Belfast Telegraph

Parents of murdered Jastine Valdez tell of pain and regret over killer’s death

The mother of a student murdered in the Republic has said her pain has not been eased despite the man responsible being killed himself soon afterwards.

Jastine Valdez (24) was abducted in May while walking along the R760 road near her home in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

She was killed and her body found days later in Rathmichael, Co Dublin.

The man responsible, Mark Hennessy (40), a father-of-two from Bray, Co Wicklow, was later shot and killed by the Garda.

Speaking in their first interview since Jastine's death, parents Danilo (Danny) and Teresita (Tess) Valdez said they are still in shock since her disappearance and murder.

They also said they were "disappointed" Hennessy was killed so quickly, because they still have so many questions to ask him.

Her parents had come to Ireland from the Phillipines to work in the 1990s with the hope that they could provide for all their daughter's "hopes and dreams".

When she didn't return home at 5.30pm on the Saturday as agreed, Jastine's mother said she prayed in her bedroom.

"When she didn't come home by around 7.30 in the evening I knew there was a gut feeling in me that I knew that something was wrong, something terribly wrong had happened," Tess told RTE Radio One, speaking through an interpreter at times.

"We called straightaway to the gardai, to tell them that my daughter did not arrive home at the time," she added.

"When I went to the gardai and told them my daughter was missing, they promised me they would find her, 100% they would find her."

It was 3pm on the Monday that the couple received a call to the door, informing them her body had been found.

"The gardai came to our house to tell us they found her body," Tess said. "I just kept crying, I didn't know what I was doing."

Hennessy was shot dead by police the day after he killed Jastine, but it didn't help the Valdez family.

"It was on Monday that we were informed that Mark Hennessy was the one who murdered Jastine," said Tess. "When we found out he was killed it didn't ease the pain, it didn't matter, Jastine was gone, we were also sad he had passed away.

"We were disappointed he was killed, there were a lot of questions in our mind, we wanted to know more about why he wanted to do such a terrible thing."

Tess described Ireland as their "second home" and said they feel only gratefulness to the Irish people for their help and support throughout the last few months.

"We are not angry at Ireland, whatever was going on in Hennessy's mind, it was only in his mind, it is not for us to blame Ireland. Ireland has been good to us," she said.

The couple said they wished to thank the Irish people for their generosity and kindness following their daughter's murder.

Belfast Telegraph

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