Tuesday 16 October 2018

Videos give glimpse into life of 'weirdo' who 'ignored neighbours'

Ryan Nugent

A video circulating online last night showed the chief suspect in the murder of Jastine Valdez buying the car that is now at the centre of the Garda investigation.

The black Nissan Qashqai was bought by Mark Hennessy in September last year – and as he collects the vehicle at the dealership near his family home he seems like any happy customer.

Hennessy – who was shot dead on Sunday night – can be seen in the video, captured on September 25, delighted with his new car.

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

“Absolutely delighted with it,” he added.

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 neatly 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.”

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.

“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-detached, opposite a green, with Bray Head in the distance, lay in silence yesterday. Curtains were closed and there was no sound of children anywhere on the street.

But 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 local 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. He also found only a normal family life. There was certainly nothing out of the ordinary.

“I know gardaí don’t believe he knew the young woman,” a local man, who revealed he had seen Ms Valdez in Bray, said.

“But I find it hard to believe. I really feel he must have seen her in a cafe and became obsessed with her... that she didn’t even know him.

“I have lived in Bray all my life and I know Enniskerry too. But that road he drove seemed so out of the way to do what he did.

“Maybe he had been served by her in a cafe and had a twisted mind. God bless her.”

Another video emerged last night of Hennessy socialising in a bar.

Hennessy can be seen smiling and dancing behind a group of women.

The video has now become part of a Garda investigation to determine if it was taken the same night that he abducted and killed Jastine Valdez.

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