Belfast Telegraph

Murdered student’s parents not comforted by killer’s death

Jastine Valdez was killed by Mark Hennessy who was shot dead by gardai.

The parents of a student murdered in Ireland have said the pain of losing their daughter has not been eased by knowing her killer is dead.

Jastine Valdez was abducted and strangled in an apparently random attack in Co Wicklow earlier this year.

The 24-year-old had been walking to the home she shared with her parents in Enniskerry on May 19 when she was kidnapped and murdered by Mark Hennessy.

It didn't ease the pain at all, it didn't matter. Jastine was gone

He was shot dead following an interaction with gardai at Cherrywood Business Park in south Dublin a little over 24 hours after Ms Valdez went missing.

Ms Valdez’s body was discovered in thick undergrowth in the Puck’s Castle area of Co Dublin.

The accountancy student, originally from the Philippines, lived in Enniskerry in Wicklow while Mr Hennessy, 40, lived with his partner and two children in nearby Bray.

Teresito and Danilo Valdez said knowing Jastine’s killer was no longer alive did not give them any solace.

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Jastine Valdez’s body was found in heavy undergrowth in Puck’s Castle Lane (Donall Farmer/PA)

“It didn’t help, it didn’t ease the pain,” said Teresito Valdez.

“We didn’t like that he was killed. It didn’t change anything when we found out that he was killed.

“It didn’t ease the pain at all, it didn’t matter. Jastine was gone.”

The couple moved to Ireland from the Philippines in 2001 to help provide for their daughter. Ms Valdez, who was seven at the time, was raised by her grandmother until the Valdezs could afford for their daughter to join them in 2015.

We wanted to know more about why he did such a terrible thing

Mr and Mrs Valdez told RTE’s Today With Miriam programme that they were “sad” that Mr Hennessy had been killed.

They said his death had left them with many unanswered questions.

“We were quite disappointed that he was killed quite quickly,” Mr Valdez said.

“There are a lot of questions in our mind. We wanted to know more about why he did such a terrible thing.”

The couple thanked the Irish people for all the help they received since Jastine’s death.

A Go Fund Me page was set up after Jastine’s death to help cover the cost of repatriating her body back to her native Philippines.

Jastine’s parents brought her home for a traditional wake and funeral, which lasted a month.

The fund raised a total of 140,000 euro, far surpassing the original target of 10,000 euro.

Jastine’s parents have now returned to Ireland and are looking for work and a new home.

Mrs Valdez said she is searching for work but her husband said he was not yet able to return to work because he is too distraught.

The couple are living in someone else’s home but they hope to find their own home soon.

Ireland’s police watchdog, the Garda Siochana Ombudsman’s Commission, is investigating the incident that led to Hennessy being shot dead.

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