The inquest into the death of Mark Hennessy, who killed student Jastine Valdez in 2018, has heard evidence from a garda who was on the scene when Hennessy was shot dead.

The garda, who has been identified as Garda B, said he saw Hennessy's black Nissan Qashqai in a car park in Cherrywood Business Park.

Hennessy, who was 40 years old, was shot dead after gardaí located him in the industrial estate. 

He had abducted and killed Ms Valdez, a 24-year-old Filipino student, from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

Gardaí had believed she may have been in the car with Hennessy when they found him in his Nissan Qashqai.

Jastine Valdez, originally from the Philippines, lived with her family in Co Wicklow

Garda B said the car started to move slowly away as he and a colleague approached in an unmarked garda car and how his colleague, Garda C, shouted at the driver to stop.

He said at that stage the driver was looking out an open window at him and his colleague.

Garda B said Detective Garda A arrived putting his unmarked car in front of the Qashqai. He then parked his car behind it.

He said his colleague, Garda C, tried to open the driver's door of Hennessy's car and tried to smash the driver's window with his foot.

He then saw Detective Garda A draw his weapon and fire a shot through the driver's window.

Garda B broke the driver's window with his baton. He opened the driver's side door.

He then searched the car looking for Ms Valdez, checking the boot and the back of her the car.

When he opened the passenger door, he saw blood and a bottle of Jack Daniels.

When questioned by Hugh Hartnett SC, for Hennessy's widow Nicola, he said he did not see Hennessy make a gesture as he approached the vehicle.

He said he was towards the rear of the Qashqai on the driver’s side when Garda C tried to break the window with his foot and in the same area when Detective Garda A fired a shot, which according to Mr Hartnett was less than three seconds later.

The inquest heard from a Civil Defence volunteer who described seeing a garda shoot Hennessy as he sat in his car.

James Magee told the inquest how he followed Hennessy's car into a car park at Cherrywood, near Shankill, in Dublin.

Mr Magee said he saw that when Hennessy stopped his car, he had his hands on the steering wheel and he made a shrugging gesture as the garda cars pulled up in the car park.

He said he saw a box cutter or Stanley knife in Hennessy's hand and looked away as he thought Hennessy was going to harm himself with the knife. When he looked back, Hennessy was harming himself.

Mr Magee saw a plain clothes garda approach the car and draw his revolver. He saw Hennessy appearing to reach down into the passenger footwell for something and then the garda firing a shot through the driver's window.

He then heard a garda say "Urgent assistance required. Shot fired by garda" and saw a garda break the driver's window of Hennessy's car with a baton.

He saw the garda who had fired the shot go back to his car to get his medical bag. He also saw the garda take the bullets out of his gun and place the bullets and gun on the ground.


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Earlier, Detective Superintendent Frank Keenaghan told how he led the search for Ms Valdez after reports of her abduction on 19 May 2018.

He went through various locations associated with the search and places where Hennessy or the black Nissan Qashqai had been spotted.

He went through CCTV footage showing Hennessy visiting various shops and the Ramblers Rest pub in Ballybrack, where he twice went in and received a package from another man.

He described how he made the decision to hold a press conference where he gave out the description and registration number of the car reported to be involved in the abduction and appealed for the public to report any sightings.

The inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court also heard from Christina Connelly, who saw the Nissan Qashqai as she was driving home from work that Sunday evening.

She said she had read about the appeal while taking a short break at work earlier that evening and she realised the car in front of her matched the description.

She rang 999 to report the sighting and followed the car. She told the dispatcher there were two men in the front of the car wearing baseball caps.

She followed the car to the Cherrywood Industrial Estate and very soon afterward a marked Civil Defence vehicle and two unmarked garda cars arrived.

The jury at the inquest earlier heard that the names of gardaí directly involved in his death will not be published for operational reasons.

Dublin City Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said she had agreed to a request they would be referred to by letters (Garda A etc).

The inquest had previously been adjourned by Dr Cullinane to allow the Garda Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) to complete its investigation into the death.

GSOC has concluded that the garda who shot Hennessy will not face prosecution or disciplinary action as no wrongdoing was found.