July 31, 2021

Gardai were responding to ‘highly stressful situation’ when killer Mark Hennessy was shot dead, inquest hears

The jury in the inquest into the death of Mark Hennessy, the Bray man who killed Jastine Valdez, has retired to consider its verdict.

Mr Hennessy died from a gunshot wound to his arm and chest after he was shot by a garda at Cherrywood Business Park, Co Dublin on May 20, 2018.

The fatal shooting occurred the day after after Mr Hennessy (40) kidnapped the 24-year-old student as she walked home in Enniskerry,

Dublin City Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane today summed up the evidence heard at the inquest into his death, telling the jury they could consider several options.

She said members of the jury could return an open verdict if they were “not sure how to identify the manner in which the death of the deceased had occurred”, or if they felt the “evidence didn’t fully disclose how to categorise the circumstances” leading to his death.

The coroner also told the jury it could return a verdict of death by misadventure if it believed that Mr Hennessy’s killing was the “unintended outcome of an intended action”.

Dr Cullinane also reminded the jury that it could neither exonerate nor blame any party to the proceedings.

She also said that, in complex circumstances, a narrative verdict in accordance with the evidence heard at the inquest could be considered.

The inquest earlier heard that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission had been informed about the shooting within 45 minutes of Mark Hennessy’s death.

GSOC senior investigating officer, Nick Harden, said the Garda command centre had been advised that shots had been fired in a car park at Cherrywood Business Park, and an ambulance had been requested.

Mr Harden also confirmed that the gardaí at the scene had fully cooperated with the subsequent GSOC investigation into the fatal shooting of Mark Hennessy.

He said the officers had been responding to a “highly stressful and dynamic situation” and wouldn’t have had time to establish which individual garda had been in control”.

In relation to evidence recovered at the scene, Mr Harden said one spent cartridge had been found on the ground behind the Nissan Qashqai, as well as the firearm that had been used by Garda A, the detective who killed Mr Hennessy.

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