Ana Kriegel trial: Two 14-year-old boys found guilty of murdering schoolgirl

Jury returns guilty verdicts on all three charges after 14½ hours of deliberation

Video: The parents of Ana Kriégel spoke briefly after two 14-year-old boys were found guilty of her murder

 

Two 14-year-old boys have been found guilty of the murder of Ana Kriégel last year, becoming the youngest people in the history of the State to be convicted of murder.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on Tuesday afternoon following 14½ hours of deliberation against both accused, who were known throughout the trial as Boy A and Boy B due to their age.

Boy A was convicted of the murder and violent sexual assault of the 14-year-old girl. Boy B was convicted of murder.

Both accused were remanded in custody in Oberstown children’s detention centre until July 15th – the date of the sentencing hearing – while probation reports are prepared, as required under the Children Act 2001.

When the verdicts were read out, Boy A appeared upset, while Boy B sat with his head bowed. Boy B’s father shouted and was asked to leave the courtroom.

He returned a short time later and embraced his son before clapping sarcastically to the rest of the court. He also directed expletives at the investigating gardaí.

Both boys’ families cried and hugged the teens before they were led away.

Ana Kriégel’s parents, who attended every moment of the trial wept and embraced their supporters before thanking the prosecution team and the gardaí.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott thanked the jury for its service and excused members from further service for life.

“This has been a very difficult trial,” he said. “I can’t offer you anything apart from, of course, sincere gratitude.”

He told jurors they were free to go and “get on with their lives”. He reminded them that restrictions on them discussing the case or revealing the boys’ identities continued. The restrictions on naming the boys also continued for everyone else, he said.

As well as ordering probation reports for the two boys, Mr Justice Paul McDermott ordered psychiatric and school reports be prepared for the sentencing date.

Brendan Grehan SC told the court places were available in Oberstown and that gardaí would be required to transport them there. Two Garda vans arrived a short time later to take the boys away.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott thanked the jury for its service and excused members from further service for life.

Derelict Glenwood House in Lucan, where the body of 14-year-old Ana Kriégel was found last year. Photograph: Tom Honan
Derelict Glenwood House in Lucan, where the body of 14-year-old Ana Kriégel was found last year. Photograph: Tom Honan

Not-guilty pleas

The prosecution had alleged Boy B lured Ana from her home at 5pm on May 14th, 2018, on the pretence of meeting Boy A, whom Ana was “interested” in.

Boy A then violently sexually assaulted and murdered her in the derelict farmhouse as Boy B watched.

Boy A had pleaded not guilty to the murder and sexual assault “involving serious violence” at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan, in Dublin.

Boy B had pleaded not guilty to the murder of the girl on the same date.

The majority of the evidence against Boy A was based on forensic findings linking him to the scene. Ana’s blood was found on his boots, and his semen was found on her top. A boot print similar to the boots worn by him was also found on her top.

Ana’s blood was found on a home-made “zombie” mask, gloves and knee pads found in a backpack in Boy A’s room.

Boy A was spotted on CCTV footage walking alone in St Catherine’s Park in the direction of Glenwood House shortly before Ana was murdered there.

He was later observed by a witness walking back through the park with blood on his top. When he arrived home, he told his father he had been beaten up by two men in the park but had managed to fight them off.

His father brought the boy back to the park and drove him around the local area to see if he could identify his attackers.

Gardaí were alerted, and the boy would later spend 3½ hours in Garda Headquarters compiling a photo-fit of the men he said attacked him. He was also treated for several injuries by his GP.

No witnesses

Gardaí did not find any witnesses who saw men matching the description. Nor was anyone matching the descriptions observed on CCTV cameras in the area.

On May 15th, the day after Ana was first reported missing, gardaí called to Boy A’s house after being told by Boy B they had been in the park with her.

He told gardaí he met Ana and Boy B, whom he described as one of his best friends, in St Catherine’s Park. He said Ana asked him out but he told her he wasn’t interested. He said he tried to let her down gently but she became upset and stormed off.

He told gardaí he then walked off in another direction and was then assaulted by the two men.

Gardaí had Boy A and Boy B walk the same route in the park they said they had walked with Ana the day before. Sgt John Dunne said at one point he saw the two boys exchange a “look” in the park.

Boy A was first arrested on May 24th, 2018, a week after Ana’s body was found in the abandoned house. He was interviewed in the company of his father and solicitor.

Gardaí put to Boy A that Ana’s blood was found on his boots. The boy responded “Are you joking me?” and “Are you actually being serious?” He denied having been with Ana at the time she was first reported missing.

At one stage gardaí read him a portion of Boy B’s interview in which he said Boy A was in the abandoned house with Ana and that he heard a scream.

Asked if he wanted to make any additional statements, Boy A responded: “[Boy B] is lying. That is all.”

He was charged the following day.

In his address to the jury, Boy A’s counsel Patrick Gageby SC said there was no evidence his client intended to kill Ana. He also suggested some of the DNA evidence from her body could have resulted from “casual intimacy”.

Counsel said the pathology evidence did not definitively prove injuries to the vagina resulted from non-consensual activity.

The jury might decide Boy A was present when the injuries were inflicted on Ana, counsel said. “But is there any real evidence that he planned any of this?” he had asked.

A map showing the route the prosecution says was taken by Boy B and Ana as they walked towards Glenwood House before her murder.
A map showing the route the prosecution says was taken by Boy B and Ana as they walked towards Glenwood House before her murder.

Boy B’s interviews

The case against Boy B stemmed almost entirely from the eight interviews he gave to gardaí, which lasted a total of 16 hours. Over the course of the interviews Boy B changed his account several times.

He initially said Boy A had pleaded with him to call for Ana on his behalf so they could discuss “relationship issues”.

He called for Ana and brought her to the park, where he said he “handed her over” to Boy A. He said he walked with them for a while before leaving and walking home.

By the end of his first period of arrest on May 25th, the boy had conceded he went to the abandoned house with Ana and Boy A, and that as he made his way home alone, he heard Ana scream.

He was rearrested on July 7th after new evidence emerged. During the following three interviews, he made more admissions. He told gardaí he had witnessed Boy A attack Ana in the house.

Boy A “flipped” Ana to the ground before starting to choke and strip her, he told gardaí.

Asked what Boy A was doing to her, Boy B said he was “raping” her.

He first said Boy A had a “blank look” on his face during the attack. He then said he was wearing a home-made “zombie” mask. This mask was later found in Boy A’s bedroom with Ana’s blood on it.

Boy B said he fled the scene after witnessing Boy A remove her top. He ran home, where he tried to forget about what happened, he said.

Det Donal Daly told the boy: “You lie to everybody. Lie, lie, lie. You’re in a corner and you try to wiggle out of it by telling a story to suit. Do you see how this looks for you?”

Boy B said he did. Det Daly put it to him that he let “a charade” play out in the days after Ana went missing as people searched for her while he knew she was in the abandoned house.

“I didn’t know he would murder her,” Boy B said. “I kept thinking to myself, this isn’t real, this isn’t happening. I kept thinking Boy A wouldn’t do this. It’s not like him.”

Suggestion to ‘kill’

He also told gardaí Boy A had suggested a month previously that they kill someone. He said when he asked who, Boy A replied “Ana Kriégel”. Boy B told gardaí he assumed his friend was joking.

Boy B’s defence counsel, Damian Colgan SC, said his client was scared of Boy A, who was bigger and stronger than him and knew martial arts. He said Boy B had been “set up” by his friend.

Counsel said there was no way Boy B would be stupid enough to call for Ana and walk her through a park full of CCTV cameras if he knew the plan was to murder her.

Boy B lied to gardaí, counsel conceded, but he did so because he was traumatised by what he saw in Glenwood House.

Mr Colgan had told the jury they should find Boy B not guilty if they believed he had no knowledge of a plan to kill Ana.

The prosecution contended Boy B lied for no other reason than to cover up his guilt.