Two 14-year-old boys have been found guilty of murdering a female classmate who was lured to an abandoned house, savagely beaten and sexually assaulted in a case that has shaken Ireland.
The battered and partially clothed body of Ana Kriégel was found in a derelict farmhouse in Lucan, a Dublin suburb, on 17 May 2018, three days after she went missing.
On Tuesday at the end of a harrowing seven-week trial at the central criminal court in Dublin, the two boys, identified only as Boy A and Boy B due to their age, became the youngest people in Irish history to be convicted of murder.
The jury found that Boy A inflicted severe, extensive injuries to 14-year-old Ana’s head and neck and violently sexually assaulted her.
They found that Boy B lured Ana from her home and led her to the farmhouse aware of what was going to happen, watched the assault and covered up afterwards. Both boys were 13 at the time.
Ana’s parents, Patric and Geraldine Kriégel, hugged each other and their friends and wept in the courtroom after the verdict.
Boy B’s father briefly left the court before returning and clapping loudly in protest, saying: “An innocent child is going to prison.”
Both boys were remanded into custody pending probation reports and sentencing. In Ireland, children convicted of crimes are seldom sentenced to more than three years, but for serious crimes judges have discretion to impose longer sentences.
Leaving court, the Kriégels told RTÉ: “Ana was a dream come true for us and she always will be.”
The case received extensive media coverage but as the trial progressed some people in Ireland seemed to tune out, calling the details too distressing.
The Kriégels adopted their daughter from Russia when she was two years old. She had poor eyesight and hearing, the result of an extracted tumour.
Geraldine Kriégel told the court her daughter was a kind, vulnerable soul who loved to sing and dance at home but struggled in her studies and tried in vain to make friends. A teacher told the couple she was “terrified” that other children would mock her.
Both boys were said to be from stable, middle-class homes. The prosecution alleged Boy B lured Ana from her home on the pretence of meeting Boy A, in whom Ana was “interested”. He led Ana to Glenwood House, an abandoned property on Clonee Road, Lucan, where Boy A was waiting.
Prosecutors said forensic evidence showed that the victim fought for her life against Boy A. The jury was shown a concrete block and a metre-long stick stained with her blood. Builder’s tape was looped around her neck. Boy A’s semen was found on her torn top.There were around 60 areas of injury to her body.
When police searched Boy A’s home they found a backpack with a “murder kit” that included a homemade zombie mask, black gloves, shin guards and a knee pad.
Both boys denied any knowledge of the killing. Told by police that Ana’s blood had been found on his boots, Boy A replied: “Are you joking me? Are you actually being serious?”