Garda tells inquest he shot Mark Hennessy as he believed he was about to slit Jastine Valdez's throat

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The Garda who shot Mark Hennessy said he believed Jastine Valdez was in the car and her abductor was about to slit her throat with a knife.

Giving evidence at Dublin Coroner’s Court, the detective known as Garda A, said he discharged his weapon to stop Mark Hennessy.

Garda A, a detective for the past 18 years, was off-duty on May 20, 2018, when he joined the search for the missing 24-year-old Filipino student, Jastine Valdez, who had been violently abducted from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, the previous day.

Garda A was conducting searches around Shankill and Dun Laoghaire for the 17D NIssan Qashqai Mark Hennessy was driving.

The detective said he got a call on his radio and was told a female member of the public had spotted the NIssan and was following it and there was a second occupant in the car. The vehicle was in the Cherrywood Business Park.

Garda A drove into the car park and stopped directly in front of the Nissan Qashqai Mark Hennessy was driving.

“He was in the driver seat, he was moving from side to side. He looked uneasy and agitated,” Garda A told the court.

“I blocked the Nissan to the front and another unmarked car blocked it to the rear. I put out an urgent assistance request.

Mark Hennessy was moving around in the front of the vehicle in a very agitated state. He was struggling with something in the front passenger step-well area.

“I shouted at him ‘Armed police, drop the fucking knife,’ I shouted this a number of times,” he said.

“I took up position and began drawing my weapon from the holster because of the seriousness of the situation. I was concentrated on the blade exposed.”

Garda A said he was satisfied Jastine Valdez was in the car given the information received and his assessment of the situation.

Yesterday, the resumed inquest into Mark Hennessy’s death heard evidence from two other gardaí and three Civil Defence volunteers at the scene of the shooting in the Cherrywood Business Park.

The inquest continues before Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane

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