Gardaí expect to make arrests over online photos of Kriégel’s murderers

Images of Boy A and B shared on social media, despite anonymity order

Ana Kriégel: Gardaí have stepped up patrols around the family homes of the two boys convicted of her murder, amid worries they may be targeted by vigilantes. Photograph: RTÉ News

Ana Kriégel: Gardaí have stepped up patrols around the family homes of the two boys convicted of her murder, amid worries they may be targeted by vigilantes. Photograph: RTÉ News

 

Gardaí hope to arrest a number of people in the coming days suspected of publicly identifying the two teenagers convicted of murdering Ana Kriégel.

Lucan gardaí and detectives, including some who worked on the investigation into Ana’s murder last year, are leading the inquiry in the sharing of photographs purporting to show the 14-year-old boys who were convicted on Tuesday.

The photographs have been widely shared on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter in recent days, despite a court order being in place preventing the 14-year-old boys being named and a provision under the Children Act that prohibits the identification of minors accused or convicted of a criminal offence.

Sources say the plan is to make a small number of arrests which will then be publicised to discourage others sharing details of the boys.

It is understood at least two people who shared the photographs on Facebook and Twitter have been positively identified by gardaí including one man who repeatedly posted the photos in the comments section of Facebook posts.

Lucan gardaí are being assisted by officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) and the Garda National Cyber Crime Unit.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) took a similar approach to the online sharing of the identity of the complainant in the Belfast trial of two Irish rugby players for rape last year.

In November 2018, Sean McFarland (36) pleaded guilty to publishing the woman’s name in breach of her right to lifelong anonymity. He was fined £300 (€336).

Gardaí have stepped up patrols around the family homes of the two boys, known as Boy A and Boy B, amid worries they may be targeted by vigilantes.

The family home of Boy A has been damaged at least once since his arrest for Ana’s murder in May 2018. No arrests have been made.

On Thursday the Central Criminal Court heard the family of Boy B has gone into hiding amid fears for their safety.

The court also heard an innocent teenage boy has been wrongly identified on social media as being one of Ana’s killers while a member of staff at the convicted boys’ school has been targeted with abusive messages.

Court

Representatives of Facebook and Twitter were summoned to the court to answer accusations of contempt of court on Thursday for facilitating the posting. The company submitted they could not prevent people posting the boys’ identities but promised to take immediate action once such posts were brought to their attention.

Mr Justice Michael White ordered the companies to remove any material identifying the boys and adjourned the matter to July 5th. He also urged gardaí to “pursue with vigour” anyone identifying the boys.

Anyone convicted of sharing the boys’ identities faces up to three years in prison and a €10,000 fine. They also face unlimited terms of imprisonment if found in contempt of court.

Boy A and Boy B were found guilty by a jury of murdering the 14-year-old girl in Lucan last year on May 14th, 2018. Boy A was also found guilty of the aggravated sexual assault of Ana on the same date. They had denied all charges.

They were remanded in custody in Oberstown children’s detention centre pending sentencing on July 15th.