The parents of murdered schoolgirl Anastasia Kriegel have thanked the community for the “wonderful” support shown to them since their daughter’s death.
Hundreds of people attended a tree planting ceremony on Saturday in memory of the 14-year-old, who was killed in May last year.
Geraldine and Patric Kriegel chose to plant a white cherry blossom tree in memory of their daughter, who was known as Ana, at Leixlip Manor hotel in Co Kildare.
Mrs Kriegel said it was lovely that they would now have a “special place to remember Ana”.
“Ana used to love coming here with Patric for lunch during the school holidays and was disappointed when it closed,” she said.
“Shortly before she died she discovered it had reopened as Leixlip Manor and she was delighted and said to Patric: ‘Papa we need to go to the hotel for lunch again like we used to’.
“She never made it for lunch but she’s here in spirit now. So let’s remember that and come back and spend a few moments with her from time to time.”
A plaque was also unveiled to pay tribute to Ana, whose body was found in an abandoned farmhouse in Lucan, Co Dublin, in May 2018 after she had been reported missing by her parents.
Two 14-year-old boys were found guilty earlier this month of her murder.
Both boys have been granted anonymity due to their age, and were referred to as Boy A and Boy B throughout the trial.
Boy A was also found guilty of aggravated sexual assault.
The teenagers are the youngest convicted killers in the history of the state.
Ana was born in Russia in February 2004, and adopted by Mr and Mrs Kriegel at the age of two-and-a-half.
She grew up in the Leixlip area in Co Kildare and in many ways was a typical teenage girl who loved to listen to music and sing.
She was a very talented, strong swimmer and gymnast.
At 5ft 8in Ana was tall and strong, a “typical Siberian”, as her mother described her.
But the first year student also suffered horrific bullying and was endlessly tormented in the months leading up to her death.
She was targeted on social media through her Snapchat and YouTube accounts.
On the first day of the murder trial Mrs Kriegel told the court that her daughter was very vulnerable and despite looking older than her 14 years, she was a “child on the inside”.
“She was very immature. She looked so much older, but inside she was younger, far younger than her youth,” Mrs Kriegel said.
After the verdict, Mr Kriegel told media that their daughter Ana was “our strength”.
Her mother said: “Ana was a dream come true for us, and she always will be. “She’ll stay in our hearts forever loved and forever cherished. “We love you, Ana.”
- Press Association