Tuesday 20 August 2019

Ana's blood found on Boy A's boots, trial told

Boy A denied being in the room where schoolgirl Ana Kriegel's body was found, writes Eimear Cotter

GRIM: Gardai at the derelict house where Ana Kriegel’s body was found, almost exactly a year ago. Photo: Caroline Quinn
GRIM: Gardai at the derelict house where Ana Kriegel’s body was found, almost exactly a year ago. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Ana Kriegel
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

Garda interviewer Tomas Doyle showed a boy accused of murdering schoolgirl Ana Kriegel a photograph of his boots.

It was during interview three out of six interviews which gardai conducted with the teenager, known as Boy A, a week after Ana's body was found.

The boots had been given by Boy A's parents to gardai investigating an alleged assault on him in the park on the same day Ana disappeared.

Gda Doyle told Boy A his boots had been examined and Ana's blood was found on them.

"Are you joking me?" Boy A asked.

"No," said Gda Doyle.

"Are you actually being serious?" Boy A asked.

Gda Doyle said he wouldn't joke about something like that.

Boy A then asked if he could get some air and he was handed a glass of water.

Gda Doyle told Boy A he wanted to be clear this was "serious and significant".

Boy A responded: "I am aware."

Gda Doyle put it to Boy A the blood on his boots put him in the room where Ana's body was found.

"Were you in this room?" Gda Doyle asked.

"No," said Boy A.

Boy A and his co-accused Boy B, aged 13 at the time, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Ana Kriegel (14) at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road in Lucan on May 14 last year. Boy A also denies aggravated sexual assault.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Detective Garda Marcus Roantree arrested Boy A on suspicion of murder at 8.07am on May 24, 2018, and he was detained for questioning.

Over the next two days, gardai conducted six interviews with Boy A. Present during the interviews were Boy A, his father, his solicitor Donough Molloy, Det Gda Roantree and Det Gda Doyle.

Prosecution counsel Gerardine Small BL led Gda Doyle through the interviews with Boy A, which were read to the jury last week.

In interview one, Boy A told Gda Doyle he was interested in drawing. When asked if he was interested in drawing live people, he replied: "No, more evolutionary."

During the second interview, Gda Doyle showed Boy A some CCTV clips. When shown a clip of two males, Boy A said "they look like the lads that beat me up".

In the third interview, Boy A was shown footage of a male walking in the park, and wearing gloves and a backpack.

Asked if he had anything to say about that individual, Boy A said: "I think that might be one of the lads who attacked me."

Gda Doyle told Boy A that gardai believed he was the male in this CCTV footage.

Boy A denied it was him.

He said a statement he previously gave about being assaulted in the park by two men on the same day Ana disappeared was "the truth".

The fourth interview began around 9pm on May 24, 2018. Gda Doyle showed Boy A photographs of the room where Ana's body was found.

When Gda Doyle pointed out blood in a photo, Boy A responded: "Oh, that's blood, my God."

Interview four finished after Boy A's solicitor, Mr Molloy, said his client was "very distressed", was only 13 and had been in the garda station since 8am.

The fifth interview began at 11.37am on May 25, 2018. Boy A was told gardai had examined his mobile phone and retrieved data from a Safari search engine.

Boy A responded: "That's not possible as I don't have Safari on my phone."

An exhibit was shown to Boy A during the interview. It was a screenshot of a list of videos saved on February 14, 2018, and included "15 most gruesome torture methods in history", "horror movies that will blow everyone away" and "10 top sexiest video game characters of 2017".

When asked what he was doing, Boy A said he was "looking for horror movies online".

This was an interest of his, specifically ghost horror movies.

Asked what he typed into the search engine, Boy A said: "Horror movies."

A second printout was shown to Boy A. This data was also retrieved from his phone and included entries for "Mega Mastadon", "creepy forward-facing skull", "printable gift vouchers" and "abandoned places in Lucan".

Asked if he remembered this, Boy A told gardai: "If it was something I looked up regularly it would come up recommended".

During the sixth interview, sections of Boy B's interviews with gardai were put to Boy A. Asked if he wanted to make any clarifications, Boy A said: "[Boy B] is lying, that's it."

This past week, the prosecution has primarily focused on its case against Boy A, specifically the forensic evidence against him.

John Hoade, an expert in blood pattern and DNA analysis with Forensic Science Ireland, gave evidence that Ana was struck several times with a weapon as she lay on the floor in a derelict farmhouse.

Ana "bled from her injuries" and Mr Hoade agreed there was "quite an amount of blood", which matched the DNA profile taken from Ana during the post-mortem examination.

In the corner on the left side when you entered the room the impact spatter on the wall and the saturation staining on the carpet indicated that Ana was "struck several times with a weapon" in this location.

The saturation blood staining on the carpet indicated Ana lay in that position for some time after she was assaulted, though Mr Hoade could not say for how long.

Ana's body subsequently moved or was moved to the back of the room, where her body was found.

In later evidence, Mr Hoade said a pair of boots worn by Boy A on the day Ana disappeared had her blood on them.

Mr Hoade examined the soles and upper parts of the boots for blood staining. There were nine separate areas of blood staining which were sampled for DNA and the DNA matched that of Ana Kriegel.

Mr Hoade said some of the staining on the boots could be identified as blood spatter. This occurs when external force is applied to a source of liquid blood, which then falls on a surface.

The blood spatter on Boy A's right boot indicated Boy A "either assaulted Ana or was in very close proximity when she was assaulted", Mr Hoade told the jury.

Ana's blood was also found on a backpack, gloves, a mask and knee pads which gardai seized from Boy A's home.

Gardai gave evidence of obtaining a warrant and searching Boy A's home on May 24, 2018. During the search, gardai took a total of 59 exhibits, including a backpack found in Boy A's wardrobe.

The backpack contained a mask, black woollen gloves, black plastic knee pads, black plastic shin pads, and a black woollen snood.

Mr Hoade examined the backpack and its contents on June 11, 2018. There was blood staining on the inside and outside of the backpack, and the DNA matched Ana's DNA.

He described the mask as a "half mask" which had a hole for the eyes and nose and stopped at the mouth where there was a jagged area. It had what appeared to be "simulated blood" around the mouth and there was an elastic band so it could be secured.

Mr Hoade said there was blood staining on the mask and it, too, matched Ana's DNA. He examined the area around the nose and mouth of the mask for any DNA, and the mixed-profile DNA sample matched that of Ana and Boy A. Ana's DNA was also found on blood on the knee pads and gloves.

Dr Charlotte Murphy, also from Forensic Science Ireland, looked for male specific DNA on a neck swab taken from Ana. Dr Murphy said this male specific DNA matched Boy A's DNA profile. The possibility of this DNA being from someone unrelated to Boy A was one in 7,160, she said.

Cross-examined by Patrick Gageby SC, Dr Murphy agreed it was possible this DNA transfer was caused by "casual intimacy".

The trial continues.

Sunday Independent

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