.

"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 Mr Hennessy was cremated.

There was a low-key presence of plainclothes detectives at Mount Jerome crematorium where immediate family arrived in two limousines.

A single wreath was placed on the coffin which had been brought 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.

The Garda Siochana Ombudsman (GSOC) released details about the fatal shooting of Hennessy by a south Dublin-based detective last Sunday night.

It said Hennessy was shot dead in his car and had wounds consistent with self-harming.

The incident was caught on camera footage from a garda traffic car at the scene.

"A garda service weapon was recovered from the scene. The remaining ammunition and one spent cartridge was located in the firearm," a GSOC spokesperson said.

"A Stanley knife was subsequently recovered from the vehicle, the Nissan Qashqai, which had been the subject of a garda alert."

The spokesperson confirmed that a post-mortem examination showed Hennessy was shot in the shoulder.

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