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Ana Kriegel was cyberbullied and assaulted in the months leading up to her death, court hears

The trial officially opened today.

Updated Apr 30th 2019, 5:08 PM

THE MOTHER OF Ana Kriegel has described how her daughter was roundly bullied at school, subjected to an assault by boys and received an online death threat in the months leading up to the 14-year-old’s death. 

Giving evidence at the Circuit Criminal Court, Geraldine Kriegel described how Ana was routinely made fun of because she was adopted and had a number of problems with hearing and with her eyesight. 

Two boys have pleaded not guilty to Ana’s murder. Boy A has also been charged with aggravated sexual assault – a charge he also denies.

The jury heard how Ana’s family had searched for her in the hours after her disappearance before going to the local garda station. The mother said she had texted her a number of times asking for her to come home and to tell her where she was. She received no response. 

Geraldine Kriegel described how her daughter used to love singing and dancing and that she would be regularly listening to music in the family’s front room. 

But she added that Ana’s life in school began becoming more difficult as she prepared to leave primary school and enter secondary school. Ana had also self-harmed on one occasion and was receiving counselling at the time of her death.

Geraldine said she hoped that the new school would allow Ana to make friends with people in the local community but a resource teacher in her primary school rang Ana’s mother to voice her concerns. 

“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. 

The court also heard that Ana had been cyberbullied from a number of different people online. The abuse was sent via Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and other social media channels Ana had a presence on. 

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”.

On one occasion on 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 the boys said ‘and 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.

Discovery of her body

Earlier, the court heard how Ana’s body was discovered in an abandoned farmhouse naked with a ligature around her neck.

The trial of two boys, who are now both 14, began today in the Central Criminal Court in the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin. Neither can be named for legal reasons. 

Opening the case, prosecuting senior counsel Brendan Grehan said that he and his team will argue that Boy A and Boy B colluded together to bring Ana to a local park where she was sexually assaulted and murdered. 

Both boys were 13 years of age when the alleged offences occurred. 

Grehan explained that at around 1pm on Thursday May 17, gardaí who were looking for Ana were searching a derelict farmhouse for the missing teenager when they discovered her body.

He said the body was naked except for socks at her feet and a tie around her neck which was made with a distinctive builders tape. He said she had obvious head injuries and that the scene was “bloody” and “blood-spattered”. 

Grehan described how her clothes were damaged which he suggested showed that they were forcibly removed.

Prosecution said that a post-mortem revealed serious and extensive injuries to Ana’s head and neck. State Pathologist Marie Cassidy’s report would also find injuries suggesting attempted penetration of Ana’s vagina, Grehan added. 

Initial search

Ana’s mother returned home on the day of her disappearance to find that she was not there, something Grehan said was “very unusual” for her. He said her mother also found it strange that she left in the company of Boy B – someone prosecution counsel said had never been to the house before. 

A short period of time elapsed before Ana’s mother began looking for her daughter herself. Grehan said that it is the prosecution’s case that Ana was already dead at this point. 

Having failed to find Ana, her family made other attempts to see if they could locate her before reporting the matter to gardaí at Lucan just after 9pm on Monday 14 May.

The court heard how gardaí responded immediately and ascertained Boy B’s address. They went to his house that night and he told officers he called for Ana and they went to a local park and he hadn’t seen her since. He did not mention Boy A at this stage. 

Gardaí continued to make inquiries and the search intensified over the coming days.

Gardaí again visited Boy B and at that stage he said he called for her on behalf of his friend Boy A and that he and Ana had met Boy A that day. 

Grehan said that Boy B said he knew Ana was interested in Boy A and that the suggested purpose of their meeting was that Boy A could tell Ana he was not interested in her. 

Gardaí then made contact with Boy A who gave a different account of what happened on the day, according to the prosecution. 

Both boys were asked to point out where they had met in the park and routes they had taken, and it was then discrepancies in their accounts began to emerge.

CCTV 

Gardaí then sought CCTV footage from the local area. Grehan explained how you can see Ana’s last movements in the footage and how she could be seen walking to the park with Boy B. 

The walk from where Ana’s house is to where her body was found is around 3km – around a 30 minute walk by the estimation of the prosecution counsel. 

The court heard that a number of people gave accounts of seeing Boy A limping and with blood on his face and clothing.

Boy A told a friend whose house he called to that night that he had been attacked by two men he had fought off. He made a statement to gardaí about the incident which included references to having seen Ana in the park. 

Grehan said that Boy A is connected to the scene by DNA found on Ana Kriegel’s neck and on semen found on her top. 

Prosecution added that various items from Boy A’s home also connected him to the scene. He said gardaí found a rucksack containing kneepads, shin guards, gloves and a homemade zombie mask. 

The case against Boy B

Brendan Grehan said that it is the prosecution’s case that Boy B assisted the murder and knew what was going to happen. 

He said Boy B provided this assistance by luring Ana from her house to meet Boy A knowing she wanted to meet him. 

Prosecution said that Boy B knew that they were going on to meet Boy A in a “dirty, dark derelict house” and that he and Boy A made sure it was empty before entering.

Grehan said Boy B handed Ana over to Boy A “knowing preparations must have been made and knowing what was going to happen”.

Grehan said Boy B provided the builders’ tape which would form the ligature around Ana’s neck and that he remained in the building “voyeuristically watching her murder and sexual assault” and participated in the cover-up afterwards.

The prosecution ended its opening statement to the jury and said that any suggestion Boy B did not know what was going to happen is “simply not credible”.

The trial continues.

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