A dog walker has told the trial of two teenagers, charged with murdering Anastasia Kriegel, that he saw a schoolboy ‘make a beeline’ for the abandoned farmhouse where she’s alleged to have been murdered half an hour later.
Gerard Redmond was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court today in the trial of two boys charged with murdering the Kildare schoolgirl.
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 May 14 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.
Mr Redmond testified that he was walking his dog along the Lucan to Clonee Road at 5.07 or 5.08pm on May 14 last.
“I observed a young male, schoolboy in front of me,” he told Brendan Grehan SC, prosecuting. “He was wearing a backpack.”
He said that what caught his attention was the fact the boy wasn’t walking on tarmac.
“He was walking on top of a very low embankment with a narrow walking surface. I remarked why wouldn’t he walk on the road,” he recalled.
The reason he was walking on the embankment became clear when suddenly, he turned to his right, dropped down into the ditch and came up the far side into a large field that surrounds the disused farmhouse.
He agreed with Mr Grehan that this was known as Glenwood House and said that he had shown the gardaí the gap in the hedge through which the boy had gone.
“In my impression, he wasn’t looking for it. He knew it was there,” he said.
“What struck me was that when he got into the field, he didn’t go through the field at a 90-degree angle, his track was a 45-degree angle to the road and it was a beeline towards this disused farmhouse. I presumed this was a schoolboy taking a shortcut home.”
The court also heard from a child witness, who had seen Ana and Boy B walking in a nearby park that day.
The girl, who cannot be named because of her age, said that they seemed like they were having a good time.
“They were laughing, talking, having a brisk walk,” she told Mr Grehan. “It was sort of a skippy jump-like walk.”
She said that she didn’t think they would have noticed her.
Under cross examination by Damien Colgan SC, defending Boy B, she agreed that Ana seemed happy as she was laughing along with Boy B.
“Then they did a sort of a skip run, like the kind you’d do with your friends,” she said.
A friend of Boy A’s testified that an injured Boy A had called to his door with blood on his chest around 6 o’clock that evening.
“(Boy A) asked was I coming out. I said no,” said the child witness. “He looked hurt so I asked him what happened. He said he got a jump,” he told Mr Grehan.
He was limping and he was holding his chest. He had his arm up to his chest... There was blood on the t-shirt, like the chest part of his white t-shirt.
He said he looked like he was scared.
“I asked him what happened,” he testified. “He said he got attacked by two people in the park.”
He said that Boy A had a black jacket on over his t-shirt, and was wearing tracksuit bottoms. He was also wearing steel-toe boots, which would be the usual thing he’d wear.
“I told him he should go home to his parents,” he said. “He did.”
He said that he had called over to Boy B’s house on the Saturday after Ana’s body was found.
He was asked what they had talked about.
“What was going on with Ana Kriegel being found,” he replied.
He asked if Boy B had anything to say about that.
“He was sad,” he said.
“I don’t really remember what we were talking about though, specifically.”
Under cross examination by Mr Colgan, he agreed that he’d told gardaí that Boy B didn’t trust Boy A.
“They weren’t the best of friends and sometimes Boy B doesn’t trust Boy A,” he said. “I was friends with both and they didn’t get along sometimes.”
He agreed that Boy A had done something to B in the past that meant Boy B didn’t trust Boy A.
That witness’s father also gave evidence. He had seen Boy A looking ‘rough’ in the local park not later than 6 o’clock on the evening Ana went missing.
“He had a funny gait about him,” he told Mr Grehan. “He looked like he had been hurt, which is why I noticed him.”
He said that he had asked Boy A if he was alright and he replied that he was.
“I said: ‘Are you sure?’ because he looked in rough shape,” he testified. “I was more concerned that somebody had a go at him. When he said: ‘No, I hurt myself,’ I didn’t push it because he’s a teenage lad and I didn’t want to embarrass him,” he continued.
“I could see what looked like it could be blood on his t-shirt,” he said. “I was kind of sure that someone had probably done him over but he was a bit embarrassed about it… I think he said he’d taken a fall and hurt himself.”
The judge had earlier made an order restricting the reporting of evidence in the trial until its conclusion or until such further order was made. However, the court varied its order at a sitting this evening to restrict it to one particular media outlet only.
The trial continues on Tuesday before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of eight men and four women.