Saturday 24 August 2019

Detective who shot dead the murderer of Jastine Valdez is cleared of any wrongdoing

  • Mark Hennessy abducted and murdered student Jastine Valdez in May of last year
  • Hennessy was shot dead when experienced garda attempted to arrest him
Gardai at the scene in Cherrywood, Co Dublin, where Mark Hennessy (above right) was shot dead. Jastine Valdez (inset left). Photo: Arthur Carron
Gardai at the scene in Cherrywood, Co Dublin, where Mark Hennessy (above right) was shot dead. Jastine Valdez (inset left). Photo: Arthur Carron
Paul Williams

Paul Williams

A garda detective has been cleared of any wrong-doing connected to the shooting dead of Mark Hennessy who abducted and murdered student Jastine Valdez, Independent.ie can exclusively reveal.

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, 2018.

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Jastine Valdez was abducted and murdered by Mark Hennessy (Garda Press Office/PA)
Jastine Valdez was abducted and murdered by Mark Hennessy (Garda Press Office/PA)

Gardai had launched an intensive man hunt for the suspect when following a tip-off from a member of the public gardai located the killer who was sitting in a black Nissan Qashqai at the Cherrywood Business Park in south county Dublin.

When the armed detective from Stillorgan station approached the jeep he was under the impression that Hennessy was still holding Ms Valdez hostage in the jeep and there was a chance of rescuing her.

The officer could see that the suspect was armed with a knife and that he was in the process of making downward stabbing movements.

He believed that Hennessy was attacking his victim and he opened fire with a single shot from his handgun, hitting him in the arm and chest.

Hennessy (40) was shot dead by a garda detective on May 20, around 24 hours after he abducted and murdered Jastine Valdez (24).
Hennessy (40) was shot dead by a garda detective on May 20, around 24 hours after he abducted and murdered Jastine Valdez (24).

Independent.ie understands that the officer, who has had a distinguished career in the gardai spanning several years, was officially informed yesterday that he has no case to answer in connection with the shooting.

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 at the result of the investigation as he knew he had no other choice but to open fire when he confronted the killer.

At the time of the shooting the officer was said to have been traumatised by the fact that he had killed the prime suspect before gardai had located Ms Valdez, 24, who had been abducted by the father-of-two as she walked from Enniskerry Village the previous evening, Satruday May 19.

Ms Valdez had taken the 5.40pm bus from Bray to Enniskerry and was walking to her home along the R760 Kilcrony road outside Enniskerry when Hennessy seems to have abducted her in a terrifying random act.

A female motorist spotted him bundling his victim into his Nissan Qashqai close to the entrance to the Powerscourt Hotel entrance and dialled 999 at 6.45pm.

A massive manhunt was launched within a few hours when Ms Valdez’s family reported her missing and gardai identified the suspect vehicle after trawling through cctv images.

It was during the subsequent search operation the following evening that gardai were alerted by a member of the public who had spotted Hennessy in the business park. The witness said they believed they saw the young woman in Hennessy’s company.

As the garda approached the father-of-two and saw him making very obvious downward thrusts with a knife, he said he was left with no option but to open fire in a bid to save the woman’s life.

Jastine Valdez’s remains were discovered the following afternoon in dense woodland at Rathmichael near Kilternan.

Forensic examination on the body found that the young woman had died by strangulation and that she had been murdered within 45 minutes of her abduction.

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