‘Bunch of scumbags’: Father of Boy B loudly condemns verdict

The Kriégels, looking exhausted, thanked members of the prosecution as they filed out of court

The news that the jury had reached a verdict came just a few minutes after 2pm. File photograph: Collins Courts

The news that the jury had reached a verdict came just a few minutes after 2pm. File photograph: Collins Courts

 

There was a tense, fraught atmosphere in court nine in the Criminal Courts of Justice in the wake of the jury’s decision that both Boy A and Boy B were guilty of the murder of 14-year-old Ana Kriégel.

Members of the Kriégel family, on benches to the right of the court, held hands, hugged and cried.

The father of Boy B, obviously agitated, spoke loudly on the other side of the room. “Bunch of scumbags here,” he shouted, after Mr Justice Paul McDermott had left, having ruled that the 14-year-old boys be remanded in custody to Oberstown detention centre, to be returned to court on July 15th next.

Boy B was standing, hugging his mother who was hugging him in return. The father, clearly agitated, was standing behind his son. He leaned in and embraced them both.

“Innocent kid in f***ing prison,” he said loudly. “Are you proud of your victory?”

As they had for all of the trial, the families of the two boys were sitting separately, the family of Boy A at the back of the courtroom, on a bench against the wall, on the opposite side of the room to the Kriégels.

Boy B, sitting between his mother and father, occupied the last of the row of benches behind where the barristers were sitting, separated by an aisle from the family of Boy A.

As the father of Boy B made his presence the centre of attention, the mother and father of a red-eyed Boy A sat on their bench, holding their son. The mother cried freely. When they left the courtroom the father went first, holding his son’s hand, while the boy’s crying mother walked after them.

They went to the consultation room adjacent to the court that they had been using during the trial.

Meanwhile the family of Boy B was led out a door to the side of the court, towards the cells, with the still agitated father doing a loud, slow handclap.

Victim’s parents

The Kriégels, looking exhausted and emotional, filed out of the court and down the landing to a door to where they could have some privacy. On the way out of the courtroom they thanked members of the prosecution legal team, and the plain clothes members of An Garda Síochána who gathered protectively around them.

The news that the jury had reached a verdict came just a few minutes after 2pm. The jury had returned from lunch at 1.45pm and resumed their deliberations, having at that stage discussed the evidence for slightly more than 14 hours, beginning last Wednesday.

As is the way in these cases, the courtroom slowly filled, the journalists quickly taking their seats, then the barristers and solicitors coming in, followed by gardaí, the Kriégels, and, finally, the two boys and their families.

Patric Kriégel, who had told the court in evidence that when he had last seen his adopted daughter on the afternoon of May 14th, 2018, she had given him a broad smile and said: “I won’t be long”, placed a protective hand on his wife’s left knee when she came to sit beside him on the bench.

Geraldine Kriégel, who had told the court about her daughter’s bad hearing and poor eyesight, and about her being bullied at secondary school, had spent two days searching for her daughter after she’d gone missing, and eventually had to identify her body at the city morgue. Now she sat beside her husband and clutched his hand in hers.

Boy B, who had pleaded not guilty to Ana’s murder, but whom the prosecution had said had watched her being sexually assaulted and killed, clutched his mother’s arm.

Boy A, who had pleaded not guilty to Ana’s murder and to sexually assaulting her, sat with his mother. She clutched his left hand while his father held tightly onto his right.

The minutes passed. While the word had gone out just after 2pm that a verdict was coming, it was 2.10pm by the time everyone had gathered and the jury was called. They had, they told the court registrar, reached verdicts on which they were all agreed.

Both boys were guilty of murder, and Boy A was also guilty of sexual assault.

Boy A’s mother sobbed while he, miserable-looking, rested his head on his father’s shoulder.

Over on the Kriégel benches, a man and woman sitting beside Ana’s parents hugged each other and sobbed.

While the judge began to thank the jury for their service, the father of Boy B started to comment loudly. At one stage he marched loudly from the room, only to return shortly afterwards.

Psychiatric reports

Brendan Grehan SC, for the prosecution, was discussing what should happen next with the boys. Under the Children’s Act, there was a requirement that probation reports would be prepared before the judge would pass sentence. (Mandatory life sentences do not apply in the case of children found guilty of murder.)

There would be a need to have psychiatric reports drawn up, and there were only a limited number of specialists available who could do such a task. Places were available in the Oberstown detention centre. There was no talk of bail.

The law said the probation reports should be prepared within 28 days, and while this was to be desired it was not an absolute requirement.

Mr Justice McDermott said he would like to see matters progress in the shortest timeframe necessary. It was agreed that the two boys would be remanded to Oberstown until July 15th, and would be taken there by members of An Garda Síochána.

The judge wondered whether reports from the boys’ school might be an idea. It was, he remarked, “a very difficult case”.

The parents were invited to give evidence on behalf of their children, if they so wished.

In his last few words to the court, the judge advised the jury to continue to abide by his request that they not discuss the case with others.

The anonymity of the two boys was to be maintained, despite they’re now being convicted. And lastly, he said, looking in their direction, he wanted to express his condolences to the bereaved family.