Second week in Ana Kriégel murder trial: Gardaí tell how they found girl’s body

Former State pathologist Marie Cassidy said Ana met a ‘horrific death’

Undated handout family photo of Ana Kriégel who was found dead in a derelict farmhouse outside the village of Lucan, Co Dublin. Photograph: Family handout/PA Wire

Undated handout family photo of Ana Kriégel who was found dead in a derelict farmhouse outside the village of Lucan, Co Dublin. Photograph: Family handout/PA Wire

 

Glenwood House, the large 200-year-old farmhouse in the townland of Coldblow, Lucan is not a pleasant place.

“The house was in very poor condition. There had been several fires there over the years. The roof had collapsed in several places. The kitchen was in general disarray,” Sgt Declan Birchall this week told the trial of two boys accused of 14-year-old Ana Kriégel’s murder. Some of the rooms were in a dangerous condition, he added.

It was Sgt Birchall’s colleague, Garda Sean White, who first located Ana’s body on May 17th, 2018. That morning a specialised team had set out to continue the search for Ana, who had by that stage been missing for three nights.

He had designated an area of St Catherine’s Park and its surroundings for search that morning. Gardaí combed through hedgerows and ditches, finding nothing, before reaching the outskirts of Glenwood House. The team split up, with Sgt Birchall searching the decrepit outbuildings while Garda White went into the main house.

Garda White searched the building “as quickly as possible” before coming to a room at the front of the house which would later be designated “Room One”. The light was poor but the garda could make out a shape. He called into the room but got no response and initially thought he was looking at a mannequin.

Then he got a smell of dried blood. He took a step into the room, then, as per his training, left immediately to inform his team leader.

Sgt Birchall was still searching one of the outbuildings when he heard someone shout “find”. He went to meet Garda White who said he had found a mannequin “or something terrible”.

The sergeant entered the house and turned left into the kitchen. The roof was partially collapsed and there was a lot of debris on the floor.

He turned right, went up two steps into a corridor and turned left down a corridor. “We turned to our right and I stood in a doorway looking into Room One.”

Both windows were boarded up and the only way in was through the door. A hole in the planks of wood on the window allowed in a small amount of light.

“I saw the body of a naked female lying on the floor of the room. She was naked completely except for her socks.”

Her feet were nearest to the door and her head was closest to the front of the house. At first Sgt Birchall thought something was covering the girl’s face.

He moved closer and realised it was her hair. It was stuck to her face as if she had been “thrashing” it around.

There was a ligature around her neck, “loose cord or tape, a noose”. She had three fingers inside the ligature as if she was trying to get it off, the garda said.

Evidence

For the next few days gardaí would stream in and out of the house, collecting and bagging evidence and taking swabs from the blood-stained walls.

Ana’s clothes were scattered about the room along with her mobile phone which was broken into three pieces. Nearby was a large blood-stained concrete block and a long, heavy piece of wood, also bloodstained. These items were shown to the jury along with a length of tape over five metres long which was partially wrapped around Ana’s neck.

There was a large amount of hair stuck to the tape, along with a heart-shaped necklace.

The now retired State pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy said Ana met a “horrific death” which would have traumatised anyone who witnessed it. The professor spent more than half an hour listing the over 60 injuries found on Ana’s body. There were signs of strangulation and attempted vaginal penetration but the cause of death was “blunt force trauma” to the head and neck, she said.

The two 14-year-old boys accused of her murder were excused from the court while Prof Cassidy gave evidence.

It is the prosecution case that Boy B lured Ana from her home at 5pm on May 14th, 2018 on the pretence of meeting Boy A, who Ana was “interested” in. Boy A then allegedly violently sexually assaulted and murdered her in the derelict farmhouse as Boy B watched.

Boy A has pleaded not guilty to the murder and sexual assault “involving serious violence” of Ana Kriégel on May 14th, 2018, at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan in Dublin.

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

This week the court heard statements from Boy B that he was asked by Boy A to call for Ana on May 14th. Ana had asked Boy A out previously he said, and he wanted to tell her he wasn’t interested in her. Boy A wanted to meet in St Catherine’s Park because he didn’t want to be seen with her.

Boy B said he wasn’t very good friends with Boy A but decided to do “a turn for a mate”. He said he called for Ana and brought her to the park where she walked with Boy A. Boy B said he left the pair to give them privacy. Asked at a later stage what Ana was wearing, he said “a slutty top” as well as a black hoodie and high shoes.

Assault

Boy A told gardaí he told Ana he didn’t want to go out with her and this upset her. She left and he didn’t see her again, he said. A short time later he was assaulted by two older males in the park who pulled him to the ground and kicked him in an attack which lasted 10 minutes, he claimed.

He said the assault ended when he managed to kick one of his attackers in the head. On hearing this, the garda launched an investigation into the assault which would run alongside the investigation into Ana’s disappearance.

The jury heard investigators examined CCTV footage from around the park and its entrances but could find no one who matched the descriptions of the attackers given by the boy.

Boy B would later tell a Det Garda Marcus Roantree he believed Ana had caused the injuries to Boy A, the court heard.

The court also heard that on a separate occasion he theorised to a school counsellor that the males who attacked Boy A might have also “kidnapped” Ana.

The school counsellors had been tasked with talking to Boy A and Boy B after Ana went missing. Their only role was to support the boys as they were believed to be among the last ones to have seen her.

The court heard Boy B told his counsellor he had been “dragged into this mess” by Boy A but did not clarify what he meant by “this mess”. The counsellor did not delve further as her role wasn’t to act like an investigator, she said.

He also repeated about 10 times that he wasn’t the last one to see Ana on May 14th, the counsellor told the court.

Boy A told his counsellor he was nervous and anxious. He was in pain from the assault and having trouble sleeping. He had lost his appetite, she told the court. “He mentioned he wasn’t friends with Ana and he barely knew her.”

The trial in Court Nine of the Central Criminal Court continues on Monday. It is due to last another four weeks.