Monday 19 August 2019

Ana fought for her life, murder trial is told

Forensic evidence against Boy A 'overwhelming', jury hears

Ana Kriegel
Ana Kriegel
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

Ana Kriegel's avatar, or picture, on WhatsApp was a Siberian wolf - which was a nod to her Russian background, prosecutor Brendan Grehan remarked to the jury.

He said Ana did not succumb into unconsciousness on the dirty, dark floor of an abandoned house, but "fought for her life".

Ana suffered a "very violent death", he added.

In his closing address to the jury, the senior counsel said the forensic case against Boy A was "overwhelming" but the case against Boy B was different, as there was no forensic evidence connecting him to the scene.

Rather, the prosecution case against Boy B relied on "what came out of his own mouth" in his interviews with gardai.

The accused, known as Boy A and Boy B, have pleaded not guilty before the Central Criminal Court to murdering 14-year-old Ana Kriegel at Glenwood House, Clonee Road, Lucan, on May 14, 2018.

They were 13 years old at the time and cannot be identified because they are children.

Boy A also denies a charge of aggravated sexual assault.

The prosecution closed its case against the accused on Tuesday.

On Friday, Mr Justice Paul McDermott told the jury the trial had moved to a new stage, where the prosecution and defence counsel give their closing speeches. The judge said he will then give his charge to them, which will also contain certain legal principles.

The penultimate witness was Boy B's father. He said his son didn't tell him the full story at the beginning because he "couldn't believe it".

He said he was "shocked and very angry" but the more angry he got the less his son wanted to talk to him.

The man said, in cross-examination, Boy B was "naive", "immature" and was "hungry for friendship".

The man said gardai called to his home around 10pm on May 14, 2018 - the day Ana went missing. His wife answered the door and his son was behind her.

Gardai told them they were looking for a missing girl, he said.

Asked if he remembered his son's expression, the man said he was "kind of surprised". He later described it as his son "wasn't happy being surprised".

Boy B's father said he spoke to his son the next day but he "wasn't really chatty".

He told his son that if he knew something he had better tell gardai.

The father said his son told him Boy A had asked him to bring Ana to the park because she had a crush on him and so they could sort out their relationship.

The man said he went with his son and gardai to the park the next day to establish where he had last seen Ana. He described his son as being "afraid of saying something".

The following day, the man said his wife rang him to tell him Ana's body had been found.

He said it was difficult for his family to understand this tragedy had happened, and that somebody "would do those things to the poor girl".

The dad said he tried to ask his son to "remember every detail" but he "wasn't normally reacting". He wasn't "happy" or "chatty".

As his father, he said that Boy B was not capable of doing anything like that.

He said his son was "scared" and "shocked" and told him he had run away when he saw Boy A attacking Ana. His son also told him he was afraid of Boy A as he had "lots of power".

The man said he asked his son why he didn't tell the full story at the beginning. He said his son told him he couldn't believe it, and secondly he didn't respect him and didn't want to share his truths with him.

The final witness, Garda Joan Sheridan, examined an iPad from Boy A's home. Two images - one of a homemade mask and a second of a person wearing a mask - were shown to the jury. These images had been created on May 2, 2018.

Two more images of a mask with a lot of red around the mouth and pointed teeth were also discovered on a phone found in Boy A's bedroom. They were created in August 2017.

In his closing address to the jury, Mr Grehan alleged there was an "overwhelming forensic case" against Boy A, which not just connected him to the scene but where items belonging to him, from his house, connected him to Ana and the scene.

Mr Grehan said it was the prosecution case there was "no innocent explanation" that could explain away these facts other than Boy A's involvement.

He said the evidence in relation to Boy A pointed in only one way - he was at the scene, he was there when Ana was bleeding, his DNA was on her neck and his semen was on her top. Most significant of all, Mr Grehan added, is that Ana's blood was on Boy A's boots.

Mr Grehan said that lies featured in this case.

He said the prosecution alleges both boys had lied that they last saw Ana in the park.

However, he warned the jury that people can lie for lots of reasons, and it could be wrong to jump to conclusions. They lie out of shame or guilt. He said sometimes they start out lying and they can't get out of it.

During Boy A's interviews with gardai, Mr Grehan said he insisted a statement he gave to gardai about being attacked by two men in the park was the truth. He did not accept it was him in CCTV footage in the park and he told gardai he was not in the abandoned house.

At the end of Boy A's interviews he is asked if he has anything to add and he says "Boy B is lying, that's it".

Mr Grehan said the prosecution case is that Boy A is lying. He said Boy A was like the child who had eaten a biscuit and has chocolate on his mouth but was still saying no, I didn't do it.

A number of CCTV clips were then shown to the jury. Mr Grehan said the CCTV "totally undermines and exposes, the prosecution would say, the suggestions made by both accused".

In relation to Boy B, there was no forensic evidence connecting him to the scene, he said, and the case against Boy B relied on "what came out of his own mouth" in his interviews with gardai.

Mr Grehan said the interviews contained "lies, untruths and half-truths" and told the jury "quite where the lies end or the truth begins will be a matter you will have to decide".

He then went through Boy B's interviews with gardai, saying Boy B had "lied, lied, lied". He said they were "deeply deceitful, devious lies that kept changing".

Mr Grehan said the prosecution case was that Ana was in the house because of Boy B, that he brought her there, and that he bears responsibility for what happened there.

Defence lawyers are due to give their closing addresses to the jury on Monday. The trial continues.

Sunday Independent

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