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Friday 22 June 2018

'She came from Russia, with love' - tears at funeral of tragic Ana

The coffin of teenage murder victim Ana Kriegel is taken to her funeral at Newlands Cross Crematorium
The coffin of teenage murder victim Ana Kriegel is taken to her funeral at Newlands Cross Crematorium

"Numbed, confused, very angry and bewildered" - these were the words heard by mourners who arrived in their hundreds to pay their respects to murder victim Ana Kriegel.

Those in attendance at Newlands Cross Crematorium yesterday wore bright colours - as Ana would have wanted.

Members of her Dance LA group, all wearing red bandanas, provided a guard of honour for Ana, who was described as a "Siberian warrior".

Ana (14), who was adopted from Russia by parents Geraldine and Patrick, "was taken from us," according to celebrant Padraic Cawley.

Princess

Ana Kriegel
Ana Kriegel

"From Russia With Love is a title of a James Bond movie I'm sure we'll all be familiar with," Mr Cawley said.

"Ana came from Russia, with love. None of us want to be here this afternoon. None of us want to say goodbye to Ana for the last time.

"We are all numbed, confused, very angry and bewildered that such a thing has happened to the most beautiful, caring, kind, strong-willed, crazy, sometimes cheeky, but always a loving princess, that was Anastasia Kriegel.

"This beautiful young girl has been taken from us, yet there's something that can never be taken away, however long or short a life has been.

"And that is the experience of giving and receiving love."

He said the period when Ana was missing was "every parent's worst nightmare".

"The not knowing, the wondering, the anguish, the feeling of helplessness, the despair for three days, which I'm sure felt like an eternity," he said.

"And it's those unimaginable events that have brought us here this afternoon."

Among the gifts placed by cousins on top of Ana's coffin was a Russian flag, to represent her heritage, and headphones. A memory box from her classmates at Confey College was also presented, along with her dance uniform.

In attendance at the ceremony was Russia's Ambassador to Ireland, Yury Filatov, while a number of people close to Ana and her family spoke about the teenager's life.

Her aunt Jan spoke at length about her niece's love of swimming, dancing, make-up and clothes. She sang around the house regularly, Jan said, and her hair colours were another major part of her life.

"Ana was adopted from Russia by Geraldine and Patrick on August 10, 2006, the beginning of their beautiful family, which now includes [her brother] Aaron," she said.

"It became very clear early on to Geraldine and Patrick that Ana was full of fun, mischief and loved to play. Ana's individuality and identity was very important to her. It was embraced by her family, who were proud of her to own it. Ana, we love and cherish you."

Many people from Ana's life lined up to talk about a girl they had taken to their hearts. Local TD Catherine Murphy - a close family friend from before Ana arrived in Ireland - talked about holidays they all took to France, where Ana's father, Patrick, is from.

The family would regularly go to a city called Annecy.

Happiest

"Some of her happiest days were spent on holiday in Annecy," Ms Murphy said.

"Ana was very much looking forward to spending this summer there, with her mam and dad and her brother Aaron. But so sadly this is not to be."

Her former teacher at Scoil San Carlo primary school, Claire McHugh, described how Ana was not just beautiful on the outside but also on the inside.

She said that despite Ana moving on to secondary school, she would still keep in touch with her old teachers.

"On a number of occasions since last September, Ana dropped back in to say hello to us, to have a chat and to let us know how she was getting on at Confey College," she said.

"Geraldine and Patrick, you were raising a wonderful girl, a daughter to be proud of.

"Often when our pupils move on, especially when they're in that group that's just left, we recall them in the staff room.

"She was always very much in our thoughts."

As the ceremony concluded, a poem - pre-recorded by her parents, because they did not feel capable of reading it there and then - was played.

Called Love Never Disappears, it was read by Geraldine in English and Patrick in French.

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