Enniskerry locals subdued and in shock over abduction of Jastine Valdez

‘Everyone is absolutely in shock and devastated by what’s happened’

The village of Enniskerry on the Dublin Wicklow border was subdued and in shock on Monday as locals came to terms with the reality that a "stunningly beautiful" young woman had been abducted in broad daylight.

Brian White and his wife Adrienne said they drove the road from Enniskerry Village to Powerscourt estate at 6.10pm on Saturday, the same route Jastine Valdez (24) walked five minutes later when she alighted from a bus.

Mr White, a local historian, said he and his wife were shocked to think such terrible events were about to unfold as they went about ordinary business of collecting their son from the Powerscourt estate where he works.

Once news emerged that Ms Valdez’s suspected abductor had been shot dead by gardaí on Sunday night, concern focussed on the whereabouts of the Filipina woman who lived with her parents on the outskirts of Enniskerry.


Locals going to the shops on Monday gathered in twos and threes to express their shock and horror that an abduction could take place in bright sunshine in an area popular with tourists.

Bernard Cawley (57), from Executive Dry Cleaners, said Ms Valdez had been a regular customer. "She's very, very friendly, always smiling and laughing," he said. "She's a lovely girl and always brings a smile to your face. Everyone is absolutely in shock and devastated by what's happened".

Joe O’Byrne, a retired local man, said he had frequently seen Ms Valdez walking though the village and she was a “stunningly beautiful young woman” who while seeming shy had “a beatific smile” for everyone she met.

Sandra Archer, who runs a clothes shop in the village, said: "This area is so quiet normally, people leave their doors unlocked because there is no crime. I'm just shocked".

Author Paul McNeive who lives on the Old Long Hill said he had been able to tell gardaí from early on that “whatever route the car [the Nissan Qashqai driven by suspected abductor Mark Hennessy] had taken from the village, it was not the Old Long Hill”. He said the whole area was stunned by what had happened.

Throughout the afternoon individual gardaí with clipboards were knocking on doors in the town. Householders shook their heads.

Emma Henry said she had told gardaí she did not know or remember Ms Valdez but the "whole town is horrified that this could happen here in broad daylight".

At the Catholic presbytery Fr Bernard Kennedy PP said there was a strong Filipino community in north Wicklow. He said he did not know Ms Valdez personally but knew many of the community who he described as “very devout”. He said as many as 600 Filipino community members regularly attended services across north Wicklow with many holding community events in St Fergal’s Parish in nearby Bray.

He said the abduction “was a terrible thing to happen” on such a sunny weekend with locals and tourists about. “The whole community is in shock that this could happen,” he said.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist