Two teenagers have been jailed by a judge for the “callous and brutal” murder of Ana Kriégel. The boys are the youngest people in the history of the State to be convicted of murder.
The teen known as Boy A, who was convicted of murder and aggravated sexual assault, was sentenced to life with a review after 12 years for murdering the 14-year-old. He was also sentenced to 12 years for an aggravated sexual assault on Ana, which will run alongside the murder sentence.
His co-accused, known as Boy B, was sentenced to 15 years for murder with a review after eight years.
They were 13 when they murdered Ana at Glenwood House at Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan on May 14th, 2018. They were convicted by unanimous jury verdicts in June following a seven-week trial.
At the Central Criminal Court on Tueday Mr Justice Paul McDermott told the boys they would have to serve long periods of detention but would one day have the opportunity to return to their families and communities "when you are still relatively young men".
“When that will be is not yet determined but much is based on you behaviour and attitude during your detention,” he said.
Addressing Boy A, the judge said he took Ana’s life and subjected her to a terrifying assault. He told Boy B he “actively and knowingly” took part in her killing.
“You will have to carry the guilt and shame of your involvement for the rest of your lives,” he said.
“Her family will have to bear their grief for the rest of their lives. At least you will have the opportunity to reconstruct yours in a positive way.
“Will you take it? You have the opportunity for a future and second chance, something you so wrongfully and cruelly denied to Ana.”
Mr Justice McDermott said Ana’s life was of “supreme importance” and her family will suffer her loss for the rest of their days. He said she was a healthy young girl who had her whole life before her and had lived “with energy, fun, imagination, love, dancing and music”.
He said her short life should not be defined by the boys’ crimes.
The judge said there is little guidance for the sentencing of children for murder because “thankfully” so few cases have come before the courts.
During a lengthy judgment laying out the relevant law, Mr Justice McDermott noted that he could impose a life term but that it was not mandatory in the case of minors. He also noted that he does not have the power to impose a partly suspended sentence.
He said the age of a youth offender provides a substantial degree of mitigation, even in the most serious of cases. The boys, who are now 15, will remain in Oberstown Child Detention Campus until they turn 18, after which they will go to an adult prison to serve the balance of their sentence.
The court previously heard that Boy A now accepts he caused Ana’s death but says it was unintentional. He continues to deny sexually assaulting her and claims they had a consensual sexual encounter, something the judge noted was not supported by the evidence.
Boy B does not accept the unanimous jury verdict that found him guilty of murder but says he regrets not stepping in to stop Boy A’s attack on Ana.
It was the State’s case that Boy B lured Ana to an abandoned farmhouse near her home where she was attacked and sexually assaulted by Boy A, who was laying in wait. The court heard investigators have still not established a motive for the murder.
Aggravating factors in respect of both boys, Mr Justice McDermott said, were the planning of the attack and the fact that Boy A was waiting at the house for Ana with his backpack that included a zombie mask, gloves, knee pads, shin guards and a snood.
He said the boys had exploited Ana’s interest in Boy A, as they knew she would go with Boy B if she believed Boy A was interested in her.
Cries for help
He said the attack was “prolonged, callous and brutal” and the boys knew no-one would come to Ana’s aid and nobody would hear her cries for help.
The judge cited the “mental terror and physical suffering” which he said was of a “very high degree”. He said that following her murder, Boy A had invented a story about being attacked by two men and persisted with that story to his parents, a park ranger and gardaí.
He even went to Garda heaquarters where he helped to make a photo-fit of the attackers he had invented. He continued to lie during his garda interviews and showed no remorse in the days that followed, Mr Justice McDermott said.
In relation to Boy B, Mr Justice McDermott said his family were hard-working, law-abiding people who emphasised the importance of education for their son, who is of above average academic ability. He said the boy did not accept the jury’s verdict that he was guilty of murdering Ana and had said he did not bring Ana to the house knowing that she would be killed.
While Boy B showed “a degree of empathy and understanding”, the judge said it was not clear that he was able to fully process the implications of the offence.
When considering aggravating factors, he said there was evidence that Boy A had told Boy B one month previously that he intended to kill Ana and that at the house, Boy B watched as Ana’s clothing was removed and she was sexually assaulted.
Mr Justice McDermott also pointed to the negative view Boy B had of Ana, calling her a “weirdo” among other things during garda interviews.
The judge said a jury was satisfied that Boy B was involved in the planning of Ana’s murder, which involved bringing her to an isolated location where the crime could be carried out. He said Boy B had tricked Ana into believing that Boy A was interested in her and he knew she trusted what he was saying.