Garda tells court of finding noose made from blue tape wrapped around Ana Kriegel's neck

Garda tells court of finding noose made from blue tape wrapped around Ana Kriegel's neck

Schoolgirl Anastasia Kriegel had a noose made from blue tape wrapped around her neck and appeared to be trying to pull it away, the garda who discovered her body has told the Central Criminal Court trial of the two boys accused of her murder.

A doctor who formally pronounced the 14-year-old Kildare schoolgirl dead said she may have been pulled or dragged by the material around her neck.

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.

Garda search specialist Sgt Declan Birchall told prosecuting counsel Brendan Grehan SC that he and four colleagues went out on the afternoon of May 17, 2018, to search parklands and derelict buildings close to where the 14-year-old Kildare schoolgirl had last been seen.

His colleague Sgt Sean White alerted him to a possible find at Glenwood House, telling him he may have found something but it might be a mannequin.

Sgt Birchall entered the house to the rear and found himself in an old kitchen. The building was in disrepair with sections of the roof missing and extensive damage from fires that had been lit over the years.

There was rubbish and debris throughout. He walked up two steps into a corridor which was again extensively damaged. "It was really dangerous," Sgt Birchall said.

'Room 1'

Down the corridor was a toilet and to the right was a doorway with no door looking into what has been referred to as Room 1. Inside Room 1 were two windows which were boarded up.

One of the boards had a small hole big enough to put your head through and from this came the only source of light in the narrow, fire-damaged room. Standing at the door Sgt Birchall saw the body of a young girl naked but for a pair of black socks.

She was lying on her back with her feet facing the door and her head towards the opening in the window. He thought something was covering her face and as he got closer he realised it was her hair, which was matted with blood.

'Fingers inside ligature as if she was pulling it away from her neck'

He could see blood from her nose and mouth. Her head was tilted back and there was what he described as a ligature, a blue tie, blue adhesive tape or a noose around her neck.

She had three fingers inside it as if she was pulling it away from her neck, he said. Her neck was tilted as though it had been pulled back, he added, and her right arm was completely outstretched.

She showed no signs of life and from the condition of the body, Sgt Birchall presumed she was dead. Looking around the room he noted a black hooded top with white script, a pair of shoes and shorts.

Detective Garda Eoin Conway later photographed the scene and told Mr Grehan that among the items photographed was a piece of timber and a concrete block which had blood on them. He also photographed blood on one wall up to the level of the windows.

Detective Garda Seamus O'Donnell of the Garda Technical Bureau told Gerardine Small BL for the prosecution that the adhesive tape found around Ana's neck was Tescon branded insulation tape with a Nylon exterior and adhesive inside. It is typically used to secure sheets of insulation, he said. The tape was wrapped once around Ana's neck and knotted or secured in some way but he couldn't see how.

Blood-staining on all four walls of Room 1

She had fake fingernails on three of her fingers. All over her body he could see small cuts and abrasions, there were defined marks on the face and a lot of damage to the scalp. The face was heavily bloodstained with hair matted to it. Det Gda O'Donnell identified seven areas of blood staining on all four walls of Room 1. He also took numerous samples from the body and the room for further analysis.

He identified the piece of wood found at the scene, originally part of a door frame, which he showed to the jury. Det Gda O'Donnell said it measures 930mm in length by 30mm by 35mm. It was, Det Gda O'Donnell said, heavily blood stained with a bent nail protruding from one end. He then held up the bloodied concrete block for the jury to see.

Items were taken from the scene to Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park where Det Gda Conway photographed them. These included a piece of the adhesive tape that was around Ana's neck. Sticking to it could be seen a piece of hair and a locket in the shape of a love heart.

Det Gda Conway took close-ups of the bloodstained timber and concrete block. The block had multiple blood stains and hair sticking to it, he said.

Items of clothing were also taken from the scene and photographed by Det Gda Conway. These included a black hoodie with "witch craft" written on the hood and a crescent on one arm. It had blood stains on the inside. A strap top, the witness said, was torn and blood stained. A pair of shorts or hot-pants with the words, "yesterday now tomorrow" was photographed. The witness further identified a pair of leggings with dust and dirt on them. A white bra had blood staining on the left cup. One strap was torn and the clasp had been pulled open. A pair of underpants had blood staining and a pair of black boots was recovered from the scene and photographed as was an i-phone in two pieces, the witness said.

Pronounced dead

Dr Muhammad Ghaffar told Mr Grehan that he officially pronounced death following the discovery of the body. When he arrived at the scene he saw the body of a young girl lying on her back. She had something tied around her neck but it wasn't tight. Her face was covered in blood and there was blood on her hair. She had multiple bruises including to her thighs. Her mouth was open and he could see blood inside it.

By the way her neck was pulled back he said it was "possible" that someone had pulled or dragged her by the material around her neck. He pronounced her dead at 14.19 on May 17, 2018.

The jury also saw a 3-D representation of Glenwood House with the position of Ana's body and some of the items taken from the scene.

Garda Seamus Timmins told Gerardine Small BL for the prosecution that the 3-D image was created using maps, plans and photographs of the scene. The trial continues in front of Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of eight men and four women.

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