Belfast Telegraph

Murdered Ana’s parents pay tribute after tense scenes in court as teens are convicted

Ana Kriegel
Ana Kriegel
Patric and Geraldine Kriegel, parents of murdered Ana, outside court yesterday

By Eimear Cotter and Conor Feehan

The parents of Irish schoolgirl Ana Kriegel have paid a moving tribute to their daughter outside the Dublin court where two boys were found guilty of her murder yesterday.

An emotional Patric Kriegel simply 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 shortly after two teenagers were found guilty at the Central Criminal Court of murder.

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

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.

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

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

There was heavy emotion in the courtroom as the verdicts were returned.

Boy A's family were first back into the court when it was heard that a verdict had been reached.

Sitting at the back of the court with his mother to his left and his father to his right, his mother took a tissue from a packet and pushed it delicately into her son's shirt pocket.

As they came back into the court Boy B sat between his parents. His mother sat to his right, and his father to his left. Boy B linked his mother's arm.

Both boys held their parents' hands as they waited.

The jury foreman's hand shook as she handed over papers to the court clerk, before saying they had found both boys guilty on all the charges facing them.

Boy A's mother cried freely, with a tissue to her face, as the guilty verdicts for her son were announced.

They all then embraced each other before Boy A left with his father, mother and legal team.

When the verdict of murder was read out for Boy B, he momentarily let go of his parents and brought his hands up to his mouth with a look of disbelief on his face.

His father looked into the middle distance and said quietly 'guilty' as if to question it.

Then Boy B's father held his son's hand to his mouth and kissed it.

Moments later he grew angry and started muttering and abruptly left the court for five minutes, coming back then and holding his son's hands.

When the judge had finished he began to verbally abuse the gardai. "You bunch of scumbags, you f*****g p****s. Innocent boy," he was heard to say.

As Boy B was led to the holding cell his father clapped four times, loudly and slowly.

The Kriegel family sat quiet and composed. Geraldine Kriegel, who had her eyes closed prior to the verdict, cried quietly, as did Patric.

The Kriegels looked up at the jury as they filed out, nodding in acknowledgment to them.

Then the Kriegels huddled with their friends, crying with dignity and relief.

They hugged gardai as they left the court. They were then led to an upstairs room by victim support services.

Prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC said that places were available for the two boys at Oberstown Detention Centre.

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

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

The judge said that the boys' parents might also wish to give evidence prior to sentencing.

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.

Judge McDermott reiterated that the boys cannot be named and are entitled to anonymity, because they are children.

Ana Kriegel's naked body was found with a ligature around her neck in a derelict house in Lucan, Co Dublin, days after she went missing on May 14, 2018.

Former state pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy identified around 50 areas of injury on the schoolgirl's head and body, and concluded that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Ms Cassidy also said that there was evidence of a serious sexual assault.

The jury were asked to consider a raft of evidence in the case, including more than 15 hours of police interviews, statements from juvenile witnesses, CCTV tapes, and a number of items and clothing.

Semen staining on a top found at the scene where Ana's body was discovered contained the DNA of Boy A.

Marce Lee Gorman, of Forensic Science Ireland, examined the black top, which she said was torn and badly damaged, with parts of the fabric pulled and stretched.

She also examined Ana's bra and found that the fabric between the cups had been torn apart and that the hooks on the bra clasp were stretched and bent, "possibly by pulling".

Bloodstains were also found on the front of the left cup, right strap and close to one of the hooks.

These all matched Ana's blood.

The witness also examined Ana's black leggings and pants and found bloodstains on the crotch area of her leggings.

Blood expert and DNA specialist John Hoade testified that the blood evidence showed Boy A either assaulted Ana or was in very close proximity when she was assaulted.

The black boots that Boy A was wearing on the day Ana disappeared were examined and found to have bloodstains on nine separate areas.

The blood stains all matched Ana's DNA profile.

Ana's father told the court that her primary school years had been "very happy years" but that she was then bullied in secondary school in the months before she died.

Irish Independent

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