Recent killings of young people ‘a coincidence’, Garda chief says
Dónall Ó Cualáin says deaths of Ana Kriegel, Jastine Valdez, Cameron Reilly ‘appalled public’
The body of, 24-year-old Filipina murder victim, Jastine Valdez arriving at Dublin Airport on Tuesday morning, from where she will be repatriated, and buried in her native Philippines. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins
The recent killings of Jastine Valdez, Ana Kriegel and Cameron Reilly in separate incidents have “appalled the public” but are “just a coincidence”, acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin has said.
Speaking to reporters at the Garda Representative Association’s conference, Mr Ó Cualáin said it had been a traumatic few weeks.
“Over the past while we’ve got used to gang-land type killings,” he said. “These [murders of young people] were of a different type that have appalled the public. It’s important that we, as much as we can and as quickly as we can, get to the bottom of the cause of these particular crimes.”
Inquiries are ongoing into the three cases, with gardaí on Monday appealing for further information about the death of Ms Valdez just hours before her remains were due to be repatriated to the Philippines.
A teenager appeared in court last Friday in connection with the death of Ana Kriegel (14) in Lucan, Co Dublin earlier this month and gardaí in Co Louth were attempting on Monday to find a phone belonging to Mr Reilly (18), whose body was found on Saturday in a field popular with young people for meeting up and drinking in Dunleer.
“We’ve made significant progress in all of them based on all of that help we have received,” the acting commissioner said. “We’ve been able to establish how and when these things happened. We’re at the early stages of all these investigations and there is still a long way to go. But thanks is due to the public and the media for their assistance in those appeals.”
Commissioner Ó Cualáin said the killings were “unusual” and that it was a coincidence they happened within such a short period of time.
“It’s unfortunate to have had such a run in such a short period of time. You wouldn’t expect crimes of these natures to happen that often. That a few did happen in such a short space of time is just a coincidence.
“I would just like to assure the public that with your cooperation and your help we can get to the bottom of these things.”
The Valdez family are travelling home today with the 24-year-old’s body and a funeral service is due to take place in their hometown in the Philippines later this week.
She was abducted on Saturday, May 19th while walking along the R760 road near her home in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow. She was murdered shortly afterwards and her body was found the following Monday near Puck’s Castle Lane in Rathmichael, Co Dublin.
Her abductor and murderer, Mark Hennessy (40), a father of two who lived in Bray, Co Wicklow, was shot and killed by a garda on May 20th.
The body of Ms Valdez left Thomas Murphy & Sons funeral home in Bray on Tuesday morning, where her remains lay in repose since Friday.