herald

Monday 16 December 2019

'Ana was a dream come true for us. She will be forever loved and cherished' - mother

  • Both boys are found guilty of murdering schoolgirl Ana Kriegel
  • Jury deliberated for a total of 14 hours and 25 minutes before verdict
Schoolgirl Ana Kriegel was found murdered in an abandoned house in Lucan just over a year ago
Schoolgirl Ana Kriegel was found murdered in an abandoned house in Lucan just over a year ago

Ana Kriegel's parents paid tribute to their daughter after two 14-year-old boys were found guilty of her murder.

Speaking briefly outside the Criminal Courts of Justice, Ana's father Patric Kriegel said: "Ana was our strength."

Her mother, Geraldine Kriegel, added: "Ana was a dream come true for us and she always will be. She will stay in our hearts, forever loved and forever cherished.

"We love you Ana."

Her parents spoke after two teenagers were found guilty before the Central Criminal Court of the murder of schoolgirl Ana.

One of them, known as Boy A, was also found guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

The boys, who were just 13 at the time, had denied the offences.

Unexpected

The jury was sent out to consider its verdict at lunchtime last Wednesday.

After deliberating for a total of 14 hours and 25 minutes, jurors came back at 2.11pm yesterday and delivered the verdicts, first for Boy A and then for Boy B.

News that the jury had reached a verdict spread quickly through the courthouse.

Ana's parents Geraldine and Patric. Photo: Collins Courts
Ana's parents Geraldine and Patric. Photo: Collins Courts

It was somewhat unexpected as the jury had returned from lunch and had been just sent out to deliberate at 1.51pm.

The verdict was unanimous, the foreman told the court.

The court was also told that a remand in custody would be "appropriate".

Prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC said that it had been checked and places were available for the boys at Oberstown Detention Centre.

Mr Grehan said that the offenders' transport to Oberstown was a "matter for the gardai".

Mr Justice Paul McDermott remanded both boys in custody, and adjourned sentencing to Monday, July 15.

The judge also ordered probation and psychiatric reports for both boys, as well as school reports and any other available reports, saying that he was "seeking professional assistance" in relation to this very difficult case.

Judge McDermott said that the boys' parents may also wish to give evidence prior to sentencing.

Patric and Geraldine Kriegel were crying and were hugged tightly by their family, who gathered them into a circle when the verdict was announced.

Judge McDermott expressed his sincere gratitude and his deep appreciation to the jurors, and excused them from serving on a jury in the future.

He also offered his condolences to the Kriegel family.

The judge reiterated that the boys cannot be named and are entitled to anonymity under the law because they are children.

Ana's body, naked apart from a pair of black socks, was found by gardai in a derelict farmhouse, Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, in Lucan, at 1pm on May 17, 2018.

The 14-year-old had been reported missing by her parents three days earlier.

Ana was last seen by her father leaving her home in the company of the second accused, Boy B, around 5pm on the day she disappeared, and heading in the direction of the park.

Boy B was interviewed by gardai for over 17 hours on two separate dates, on May 24 and July 7 last year.

In his interviews, Boy B had claimed that he called to Ana's house on behalf of Boy A, who told him he wanted to sort out some "relationship issues" with her.

Connected

In his closing address to the jury, prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC said there was an "overwhelming forensic case" against Boy A, which not just connected him to the scene but where items belonging to him, from his house, connected him to Ana and the scene.

Mr Grehan told jurors it was the prosecution case that there was "no innocent explanation" that could explain away these facts other than Boy A's involvement.

He said the evidence in relation to Boy A pointed in only one way - he was at the scene, he was there when Ana was bleeding, his DNA was on her neck and his semen was on her top.

Most significant of all, Mr Grehan added, was that Ana's blood was on Boy A's boots.

In relation to Boy B, Mr Grehan said there was no forensic evidence connecting him to the scene, and the case against Boy B relied on "what came out of his own mouth" in his interviews with gardai.

Mr Grehan said the interviews contained "lies, untruths and half truths" and told the jury "quite where the lies end or the truth begins will be a matter you will have to decide".

In his closing address, Patrick Gageby SC, for Boy A, asked the jury to consider if there was "any solid or real evidence" of his client's intention to kill or his intention to kill Ana Kriegel.

In his closing speech, defence counsel Damien Colgan SC, for Boy B, said the prosecution case was that the two boys planned this together and Boy B collected Ana and brought her to Boy A who then did "untold things" to her.

However, Mr Colgan said this theory did not hold water, and "did not add up in any shape or form".

He said there was "no plan" and Boy B had "no knowledge".

In his charge to the jury, Judge McDermott said jurors must be "clinical in their analysis of the facts".

The judge said it would be impossible not to have sympathy for the bereaved family in this case.

It would also be impossible not to have a degree of empathy for the families of the accused and the situation they had been placed in, he added.

However, Judge McDermott told jurors to leave their emotions outside the door when deliberating.

It was essential for jurors to be independent in mind and act on the evidence, he went on to add.

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