It is no comfort to know that nearly 90pc of the 216 women who have died violently in Ireland since 1996 knew their killers — and over half of the perpetrators are partners or ex-partners
estate explains why he was not that well-known in the Bray area. He was a much more familiar figure in the South Dublin suburb of Ballybrack, where he grew up on the Cromlech Fields council estate. It is a close-knit community close to the affluent suburb of Killiney.
The family, who still live in the area, were described by neighbours as “well respected” this week.
The father-of-two, who only had a second child in recent months, was not known to gardaí in recent years for behaviour that marked him out as a man liable to commit extremely violent crimes. But he had come to their attention recently.
He had previous convictions dating back to his early 20s.
In 1999, he was convicted of drugs possession after being found with £100 worth of cannabis in St Stephen’s Green. That was unremarkable.
But he had shown signs of an aggressive tendency when he was in his early twenties. In September 2000, he was charged with a public order offence in Rathmines, Dublin.
During that incident he was reported to have headbutted another customer in a pub.
He was later convicted of threatening and abusing behaviour as well as being drunk and disorderly and he was fined €250. While he escaped the attention of gardaí for a number of years and appeared to have settled down, recently he had been in trouble again. Hennessy appeared in court just last Monday to face a number of charges relating to drink-driving and leaving the scene of an accident.
This related to an incident in Bray in September of last year, when he crashed into another motorist.
The construction worker was due to appear again in Bray district court again on June 11 to face the music for these motoring offences.
While the charges may have been minor in the context of the violent crime he went on to commit, it was a sign that his behaviour was becoming more erratic in recent months.
He was said to have had a serious drink and alcohol problem in recent months. It emerged in the middle of this week that he had been ejected from at least one pub on Bray seafront over the May Bank Holiday weekend.
The reports that he had ready access by telephone to a drug dealer and was looking for cocaine after the murder indicate that he may have used the drug on a regular basis.
As with so many recent perpetrators of violent crimes, Hennessy left an eerie video record of a couple of brief episodes in his life, and these circulated on social media this week.
In one stilted video, filmed in a car showroom, he is shown commenting on the new Nissan Qashqai that the family had just bought. It was to be used by his wife.
He tells one of the showroom staff that the car is “absolutely beautiful... It drives really well”.
It is the car that he used to carry out the abduction of Jastine Valdez — and where he met his end just a few months after buying the car.
In another video filmed in a pub, he appears drunk, joking with two women at the bar. Perhaps one looks at these videos differently in the light of the killings, but behind the smiles and the apparent good humour, there is a cold vacant look in his eyes. In the pub video there is also a feeling of a man out of control. Former detective Alan Bailey said investigators will try to gauge whether Hennessy went out intending to do what he did last Saturday evening, or whether it was a spur-of-the-moment attack.
They will look at the significance of him taking his wife’s car to carry out an abduction.
Bailey said Larry Murphy, who was convicted after attacking a woman in Carlow in 2001, also drove his wife’s car. According to the detective, a child seat or toys thrown on the back of the car could be designed to make a motorist seem more innocuous.
Forensic psychologist Patrick Randall said Hennessy’s behaviour on the evening of the murder indicate a chaotic and disturbed state of mind, and an absence of clear planning.
“One thing that is striking is the number of witnesses,” says Randall.
On the evening of the abduction and murder, witnesses — including a 12-year-boy — reported seeing a woman being punched by a male and then forced into the car along Kilcroney Road.
There were reports of Hennessy driving his Nissan around the area like a “rally car”, and a report came in to gardaí at 7.15pm from a man who said he saw a woman in a distressed state in the back of an SUV.
“This was not well planned or orchestrated,” says Randall. “There was no regard for the fact that there were so many people around who could see what was happening.
“It seems that he was driven by a frenzy where the red mist had descended, and the primitive brain had taken over.”
After grabbing Jastine in Enniskerry, Hennessy may have panicked and strangled her sooner than he had planned in order to stop her drawing attention to the car.
He dumped her body in an area covered with gorse in the grounds of a disused golf course along Puck’s Castle Lane.
Jastine was an only child and had moved to Ireland from the Philippines three years ago. She was a student at the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, where she studied accountancy, and seemed to have a bright future ahead of her.
Hennessy met his end just over 24 hours after the killing, when he was cornered by gardaí. A single bullet from a garda weapon hit him in the shoulder but then entered his torso causing fatal injuries. He was sitting in the front seat at the time and had a Stanley knife.
In a moving vigil for Jastine on Tuesday evening, Filipino Bong Mendez urged the crowd to “pray for Jastine and Mark’s families”.
This is likely to be one of those crimes that leaves a permanent imprint on public consciousness.
It is almost forgotten now that until the 1990s, women and men felt safe enough to hitch-hike along Irish country roads.
But according to retired detective Alan Bailey, this feeling of safety changed radically after a spate of cases of missing women — including the disappearance of Kilkenny woman Jo Jo Dullard in 1995.
Women may now feel less safe walking along our roads, even during the daytime.
Rather than restricting the movement of women night and day along city streets and country roads, it may be time to go the heart of the matter and address the real problem of male violence.