Jastine Valdez murder: blood in SUV thought to be Hennessy’s

Note found in Nissan Qashqai may have helped pinpoint body’s location

Gardaí searching for missing student Jastine Valdez have found a body. The remains were discovered in an old mine in Kilternan, south Co Dublin.

Large quantities of blood have been found in the car the Garda believes Mark Hennessy used on Saturday in his suspected abduction of Jastine Valdez, the 24-year-old student whom investigators believe he then killed before dumping her body. The blood is thought to be Hennessy's.

Gardaí believe the 40-year-old father of two had been cutting himself with a Stanley knife in the car, a black Nissan Qashqai. He was shot and killed by a Garda detective at Cherrywood Business Park, on the outskirts of south Dublin, on Sunday. One line of inquiry is that Hennessy was shot after he threatened gardaí with the knife. The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is investigating the shooting, in line with its procedures when anybody is killed by a guard.

Garda sources believe that, although Hennessy's self-inflicted wounds were not at that point a suicide attempt, he may have been preparing to take his own life. Investigating gardaí found a blood-stained note written by Hennessy in the car that helped locate the body of Ms Valdez, who was abducted from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, on Saturday evening.

Gardaí found her remains on Monday by an unused mine in the Puck’s Castle area of Rathmichael, in south Co Dublin, about 7km from her home. The note appears to have referred to Puck’s Castle. Satellite-navigation data downloaded from the car also led gardaí to the area where the body was found.


Ms Valdez's purse was found at the disused Puck's Castle Golf Course several hours before her body was located.

Jastine Valdez: the 24-year-old student was abducted on Saturday evening

Shot and killed

Gsoc investigators are working to establish the exact circumstances in which Hennessy was shot and killed. Hennessy had driven into the business park, where he was cornered by gardaí, on Sunday after members of the public identified the wanted Nissan Qashqai.

The detective who shot him was not carrying a Taser, the incapacitating but nonlethal device available to specialist Garda teams such as its emergency-response unit. Gsoc has examined the scene of the shooting and is believed to have conducted a preliminary interview with the detective.

Ms Valdez, who was abducted while walking home, was a first-year accounting and finance student at Institute of Technology Tallaght, in southwest Dublin; she is also thought to have worked part-time in Bray, the Co Wicklow town where Hennessy, a construction worker, lived with his wife and two young children. Gardaí do not believe she knew him.

Ms Valdez died on Saturday evening, shortly after she was abducted; the cause of death was initially suspected to be strangulation. A full postmortem is under way.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times