Saturday 23 June 2018

Video emerges of Jastine Valdez abduction suspect buying car now at the centre of garda investigation

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A video has emerged of the suspect in the Jastine Valdez case purchasing his car that is now at the centre of a garda investigation.

Mark Hennessy (40), who was married with two young children, was confronted on Sunday evening in a car park in south Dublin after a massive search operation for the missing student (24).

A senior source told the Irish Independent that the kidnapping suspect was armed with a knife when gardaí approached him at the Cherrywood industrial estate.

It is understood that Hennessy threatened to self-harm and stab gardaí, before he was shot by a detective from a south Dublin garda station.

Gardai conduct searches in the Puck’s Castle area near Dublin (Donall Farmer/PA)
Gardai conduct searches in the Puck’s Castle area near Dublin (Donall Farmer/PA)

Garda search teams have since discovered a body in the Rathmichael area of south county Dublin.

A formal identification has yet to take place.

Garda on the R760 in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow (Eleanor Barlow/PA)
Garda on the R760 in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow (Eleanor Barlow/PA)

Now, a video has emerged online of abduction suspect Mark Hennessy collecting his car at a dealership close to his family home.

The black Nissan Qashqai was at the centre of the initial investigation as gardaí put a call-out to the public to report the whereabouts the vehicle.

Jastine Valdez, 24, from Enniskerry (Garda Press Office/PA)
Jastine Valdez, 24, from Enniskerry (Garda Press Office/PA)

Members of the public were asked not to approach the driver, but to rather report the location of the car to authorities.

In the video, featured here on Independent.ie with the audio removed, Hennessy can be seen at the dealership with his new car and says of his purchase; "Absolutely beautiful, drives really well, delighted with it... delighted with my buy."

Investigation

Gardai are now attempting to piece together Hennessy’s movements since 5pm on Saturday when he left his home in Bray, Co Wicklow.

The kidnapping suspect, a building contractor originally from Ballybrack, had told his wife he was going out socialising on Saturday evening.

He has no obvious connections to Jastine and her movements on the day she went missing were random, leading gardai to believe the attack was completely unplanned.

The young student was abducted by a man driving a black Nissan Qashqai as she walked home near Enniskerry about 6.30pm on Saturday.

Following a massive garda appeal for information about the car, Hennessy was sighted at Killiney Dart station yesterday afternoon.

When confronted by members of the public, he mounted a curb in the Qashqai and fled the scene at speed.

He was later traced to the Cherrywood industrial estate where a stand-off with gardaí ensued.

Hennessy was shot dead and, as is normal when a garda firearm is discharged, the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is investigating the shooting.

Jastine and her parents, who are from the Philippines, have been living in Ireland for the past three years.

A student at Tallaght IT, Jastine had got off a bus in Enniskerry on Saturday evening and was walking home along Kilcroney Road, near the Powerscourt estate, when the Qashqai pulled alongside her.

The driver of the car pulled her into the vehicle and then drove off at high speed.

A woman and her young family witnessed the incident and alerted the gardaí.

About an hour later, a man phoned the gardai to say he had spotted a young woman in distress in a car on the N11, a short distance from where the abduction took place.

Gardai checked the area and set up a wider search for the car.

But when Jastine’s parents contacted gardai at 11pm on Saturday to report she was missing, a large-scale investigation was launched.

A divisional search party was sent out at first light yesterday and officers found Jastine’s mobile phone and some other personal belongings including a bag near where she had been abducted.

The air support unit was involved while gardaí also received assistance from the Civil Defence. Members of the Garda technical bureau carried out extensive searches.

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