‘I used to think she looked like a model as she strode up to school’

Those who knew Ana Kriegel paint a picture of a beautiful, lively and much-loved girl

Ana Kriegel. Photograph: RIP.ie

Ana Kriegel. Photograph: RIP.ie

 

With her first year in secondary school almost completed and just two weeks of lessons to be completed before the long summer holidays stretched out before her, Ana Kriegel seemed to have the world at her feet.

A tall, striking-looking girl, the 14-year-old loved dancing and swimming and, by all accounts, was talented at both.

She had been adopted from Russia as a two-year-old by her Dublin-based Irish mother Geraldine and French father Patric.

That exotic background, and her elegant gait, made her stand out in a crowd.

“I used to think she looked like a model as she strode up to school,” was how one local woman put it when asked about Ana, christened Anastasia.

“She would easily pass for a young woman; tall, slim, elegant. She was always experimenting with clothes and make-up.”

When people who knew her try to describe her, they paint a picture of a beautiful, lively and much-loved young girl.

But her death was a world away from her life. Her beaten and bloodied body lay undiscovered for three days in a derelict farmhouse just outside Lucan off the road to Clonee.

She was unclothed and gardaí believe she was killed in the spot where her remains were found.

Ana Kriegel murder timeline

Private

People who knew her, or knew of her, said her parents are intensely private people who had been brought to their knees with grief.

“They’re getting through an hour and then the next one,” as one friend put it.

What gardaí know is that Ana left her home on Newtown Park, Leixlip, at about 5pm last Monday. She was going to St Catherine’s Park to hang out with friends.

Gardaí have traced two boys who were with her in the park. They said they spent a short time in her company before they went home for their tea. What happened next to Ana is now the subject of a murder injury.

Her parents became deeply concerned within an hour when she failed to return texts and they went to the Garda. She was officially classed as a missing person by gardaí at Leixlip station and a search got under way the following day.

Local people turned out in numbers to help, but nothing was found until lunchtime on Thursday.

She was found in the farmhouse – beside a hay barn in a farmyard – less than 1km from St Catherine’s Park. It was a brutally violent end, in squalid conditions, to a life that seemed already to have so much potential.

One family friend said Ana and her younger brother were “so, so deeply loved” by their parents.

The same person, who did not want to be named, wondered aloud what would become of the family now their Ana had been taken away so young.

“She was the type of child who’d be sending them (her parents) texts telling them she was walking to the bus stop, then another to confirm she was on the bus and others with updates on what the bus was now; that’s the level of vigilance and interaction we are talking about,” said the friend.

Stylish

Another said she was a stylish girl for whom swimming and dancing – at the Dance LA troupe in Lucan – were her “joy and her outlet”.

“She was actually a very good swimmer; a very athletic girl,” said another local person who knew her.

Others described her as “quirky or off-beat” with a love for animals; dogs being her favourite.

They also regarded her as a sensitive and thoughtful child; a girl who could appear slightly vulnerable and depressed despite seeming older and more elegant than her years.

But those who knew her said she had been in particularly good form of late. She had enjoyed first year in secondary school – Confey Community College in Leixlip.

That enjoyment was clear, students said, in her messages when she ran a video blog during a recent sports day.

But now she is gone; her life snuffed out in a killing gardaí suspect was sexually motivated.