Saturday 25 May 2019

'I won't be long' - Ana Kriegel's last words to father, murder trial hears

'I won't be long' were her last words to him - but mum texted 'home now' when she heard about boy

‘Smiling’: Ana Kriegel was happy, her father said
‘Smiling’: Ana Kriegel was happy, her father said

Andrew Phelan and Eimear Cotter

Ana Kriegel's father has said she gave him a "big smile" and seemed happy when she left their home with one of the boys accused of murdering her on the day she disappeared.

Patric Kriegel said his daughter's last words to him were "I won't be long", and he was not alarmed and believed she meant it.

Her mother Geraldine Kriegel told the Central Criminal Court jury she texted Ana "home now" when her daughter failed to answer her mobile phone shortly after she was last seen by her family.

Ms Kriegel said she was "immediately concerned" when she returned from work to find Ana had left the house with a boy.

The trial of Boy A and Boy B, who are accused of Ana's murder, also heard that before her death she had engaged in "attention seeking" and had set up fake online accounts to "bully herself".

The youths, aged 13 at the time, have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ana (14) at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road in Lucan on May 14 last year. Her naked body was found at the derelict farmhouse three days after she was reported missing.

Bereaved parents: Geraldine and Patric Kriegel leave court yesterday. Photo: Collins
Bereaved parents: Geraldine and Patric Kriegel leave court yesterday. Photo: Collins

Boy A has also denied aggravated sexual assault.

It is the prosecution's case that Boy B "lured" Ana to the house and then watched "voyeuristically" as the other boy sexually assaulted and murdered her.

Happy

Mr Kriegel told the court Ana was a "happy child" before she went to secondary school, after which she got "stressed".

His daughter was unique and "full of fun", but he thought people misunderstood her and she was bullied.

Ana had told her father she felt invisible and "began to engage in attention-seeking antics".

She was "quite good at IT" had "set up some online accounts, fake accounts bullying herself".

The school discovered the accounts were fake and she eventually owned up.

Ana's phone activity was supervised and she knew if she did not let her mother do this, there would be "no more phone".

She would go out walking with her headphones on, listening to music, and initially her parents would know where she was through the Find My iPhone app.

However, she left the Family Sharing on the app "and then I couldn't see where she was", Mr Kriegel said. There was a strict rule that she could not stay out after dark.

Mr Kriegel said Ana was extremely happy at home but had not managed to make any friends of her own and that was a "source of some unhappiness for her".

On the day she disappeared, Mr Kriegel was in the back garden and heard the front doorbell ring at around 4.55pm.

He went into the hall and Ana was whispering at the front door, but "that was not unusual because a lot of teenagers seem to whisper".

This did not last long and she went back upstairs and came down wearing a distinctive black hoodie top with white writing.

"I said, 'Ana, you know you are supposed to study' because she had exams the following week," Mr Kriegel said.

"She said, 'What? Nobody told me that,' and I said, 'OK but don't be long' and she answered me back, 'No, I won't be long.' I believe that she meant it. I knew from the way she was saying it.

"She gave me a big smile when she left, she was happy," he said.

Mr Kriegel did not know who she was talking to but learned the boy's name.

He had forgotten to ask where she was going and went to the front room to look out and saw they were going in the direction of the park.

The boy was smaller than her and was wearing a small backpack.

Mr Kriegel was "not particularly alarmed" at how she had left as she was smiling.

Ms Kriegel gave evidence that she returned home from work about 5.20pm on May 14. She had earlier missed a phone call from Ana at 4.02pm and again at 4.03pm but she was in a meeting and couldn't answer.

Ms Kriegel said she rang Ana around 5.10pm when she was on the train home from work, but Ana hadn't answered.

"Where's Ana?" she asked when she got home.

Her husband told her Ana had left the house with Boy B.

"What was he doing with Ana?" she asked her husband. "He has nothing to do with her."

Ms Kriegel said "nobody called for Ana" because she had "no friends".

She said she immediately texted Ana: "Home now."

Again there was no answer, so Ms Kriegel said she texted Ana: "Answer me now or I'm calling the police."

Ms Kriegel said she was torn between feeling like a paranoid and an over-protective mother.

She then asked her husband what direction Ana had gone when she left home and she went searching the area, but couldn't find Ana.

She thought Ana might still be with Boy B, but she said she "couldn't see her anywhere".

A friend, a retired detective, told her to go to gardaí and around 9pm she went to Leixlip Garda station.

Ms Kriegel said it was unusual for Ana not to answer her phone.

She spent the next three days searching for Ana, and she later identified her daughter's body in the Dublin city morgue.

Ms Kriegel said the family had a party on the day before Ana went missing. They'd had pizza and Ana had gone to the chip shop to get a spice bag because she didn't like pizza.

Video

Ana had later gone upstairs and created a long video for YouTube.

On May 14, Ms Kriegel said, she went upstairs to wake Ana before she went to work. She kissed her goodbye and Ana asked her to write a note for school to allow her to attend her counsellor later that day.

Ms Kriegel agreed with Damien Colgan SC, for Boy B, in cross-examination that she found a condom under Ana's pillow a week before her disappearance.

She said when she was questioned by gardaí after the disappearance, her mind was "frantic".

Cross-examined by Patrick Gageby SC, for Boy A, she said Ana could get angry and throw things around the room, but she "wouldn't hurt a fly".

The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of eight men and four women.

Irish Independent

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