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Ana Kriegel's wish was to have friends. Instead, the teenager was shunned, bullied and murdered

Ana was described by a former teacher as being extremely vulnerable.

Ana. Source: Family Photo

SHORTLY BEFORE ANA Kriegel started secondary school, her mother Geraldine received a call from a resource teacher at her child’s primary school.

It wasn’t a routine, end-of-year conversation. This was a purposeful phone call from a professional about her sincere concerns about the well-being of her pupil. 

For a number of years, Ana had been receiving extra help from the resource teacher due to her struggles in some classes. In this time, her teacher knew not just of her academic vulnerabilities, but also her social ones. 

In the weeks leading to that phone call, Geraldine Kriegel allowed herself to hope that the new school would allow Ana to make friends with people in the local community. That optimism was dampened by the words of the resource teacher.

“She said she was terrified for Ana and that she felt as though she was so vulnerable and innocent that many children might make a mockery out of her and tease her,” Geraldine said as she recalled the conversation to the court at the start of Ana’s murder trial. 

In the months after starting school, their worst fears had played out despite Geraldine’s immediate actions. Ana did not make friends, and was isolated from her peers. 

She self-harmed on one occasion. She received counselling and discussed suicidal thoughts. 

Despite the well-founded fears, what happened to her daughter in May 2018 was incomprehensible.  

During her testimony, Geraldine described how Ana always searched out for friends, telling the court she was a kind, yet vulnerable girl.

Ana loved to sing and dance, she said, and would regularly be found listening to music in the family’s front room. The happy picture though was disrupted by the changes in Ana’s life when she left primary school. Eight months later, she left her house with a boy and never returned. 

She was just 14 years old when she was brutally beaten to death and sexually assaulted in an abandoned farmhouse a short walk away from her home. 

Her body lay there among dirt and grime for four days, tossed among broken beer bottles, condom wrappers and the remnants of fires which had been started inside by those who used the premises as a place to stay.  

The jury in her murder trial heard all about her killers – Boy A and Boy B: what they were like in school; how they are well-mannered, seemingly normal middle-class boys; what their interests and hobbies were; and how their families were placed in society.  

As is the case in many high-profile cases, the victims can get lost, easily forgotten in the drama that the proceedings in the courtroom offers. As the details of her final moments were laid bare to the jury of eight men and four women over the past seven weeks, Ana’s family sat in the corner of the room, enduring an indescribable pain. 

But they remained. Every day, through the testimony of every witness, they were there for their daughter.

Geraldine and Patric Kriegel adopted Ana from Russia when she was two years old. Her eyesight wasn’t perfect, and she also had trouble hearing because of complications from having a tumour removed from her ear. By 14, she had grown to be 5ft 9in tall. 

Ana dearly wished to find someone she could call a best friend but had, in her short life, not succeeded in that aim yet. Her peers either shunned or made fun of her. 

6356 Anastasia Kriegel_90572984 Geraldine and Patric Kriegel. Source: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

She was treated differently because she was perceived by others to be different. Her shunning wasn’t a secret. It was done in the open. So when Geraldine arrived home on Monday 14 May, she was concerned to hear that a boy had called for daughter and that she had walked off for him. 

“Nobody called for Ana,” she told the jury, at times becoming emotional in the witness box. 

Bullied and assaulted

Ana had been the target of abuse by teens in the locality previously. On one occasion at Halloween 2017, Ana was supervising an event and was assaulted by young boys as she made her way home. 

Her mother described how Ana came home that day “hysterical, banging on the front door”.

Geraldine said she was approached by four boys who were older than her and that one of them said, “You’re going to have sex with me, Ana”, and she said, “No”, and as she crossed the road, he hit her on her backside.

This incident, Geraldine Kriegel said, was reported to gardaí and dealt with by way of a caution.

Throughout these trying periods, Ana remained true to herself and character. She used social media frequently, setting up her own channels on YouTube, as well as accounts on Facebook and other social media platforms. 

These platforms were seen by Ana as an alternative means to potentially draw in friends, but again she was bullied on them, even receiving death threats from nameless trolls.

Geraldine Kriegel said that Ana was being sent “sexually explicit” innuendo, something the mother said was “frightening” to read. After reading these messages, Ana had to give her parents all the passwords to her accounts. In one instance, she was sent a comment left by someone who said they would “have her executed”.

Boy B reveals Ana was treated like an “outcast” 

In his interviews with gardaí, Boy B painted a picture of Ana as someone who was not liked because, as Boy B said, “she was different” and a “weirdo”. 

As the interviews progressed, it became clearer that Ana was seen by teenagers around her as someone who was disposable, someone without any friends and a person who could be abused for the pleasure of others. 

In the footage broadcast in court, Boy B was asked by gardaí to tell them about Ana. He creates a narrative around her difference, noting she was much more mature than other girls. He said she was much taller and had developed more quickly than other girls. 

“She was kind of out-casted…,” he added. 

Boy B told gardaí that a lot of people knew Ana but that she wasn’t very popular. He said he would often see her walking by herself and that she’d have her headphones in. 

“I’d consider her to be a lonely, sad person because, like, she’s been through depression quite a bit.”

“Lots of people know a lot about her,” he told gardaí. He added that she was a “goth” and that she “dressed in all black and usually would be in slutty clothes, like really short t-shirts or really tight trousers or really short shorts. All in all, she’s just different.”

BODY FOUND LUCAN _3707_90545162 (2) Gardai at the scene outside a deserted building in Lucan, where the body of Ana Kriegel was discovered. Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

Boy B was asked by gardaí what he meant when he said Ana was more mature than other girls. His answer was how her breasts and hips had developed before other girls. He said she was not liked because she was “different”.

“She’s weird,” he added. “She’d be by herself most of the time, anti-social, she’d dress in all black and she dyed her hair. She’d always sit alone somewhere, she wouldn’t really hang out with anyone. If you asked her to hang out, she’d probably say no.” 

Asked by gardaí to elaborate on what he meant by saying that Ana dressed in a “slutty” way, Boy B said she wore clothes “that made her breasts stand out and her hips stand out”.

It just looked like she wanted people to look at her by the clothes she was wearing.”

Gardaí could then be heard asking Boy B what he thought of Ana.

He said: “I thought of her as a weirdo, somebody who I should not be around.”

He even said those in Ana’s presence would lose social currency. It was for this reason, Boy B explained that people avoided her.

It was this that made 14 May 2018 so unusual. Ana was in the company of two boys from her area, and it is why gardaí did not believe she was with them to talk about ‘relationship’ issues. 

The prosecution in the case told how Ana was lured out of her house by Boy B so that Boy A could carry out his plan to kill her. 

Her innocence was taken and she suffered what a number of experts have described as a horrifyingly brutal death.

The Kriegel family held strong during the proceedings, her mother constantly taking notes during examination, cross-examination and legal argument.

Defence counsel Patrick Gageby remarked in his closing statement to the jury that the Kriegel family had held themselves with “enormous grace” throughout the proceedings. 

Ana craved companionship, but she never found it. It is a cruel twist that her family now live in the knowledge that she was killed by boys who she simply wanted to be friends with. Her killers were her own age, her own people. They are now two of the State’s youngest murderers.

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