“Ana was a dream come true for us and she always will be.”
Speaking outside the court after two 14-year-old boys had been found guilty of murdering her daughter Ana, Geraldine Kriegel spoke of a mother’s love and pride.
“She will stay in our hearts, forever loved and forever cherished. We love you Ana.”
By her side, her husband Patric struggled for words: “Ana was our strength.”
The jury convicted the boys of murdering “lonely and vulnerable” schoolgirl Anastasia Kriegel, whose naked body was found in an abandoned farmhouse three days after she went missing. Boy A was also found guilty of Ana’s aggravated sexual assault in a manner that involved serious violence to her.
Both boys had pleaded not guilty and were on trial at the Central Criminal Court. They cannot be identified because they are minors.
Following a seven-week trial, the eight men and four women of the jury spent 14 hours and 25 minutes considering their verdicts.
At 2.12pm yesterday, the jury foreman, her hand shaking, handed the issue paper to the registrar of the court, who read out the guilty verdicts. The foreman confirmed that each verdict was unanimous.
Other members of the jury could be seen crying as Justice Paul McDermott thanked them for their attention in what he said was a “very difficult trial”. He exempted them from further jury service for life.
Justice McDermott then adjourned the trial until July 15 to allow probation, psychiatric, and school reports to be submitted. He remanded both boys to Oberstown Detention Centre until that date.
The trial heard evidence that Ana’s blood was found on a “ghoulish mask” that the prosecution maintained Boy A had worn at the scene, which had “jagged teeth” and “simulated blood” around the mouth.
It was also revealed after the verdict that the jury in the trial was prevented from hearing that Boy A had searched online for “child porn” and “animal porn” and had thousands of pornographic images on two mobile phones.
Justice Paul McDermott refused to allow the prosecution to lead the evidence in front of the jury, as he said it was “highly prejudicial” to the accused.
The prosecution also wanted the jury to know that Boy A filled out a questionnaire in which he described himself as “strange” and that he thinks “differently” and feels “not much”.
Justice McDermott said the responses to the questionnaire were not relevant.
When gardaí searched Boy A’s home on May 24, 2018, they discovered two mobile phones in his room. One had 5,001 images, a “vast amount” of which were pornographic.
An iPhone 4 taken from Boy A’s room and registered under his name had 7,485 images. Mr Grehan said a “vast amount” were pornographic, and 42 images on the iPhone were considered relevant to the Garda investigation into Ana’s death.
There was further legal argument over whether a photograph of a mannequin wearing what gardaí dubbed Boy A’s “murder kit” should be shown to the jury. The mannequin was dressed in the dark grey sweatpants, black hoodie with hood up, gloves, boots, shin pads, knee pads, snood, and the mask the boy was believed to be wearing during the assault on Ana.
Pathology evidence showed Ana suffered a “very violent death” and “fought for her life”.