herald

Thursday 18 October 2018

Gardai fear attacks by vigilantes after teens linked online to murder of Ana (14)

Gardai look for clues at the derelict farmhouse where her body was found. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins Agency
Gardai look for clues at the derelict farmhouse where her body was found. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins Agency
Murder victim Ana Kriegel (14). Photo: Austin Crowe

Gardai fear that a number of youths could be targeted by vigilantes after being linked to schoolgirl Ana Kriegel's murder in her home town, the Herald has learned.

In recent days the names of at least two teenagers have been circulated in the Leixlip area, where the 14-year-old victim lived with her family.

The juveniles' names have been shared through messaging apps, including WhatsApp, as people connected to the murder investigation.

Neither of the youths has been arrested in connection with the investigation, but there are now fears that the teenagers will be targeted by vigilantes.

"Their names are out there, at least within the community of Leixlip, and there are concerns that they will be targeted," a source said.

"Gardai are continuing their investigation, and any act of vigilantism is strongly advised against."

Derelict

Detectives at Lucan Garda Station are continuing their inquiry into the murder of Ana, whose naked body was discovered at a derelict farmyard in Lucan last Thursday.

Investigators hope that DNA recovered from the murder scene will play a vital role, while a large amount of CCTV footage from private homes and business premises has also been reviewed.

Gardai were hopeful of making arrests in the investigation this week, but are continuing to await the full results of DNA analysis to detain people for questioning.

A suspect in the case has also submitted his DNA to detectives.

The Herald previously revealed how a 13-year-old boy had been treated as a suspect in Ana's murder. The boy had a number of injuries, which he claimed were the result of being assaulted by two men.

Earlier this week, gardai also visited Confey Community College, where Ana was a first- year student, as part of their investigation.

Her classmates were given questionnaires relevant to the investigation to fill out, which are now being reviewed by officers.

It is understood that most of the pupils in Ana's year did not see her after school on Monday, May 14, the day she was reported missing.

However, a small group of youths saw her or spent time with her in the hours after school had finished.

Gardai believe that Ana left her home in Newtown Park, Leixlip, at around 5pm.

She was last seen alive in St Catherine's Park, Lucan, a short walk away from her home.

A post-mortem, carried out by State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy, confirmed that the schoolgirl died from blunt force trauma to the head.

The examination showed she had been savagely assaulted with a blunt weapon, possibly a brick, in the farmhouse at Clonee Road, near St Catherine's Park.

The schoolgirl was then left for dead and her body was found without clothing, which was scattered nearby, at around 1pm on May 17.

Struggling

Gardai believe that the murder weapons used were at the farmhouse rather than brought to the scene.

There was also a sexual motive to the killing.

Detectives suspect that Ana was murdered shortly after she went missing.

Her worried parents had contacted gardai at 8.30pm on Monday of last week, when she had not returned to the family home, as it was out of character for her.

A vigil had been planned for Ana on Monday but it was called off as her parents attempt to deal with their grief.

"They're really struggling," said Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy, who is a close friend of the family.

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