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'I felt immediately there was something wrong': The intensive garda investigation into Ana Kriegel's death

Transcripts of interviews shed light on how gardaí investigated Ana Kriegel’s murder in May 2018.

A Garda forensic team at the scene.
A Garda forensic team at the scene.
Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

A LOOK BETWEEN Boy A and Boy B in St Catherine’s Park was all it took for gardaí to become suspicious that the 13-year-old boys who were the last to see Ana Kriegel alive on 14 May 2018 were not telling them the full truth about events of that day. 

Until that moment, gardaí had been focused on two supposed separate incidents on that day, in that park: the disappearance of Ana Kriegel and an alleged assault on Boy A.

After a seven-week trial, the two boys – Boy A and Boy B – were found guilty yesterday of the murder of Ana Kriegel. Boy A was also found guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

Ana Kriegel went missing on 14 May 2018 and her body was found naked in an abandoned house between Lucan and Leixlip on Thursday 17 May.  

Ana’s disappearance looked like a missing persons’ case similar to so many others dealt with by gardaí, where parents would arrive into a station to report their child missing only for them to turn up a few hours later. 

With the knowledge that Boy B had called for Ana at around 5pm on the day of her disappearance, officers had their first port of call. 

Garda Conor Muldoon arrived at the home of Boy B at 10.45pm on 14 May 2018 – just hours after the 14-year-old girl had been reported missing.

The court heard that Boy B stood inside the door behind his mother during that first conversation with officers. He confirmed that he knew Ana and had last seen her earlier in the afternoon. He did not mention Boy A.

The next morning, Sergeant John Dunne called to the home of Boy B. He wanted to know the route Boy B had taken with Ana the previous evening. It was during this meeting that Boy B mentioned to officers that Boy A was also present. 

Sergeant Dunne asked Boy B to show him the path he had taken through the park on the day of Ana’s disappearance. 

Chance look

Dozens of gardaí, from rank and file members to chief superintendents, were involved in what eventually became a murder investigation.

There were the sergeants who ordered searches of the area, detectives who interviewed the boys following their arrests and gardaí who were able to access devices owned and used by the two boys, as well as garda technical staff who preserved the scene and took dozens of exhibits for DNA evidence. 

But it was a chance look between Boy A and Boy B, caught by officers, that initially raised suspicion that this was not a typical missing teen case. 

Sergeant John Dunne of Leixlip Garda Station was one of the officers conducting the investigation the day after Ana disappeared. 

On the morning of 15 May, a day before Ana’s body would be found, Boy B showed Sergeant Dunne the path he had taken with her the day before. Later that afternoon, Sergeant Dunne called to the home of Boy B again and asked him to show him the path once more. 

Both Boy A and his father were also present in the park. 

Boy B stated to Sergeant Dunne that he stopped walking at a certain point. It was at this moment that Sergeant Dunne said he saw the two accused “share a look”.

The boys’ accounts of the direction they went did not match up. 

Sergeant Aonghus Hussey of Leixlip Garda Station was one of two gardaí walking along with the two boys that day. Sergeant Hussey said gardaí were trying to establish their precise movements.

6524 Kriegal trial_90573502 (1) Anastasia Kriegel's parents Geraldine and Patric Kriegel speaking to the media at the Criminal Courts of Justice. Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

He said at one point “there was some confusion” in the two boys’ accounts and that he then “saw a look given between Boy A and Boy B which I was not happy with”.

“I felt immediately there was something wrong,” he recalled to the court. 

As a result of this conflicting information, Sergeant Dunne went back to Boy B’s home to ask his mother if she would bring him to the station so he could make a statement.

Gardaí take statements from the boys

Gardaí wanted the two boys to clarify which route they had taken and asked them both to give voluntary interviews. They were conducted separately. 

In each case, gardaí produced maps and asked each boy to indicate where they met in the park, which way they walked and when the last time they saw Ana was.

The accounts did not match. They were informed of this but both stuck to their different stories. 

Boy A statement

This was the full text of Boy A’s official statement to gardaí: 

One of my best friends is Boy B [...] I recall yesterday I finished school  [...] and walked home from school with Boy B. When I got home, my [family members] were already there. I got changed and had a cup of tea then I went out. I called over to Boy B’s house but he was doing some chores so I arranged to meet him in park when he was finished. I was in the park for maybe a few minutes when Boy B came in. Ana Kriégel was with him when he came in. I don’t know her that well. It was the first time I was in the park with her.

“We were walking very slowly. I was talking to Boy B, I remember talking about video games. I wasn’t really talking to Ana. She was on her phone a good bit, not talking but using it.

At one stage Ana said to me, “I have something to ask you, I was wondering if you wanted to go out with me.” I was surprised. It came out of nowhere. I did have an idea she liked me because she did kind of ask me out [previously].

“I thought about it for a few minutes because I was going to say no and wanted to do it without hurting her feelings. The first time she asked me out… I said no she stormed off and I was trying to be considerate.

I said I was sorry but I wasn’t interested in her. She didn’t answer. She said nothing. She stayed there for a few minutes and walked off. I could tell she wasn’t happy. She looked annoyed and sad at the same time. She walked off in the direction she had come from and said nothing to me or Boy B after I told her I wasn’t interested.

“Boy B was a little bit ahead of us. He might have heard the conversation but I can’t be sure. He was still in view, about five metres away from us. When she stormed off, me and Boy B kept walking on the way we had been going. I said to him, ‘That was a bit random’ and he said, ‘yeah’. We walked further and he said he had to go.

He headed back in the same direction as Ana went. He said he had to go home for dinner. I said nothing to Ana to upset her except for declining her. Boy B was not upset either. I walked on further away from their direction.

“I became aware of two men walking behind me. It didn’t feel right so I sped up. They also sped up. They caught up with me and one grabbed me by the shoulder and pulled me to the ground and they started to kick me. I was winded from one of the kicks in the chest. I managed to get up and I kicked one in the head and they ran off.

The heavy lad was 5ft 8in, stocky build like a rugby player. He was maybe 19/20 wearing dark tracksuit bottoms, white runners and a dark hoodie. There was maybe white laces in the hoody. He had dark coloured hair, he may have had his ear pierced, which one I don’t know.

“I can’t describe his face, roundish head. It was blurry for me. He had a fringe across forehead. Neither of them spoke.

The second lad was tall and skinny, about 6ft 1in and looked about same age as other lad. Same type of haircut, lighter in colour. He had a long face and a long nose and was wearing dark blue jacket and peak [cap] in a hood, was wearing light grey tracksuit bottoms and grey runners.

“Neither were wearing gloves and both were wearing baggy tracksuit bottoms. I went home and my leg was hurting and I walked slowly.

I got home at about 6pm. I told my parents what had happened. My back [was] bruised, my leg were sore around my knees and had cut in left leg. My right leg [was] very painful, small bruising on my chest and my right arm which was previously hurt was damaged again, my lip was bleeding.

“Nothing was stolen from me nor did they demand anything from me. Ana was wearing a black hoodie with black leggings.”

File photo Two 14-year-old boys have been found guilty of the murder of Ana Kriégel in Lucan just over a year ago. End. Gardaí at the murder scene. Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

Boy B statement

This was the full text of Boy B’s official statement to gardaí on the same day: 

I called to a girl called Ana Kriegel at the request of my friend Boy A. He had asked me to call to her and bring her to the park to meet with him there. He told me he wanted to sort out some relationship issues with her. So I called and got Ana and we walked through the pedestrian entrance on to the park. Ana was very chatty. Ana wanted to know why Boy A wanted to meet her and I told her I would tell her when we got there. We met him at the [...] car park then we walked [...] I stayed behind them so they could talk. I could not really hear what they were saying, but I could hear their voices.

“I let them continue on walking. I know that Boy A wanted to be clear to her that she was not of interest to him. I turned back [...] There is a water tap where I got a drink of water. I waited there a while as I was a little tired.

After I got the water, I came back around to the rear of the changing rooms and then walked across the car park and I noticed Ana was walking along the park toward where we had come from.

“There were other people in the car park out walking but I did not see anyone else I recognised.

When I saw Ana this time I said ‘hey’ but she didn’t really say anything, she looked really down, she seemed upset and she had her head down. I walked on in front of her but we did not really talk. I did not see her or speak to her after that.

“I am not sure where she went but it looked as if she went back towards [...] This was about 5.30pm or 5.40pm.

I know Ana had her phone on her and it was switched on because I saw her checking it once or twice and she also told me the time at one stage.

“I did not see Ana or Boy A after that. I went straight home and did my homework. My father was home when I got back. The first I heard there was a problem with Ana was when the gardaí called to our house asking about her. I have no clue what happened to her.”

The CCTV evidence

Garda Seamus Timmins told the trial that he gathered 700 hours of CCTV footage. It was harvested from a number of cameras in the local park, as well as cameras attached to housing estates nearby.

Trawling through the CCTV, he identified a number of key moments: 

  • At 4.51pm, Boy B is seen walking in direction of where Ana lived.
  • At 5.01pm, we see Boy B and Ana walking together – Boy B is some yards ahead of her.
  • At 5.05pm: Boy A is seen wearing gloves and carrying a backpack through park land.
  • At 5.14pm: Boy B and Ana seen walking across a field.
  • At 5.49pm: Boy B seen walking back across park on his own.
  • At 5.56pm: Boy B walking through park.
  • At 5.57pm: Boy A seen holding a bag in their left hand.
  • At 6.03pm: Boy A seen limping through park

Garda Timmins said that he had looked at all CCTV evidence from half past four that afternoon to 8pm that day and could find no matches for the description Boy A had given to gardaí of the men he claimed attacked him.

On Thursday 17 May, Sergeant Declan Birchall was in charge of the divisional search and was in control of a team specially trained in searching for missing persons. 

Sergeant Birchall said he designated a specific search area on that day and told the court he approached a number of derelict properties on his own to ascertain if he needed any breaching equipment to get into them.

He said four garda members were searching derelict buildings when an officer called for Sergeant Birchall as he may have found something. 

Garda Sean White was part of the four-garda team which discovered Ana’s body. He was the first to go in to the house where he saw what he thought to be a mannequin.

Garda White told the court he said to Sergeant Birchall that it’s “either a mannequin or something terrible”.

The sergeant entered the house with a colleague and searched a number of rooms which were empty. The court heard that the house was in very poor condition and there was debris in many of the rooms. Some of the roofing had collapsed in places, he said.

Sergeant Birchall said after searching a number of rooms, he then saw a naked body in the house. 

File photo Two 14-year-old boys have been found guilty of the murder of Ana Kriégel in Lucan just over a year ago. End. Gardaí at the scene outside a deserted building in Lucan. Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

He said: “I stood at the door and saw the body of a naked female lying on the floor of the room. She was naked completely except for socks. I entered the room – I could not see her face at that time. There was something covering her face.”

As the investigations progressed, gardaí obtained search warrants to search the homes of Boy A and Boy B after Ana’s body was discovered. 

For the gardaí involved in this case, this was not the first time they had dealt with interviewing minors. However, the children were usually either victims of crime or witnesses to an incident. Even for senior gardaí, this was the first time they would be involved in a case where two 13-year-old boys were the suspects in a murder of this type.

Due to their ages, gardaí were instructed not to arrive at the house wearing garda clothing or in marked garda cars. They were told to put evidence removed from the home of Boy A into garda evidence bags which were then to be placed in black bin liners before being removed to the vehicles outside. 

The court heard from Garda Hugh O’Carroll who was one of the officers to carry out a search of Boy A’s home. 

He said he went into Boy A’s bedroom and opened a wardrobe where he found a backpack. He told his colleagues he could see what looked like shin pads and knee pads but did not examine it further at this point. 

Garda O’Carroll said he also found an open safe on top of Boy A’s wardrobe with an Alcatel phone. Gardaí that day also seized a number of laptops, phones, tablet computers and video game consoles. 

The court also heard that a homemade face mask, a green tactical bag and a green-and-black backpack were also found in this search.

A total of 33 exhibits were taken from the home of Boy B – many of them were electronic devices. 

The forensic evidence

DNA expert John Hoade gave evidence to the court about how he studied the boots which were handed over to Forensic Science Ireland. Hoade said he examined a number of separate areas of blood staining on the soles and upper ends of the boots. 

He told the court that the blood found on these boots matched that of Ana Kriegel. Hoade, in his testimony, told the court that he believes the blood evidence indicates that “Boy A either assaulted Ana Kriegel or was very close to her when she was assaulted”. 

Ana’s blood was also found on the zombie mask. 

The forensic expert also examined items of clothing worn by Boy B on the day of Ana’s disappearance. He said he could find no blood on his runners, polo shirt, tracksuit bottoms or two backpacks. 

Boy A took part in a total of six interviews with gardaí after his arrest on 24 May under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. His solicitor and father were present for all interviews. 

At one point during the interview, Detective Garda Tomás Doyle told Boy A that his boots had been forensically examined and that they had been found to contain Ana’s blood on them. 

Responding to the garda, Boy A said: “Are you joking me?” The garda informed him he was not, to which Boy A added: “Are you actually being serious?” Boy A was told by gardaí that they would not joke about something of this nature. The garda told Boy A that this particular piece of evidence was “significant and serious”.

Boy A made no admissions to gardaí during his interviews – but he did tell officers not to believe a word Boy B was telling them. 

The garda interviews 

Gardaí conducted a dozen or so interviews with the two accused during the course of the investigation. 

Detective Garda Donal Daly along with Detective Inspector Damien Gannon carried out the interviews with Boy B. 

It was during these interviews that Boy B continued to change his story before finally admitting he was there when Ana was being assaulted. He said he saw how Boy A dragged her to the ground and began removing her clothes while choking her. It was at this point, he told officers, that he left the house and ran away.

Boy B said he was “ashamed” of himself that he was too scared to help Ana once he saw her being attacked. He said he was “horrified” and that he went home and tried to forget what he had seen. Boy B said he wanted to go back to the “way things were before”. 

scene kriegal 954_90572813 Glenwood House. Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

It was then put to Boy B that he knew exactly what was going to happen in that room. He once again denied that he did. 

Detective Garda Dónal Daly, during the interview, put it to Boy B that he gave three different versions of events in the initial aftermath of Ana’s disappearance on 14 May 2018, “none of which took you to the [derelict] house”.

Boy B said: “The first time the guards came, my mind was blank. I couldn’t remember what happened so I lied. I was too scared to say I couldn’t remember.” He said that by the afternoon of 15 May he had remembered what happened “but since I lied I couldn’t go back”.

Detective Garda Daly then accused Boy B of leading gardaí “on a merry dance” and that it was only on 25 May following his arrest, that he told officers he was actually at the abandoned house. Daly asked him why this was the case. 

Boy B said: “I realised that for things to be right I had to tell you.” 

Detective Garda Daly responded: “It wasn’t your conscience at you. You tell us a story after we present all the facts and evidence to you. It’s not that you realised that it was right. You only told us the story about you being at the house when we showed you the evidence we had. Why?”

“I don’t know,” Boy B responded.  

Detective Daly then questioned Boy B’s account of what happened inside the room where Ana’s body would later be found. The accused said he saw Boy A “stripping” Ana and that he left the house at the point where Boy A had gotten down to her underwear. He said he saw Boy A remove Ana’s hoodie and black top by removing them over her head. However, this is something Detective Daly took issue with. 

He said: “That top has been examined by scientists – it’s ripped at the seam- that contradicts her lifting up her hands – science will show that it was forcibly removed. It was ripped off her. That story you said is ridiculous.

Science doesn’t lie. You’re a clever kid. You understand science. People lie, that’s for sure. Science doesn’t.

Daly, later in that interview, described what he thinks happened that day. 

He said: “Boy A says he wants to kill Ana. On 14 May, he asks you to call for Ana and you do. You walk her 25 minutes across the park, you both wear a backpack on your back. He goes there with a backpack on his back which has his murder kit. You saw he was wearing gloves and it wasn’t a cold day. At that stage he knew what he was going there for and you know what you were bringing her there for.”

Boy B responded: “I didn’t.”

Daly continues: “Then you, Boy A and Ana get to the house, you check the coast is clear and it is. Game on. Murder on.” 

He added: “I believe you’re part of the murder. You brought Ana there and in your own words – you handed her over to Boy A. Did you not see anything wrong with those words? Handed over, gave to. You brought the prize, you brought her to her death, didn’t you?”

Boy B responded: “No.” 

Boy B said that he didn’t think Boy A was going to murder her. He said when he ran away from the house he kept thinking to himself that ‘this can’t be happening’ and that ‘this isn’t real’. He said he didn’t think Boy A would do something like that as it “wasn’t like him”. 

Finishing the interview, Detective Garda Donal Daly said: “Can you see why I believe you’re involved? You’re not telling me anything to change my mind. You told us lie after lie after lie. He [Boy A] tells you he wants to kill her, you go and collect a girl he wants to kill – you bring her to an abandoned house, and you, in your words, hand over that girl to him, the girl he said he wanted to kill.

“You’re deceptive after it. You lie to everybody – lie, lie, lie – you try to wriggle out of it. Do you see how this looks? Now is your chance.”

Boy B responds: “I’ve already told you the truth.”

Ultimately, both Boy A and Boy B were found guilty of the murder of Ana Kriegel. Boy A was also found guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

The trial lasted eight weeks, and the jury spent over 14 hours coming to their unanimous decision. 

For a trial which relied on the concerted work of dozens of garda officers, technical bureau staff and forensic scientists, it all began from just one moment: a chance look between the two accused, which raised the suspicion of officers.

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