One of two boys accused of Anastasia Kriegel’s murder claimed that he tried to be considerate and not hurt her feelings when declining her offer of a relationship on the evening he is alleged to have killed her.
Boy A also spent part of his witness statement about her disappearance describing two alleged attackers he said gave him injuries which the State claims happened during the killing. The trial also heard that Boy A had used his left hand to initial his statement as he had an injury to his right.
The court earlier heard that Boy B said he ‘hadn’t a clue what happened to her’, when asked to make a statement after he and Boy A had disagreed about their last meeting in front of gardaí.
Boy B claimed Ana had looked ‘very down’ and ‘upset’ after meeting Boy A so he could tell her he was not interested in her.
Gardaí were giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court today in the trial of two teenagers charged with murdering the Kildare schoolgirl.
The two boys are charged with murdering Anastasia at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan on May 14 last year. The accused, who are both 14, cannot be named because they are minors. They each pleaded not guilty.
Boy A is further charged with Anastasia’s aggravated sexual assault in a manner that involved serious violence to her. He also pleaded not guilty to that count.
The jury was also shown CCTV images that gardai said shows Ana’s last known movements.
Images were captured from six separate locations showing various movements of persons gardai say are Boy A, Boy B and Ana.
In one shot, Boy B can been seen walking in the direction of Ana’s home, then a few minutes later Boy B is shown walking back with Ana, with Boy B walking in front of her.
Gardai say Boy A can be seen walking through the park at 5.05pm wearing dark clothing, gloves and a backpack.
Other footage shows two people walking through another part of the park at 5.14pm.
Garda Seamus Timmins told the court that after garda extensively viewed the footage and movements of other people in the area, they believe these two people are Boy B and Ana.
Mr Timmins added that at 6.03pm, a person that appears to be Boy A can be seen walking back through the park with a limp.
Detective Sergeant John O’Keefe testified that he took a witness statement from Boy A on the evening after Ana’s disappearance. Both boys had been asked to give statements after differences emerged between their verbal accounts of their last sightings of her.
He told Brendan Grehan SC, prosecuting, that Boy A had used his left hand to initial his statement as he had an injury to his right hand.
Boy A had told Dgt Sgt O'Keefe that he had arranged to meet Boy B in St Catherine’s Park in Leixlip that evening. He’d described him as one of his best friends.
“Ana Kriegel was with him when he came,” he stated. “I don’t know her that well.”
Boy A said that the three of them had walked slowly, very closely together, and that he vaguely recalled talking to the other boy about video games.
“I wasn’t really talking to Ana,” he said. “She was on her phone a good bit, not talking on it, but using it.”
He said that, at one stage, Ana had told him that she was wondering if he wanted to go out with her. “I was surprised. It came out of nowhere,” he said.
However, he said he did have an idea that she liked him because ‘she did kind of ask me out before’.
“I was going to say no and I wanted to do it without hurting her feelings,” he told gardaí.
Boy A said that he told Ana he was sorry but wasn’t interested in her. “She said nothing. She stayed there for a couple of minutes and then walked off,” he said. “I could tell she wasn’t happy. She looked annoyed and sad at the same time.”
He said that he’d continued to walk with his friend after she had left, and that he’d described what had happened to Boy B as ‘a bit random’. He said that Boy B then also left.
“I said nothing to Ana to upset her apart from declining to go out with her,” he added, before describing an attack he said he’d then suffered.
“I became aware of two males walking behind me. It didn't feel right so I sped up,” he began. “They caught up to me. One of them grabbed me by the shoulder and pulled me onto the ground. Both started to kick me.”
Boy A said that he was winded from one of the kicks to his chest, but managed to get up after about a minute and kick one of them in the head. He said that they had both run away.
He then described the physiques, age and clothing of the two men, indicating that both were about 19 or 20 and that one of them was built like a rugby player.
Boy A said that he had gone home and told his parents what had happened.
He said that his right arm was also damaged and that his lip was bleeding.
“There was nothing stolen from me during the attack,” he added. “Nor did they demand anything from me.”
Under cross examination by Patrick Gageby SC, defending Boy A, Det Sgt O'Keefe said that he had left the room after taking the statement to discuss things with a colleague.
He had learned of discrepancies between Boy A's statement and that of Boy B. He had returned to Boy A and told him this, asking him if there was anything he’d wanted to change. There was not.
“They’re two 13-year-old boys. It’s not unimaginable that one would remember something different to the other,” he said. “It was important to give him the opportunity to make a change if he so wished.”
Under re-examination by Mr Grehan, he confirmed that, at the time he took the statement, Boy A was a witness in a missing persons enquiry.
“You had no idea that Ana Kriegel was dead?” Mr Grehan asked. “Absolutely not,” replied the sergeant.
Sergeant Aonghus Hussey had earlier told Mr Grehan that he and a colleague had accompanied both boys to St Catherine’s Park the day after Ana had gone missing. He was aware that Boy B had said that morning that he and Ana had met Boy A in the park the previous evening.
They were asked to re-walk the route they had taken, and maps of this route were provided to the jury.
Sgt Hussey said that, at one point, his colleague stated to both boys that this was not the route Boy B had indicated to him earlier.
He was asked how Boy B appeared at that point. “Uncertain, confused,” Sgt Hussey replied.
“We were trying to establish the movements and Boy B said this was the last point, that was as far as he’d gone,” he recalled.
He said that his colleague had also observed this and they decided to split the two boys up. Sgt Hussey continued to walk with Boy A and his father.
“I asked his father to stay a little behind,” he explained. “I thought maybe he was embarrassed by something he didn’t want his father to hear, to see if something had occurred between him and Ana.”
Neither had any difficulty with this, he said. “Boy A informed me that Ana had asked him out and he had declined her,” he testified. “He said she was upset and that she turned and left," he continued.
“Boy A said he had continued on (alone) because he just wanted to get his head together,” he added. “He informed me that he had been assaulted by two males and that’s the reason he was holding his arm and was limping.”
The sergeant said that he, Boy A and his father had returned to where other gardaí had been waiting. He informed them that he was unhappy with the accounts and information given because they seemed to lack consistency. It was decided to bring both boys to Leixlip Garda Station voluntarily to get statements in writing.
He and a colleague took Boy B’s statement in the presence of his mother.
“Yesterday evening, about 5pm, I called to a girl called Ana Kriegel at the request of my friend Boy A. Boy A had asked me to call to her and bring her to St Catherine’s Park to meet him there. He had told me he had wanted to sort out some relationship issues with her so I called and got Ana,” he began.
“Ana wanted to know why Boy A wanted her. I said I’ll tell you when we get there. We then met up in the park with Boy A,” he continued. “I stayed a little behind them so they could talk… I know Boy A wanted to be clear with her that she was not of interest to him so I let them walk on.”
He said he later noticed Ana walking back towards where they had come from. “I said Hey, but she didn’t really say anything. She seemed upset. She looked really down. She had her head down. I walked in front of her and we didn’t really talk,” he said.
Boy B said that Ana then turned back towards some changing rooms. “I didn’t see her after that or speak to her. I’m not sure where she went after that,” he said, putting the time at about 5.30pm or 5.40pm.
“The first time I knew there was a problem with Ana was when the gardaí called to my house asking about her,” he said.
Sgt Hussey agreed with Damien Colgan SC, defending Boy B, that the sergeant had said in his own statement that Boy A had disagreed with Boy B during the walk. This had been about where he had parted from Ana and Boy A.
“He [BOY A] indicated that Boy B had walked on with both of them,” Sgt Hussey had said. “At that stage Boy A gave a look to Boy B.”
The sergeant had stated his opinion to both boys that he was not happy with the interaction. He’d asked Boy A what the look was about, but he had denied that a look was given.
The trial continues tomorrow morning before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of eight men and four women.
Additional reporting by PA