Ana Kriegel trial hears how one of accused claimed he was 'dragged into this mess' by co-accused

Anastasia Kriegel.

One of the boys accused of Anastasia Kriegel's murder told a guidance counsellor that he was "dragged into this mess" by his co-accused and repeated about 10 times that he wasn't the last person to see Ana alive, a Central Criminal Court murder trial has heard.

Two days after the girl went missing the boy also suggested that men who had allegedly attacked his co-accused might have kidnapped Ana.

The accused, who are both 14, cannot be named because they are minors. They have each pleaded not guilty to murdering Anastasia at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan on 14th May last year. Boy A is further charged with the 14-year-old’s aggravated sexual assault in a manner that involved serious violence to her. He has also pleaded not guilty to that count.

The trial heard today from a guidance counsellor who spoke to one of the two accused, known as Boy B, in the days after Ana went missing. He was "calm, articulate and clear," she told Gerardine Small BL for the prosecution.

She added: "I was impressed by how articulate he was. He seemed to be a very bright boy." He looked her straight in the eye and the conversation flowed naturally, she said.

She spoke to Boy B on May 16, two days after the schoolgirl's disappearance, and asked him how he was getting on. He said he had spoken to gardaí three times and used the word "interrogate" to describe what happened.

He said he found it difficult and was "feeling the pressure" from the guards. To her, he appeared calm and articulate.

He said he wasn't a friend of Ana's but he knew her. When she asked him who his friends were he mentioned three boys and said he wasn't particularly good friends with Boy A.

The counsellor wanted to know why he had gone to the park with Ana on the 14th and he told her that Boy A had asked him to call to Ana and bring her to the park because Ana fancied Boy A and Boy A wanted to tell her he wasn't interested. He said he was doing a "turn for a mate". He said he left Ana and Boy A in the park.

He mentioned "more than once" that Boy A had suffered injuries after being attacked in the park later that day. The teacher said it wasn't her job to investigate but he emphasised to her that he wasn't the last person to see Ana.

She said: "He mentioned that a few times. It was troubling him. Maybe he thought I was judging him." He repeated it about 10 times, she said, and also told her he was "dragged into this mess" by Boy A.

Towards the end of the conversation he "came up with a theory and suggested perhaps the men or people who attacked Boy A may have taken Ana."

Under cross-examination, she told Damien Colgan SC for Boy B that the boy told her he had three good friends, but Boy A was not one of them. He was "not as good a friend as the other boys."

He did not say anything about not trusting Boy A. She further agreed that he was concerned that the men who attacked Boy A may have "kidnapped" Ana.

She said it is not her role to investigate and she was there in a non-judgmental role to support the student. She felt he wanted to say more to her but she thought it might "stray into a territory I didn't want to go into."

When he told her he had been "dragged into it" by Boy A and "didn't want to be involved" he did not tell her what he had been dragged into.

Earlier in the day the trial heard from former State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy who said Ana died from blunt force trauma to the head or compression of the neck. She said some of the more than 50 injury sites she noted on the 14-year-old's body could have been defensive wounds.

The most severe injuries were to the head and neck and she detailed four separate impacts to the right side of the head which were consistent with being struck with a "small, fairly heavy object or the corner of something bigger". Other injuries to the face were consistent with being struck by something large, long and fairly heavy, she said.

Professor Cassidy told Brendan Grehan SC for the prosecution that Ana was "extremely healthy" before her death. Blood and urine tests revealed she had no alcohol or drugs in her system when she died.

She concluded: "The post mortem identified severe injuries mainly to the head and neck." There was also evidence of attempted penetration of the vagina. She said Ana may have been unconscious at this time but she also couldn't say if the attempt was consensual or not. She said Ana did not appear to have been sexually active previously.

Under cross-examination, Prof. Cassidy agreed with Damien Colgan SC for Boy B that Ana suffered a "very horrific death". She added: "Anyone witnessing something like this would be traumatised." She told Patrick Gageby SC for Boy A that the injuries to the pelvic area were consistent with injuries you would expect to see in a young, inexperienced person having consensual sex. She also agreed there was no evidence that tape found wrapped around Ana's neck was used as a "ligature".

Looking at the evidence at the scene Prof. Cassidy said it appeared Ana sustained severe injuries close to the door of the room in which she was found. There was a lot of blood staining on the wall and on the ground in this area, she said.

She was then "moved or dragged" further into the room, possibly to where there was more light, to the area where her body was later found by gardaí.

The trial continues in front of Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of eight men and four women.

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