Sunday 19 May 2019

Pathologist found 50 areas of injury on Ana's head and body, court hears

Boy B told gardai he believed Boy A's injuries had been inflicted by murder victim Ana, writes Eimear Cotter

Victim: Ana Kriegel died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head and neck, the trial heard
Victim: Ana Kriegel died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head and neck, the trial heard

One of the boys on trial for murdering Ana Kriegel told a guidance counsellor of his theory about what might have happened to the 14-year-old schoolgirl.

It was May 16, 2018 - two days after Ana was reported missing by her parents. Boy B had been helping gardai with their investigation into her disappearance.

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Trial: The scene of the killing at Glenwood House in Lucan. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Trial: The scene of the killing at Glenwood House in Lucan. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

In a conversation with a guidance counsellor, Boy B said that perhaps the two men who had attacked Boy A in the park had either "got, taken, or kidnapped" her.

The counsellor had contacted Boy B to offer her support as she knew he was one of the last people to see Ana.

Boy B told her he had spoken to gardai three times and was "stressed" and "feeling the pressure" of being interviewed by them. Boy B called it an "interrogation".

During their conversation, the counsellor noticed Boy B mentioned "around 10 times" that he was not the last person to see Ana. He told her he'd walked with Ana to the park, but left before her and Boy A.

Ana Kriegel's parents, Geraldine and Patrick Kriegel. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Ana Kriegel's parents, Geraldine and Patrick Kriegel. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Boy B also mentioned "more than once" that Boy A had scratches on his body and those injuries had come from an attack in the park.

She said Boy B was worried about Ana being missing and offered a theory about what had happened to Ana, saying that perhaps the men who attacked Boy A had "got, kidnapped or taken" her.

However, it appears Boy B was doubting Boy A's claim he had been assaulted.

The day after meeting with the counsellor, Boy B told a garda he believed that injuries which Boy A said he received in an assault by two older teens had been inflicted on him by Ana.

When Detective Garda Marcus Roantree met Boy B on May 17, 2018, Ana's body had just been found.

Gda Roantree said Boy B knew Ana's body had been found and told him he was nervous because he was one of the last people seen with her.

Boy B also told him that Boy A had spoken briefly about being assaulted.

Gda Roantree said Boy B told him he believed "Ana did this to him" as Boy A would have had "more marks on his face" if he'd been assaulted by two big guys.

Meanwhile, Boy A was feeling "nervous" and "anxious", another woman who counselled him said.

She was aware Boy A was one of the last people to be seen by Ana. She had also spoken to Boy A's mother, who told her he'd been beaten up in the park.

The witness said Boy A told her about his physical injuries from the assault and the pain he was in.

Ana's name was mentioned during her conversation with Boy A, the witness said. Boy A told her he knew Ana but wasn't her friend. He also said she had asked him out but he'd told her he wasn't interested. She then gave him a look and stormed off.

The witness said she spoke to Boy A a second time, and he told her he was going to complete an evofit, or computer-generated image, of his attackers, with gardai. He also told her he was having trouble sleeping as he was in pain and had "no appetite".

The two youths, aged 13 at the time, have pleaded not guilty before the Central Criminal Court to murdering Ana Kriegel (14) at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road in Lucan on May 14 last year.

Boy A has also denied a charge of aggravated sexual assault. The jury heard this week about gardai finding Ana's body. By Thursday, May 17, Ana had been missing nearly 72 hours.

During that period, gardai from several stations had been joined by more than 50 members of the Civil Defence to search for her. Gardai had also searched local bodies of water and part of the River Liffey.

Sergeant Declan Birchall was in charge of the Divisional Search Team and on the Thursday his team was tasked to search the park where Ana was last seen for any signs of her.

The team of four met up at noon.

There were a number of derelict buildings in the area, and it was planned to search them. The team searched along hedgerows and roadsides before reaching Glenwood House.

Sgt Birchall was searching an outbuilding when a colleague in the main house shouted "find", the signal he may have found something.

Sgt Birchall went into Glenwood House through the back door and into a room at the front of the house.

The house was in very poor condition, and some of the rooms were in a dangerous condition. There was a lot of debris, as well as ash, mounds of rubbish and drink cans.

It was Garda Sean White who found Ana's body.

He was in a room at the front of the house when he saw what he thought was either a mannequin or "something terrible".

The lighting was poor and the room was dark. Gda White took in his surroundings and the smell of dried blood, and realised what he had found. He stepped back, as is procedure, and called out to Sgt Birchall.

Sgt Birchall walked into the room and saw the "body of a female lying on the floor". She was naked except for a pair of black socks.

He could not see Ana's face and he believed there was something across her face.

When he got closer he realised her hair was covering her face "as if she was thrashing her hair and it covered her face", he said.

Sgt Birchall noted blood at Ana's nose and her head was tilted back. There was a ligature or "noose" around her neck and she had three fingers inside it, as if she was "pulling it away".

He checked for signs of life but there were none.

The house was then sealed off and the garda technical team arrived to carry out an examination.

First into the building was Detective Garda Eoin Conway, whose job it was to photograph the scene.

He gave evidence of photographing a concrete block and a piece of timber, both with blood stains, in the room where Ana's body was found. The items were produced in court and shown to the jury by his colleague Detective Garda Seamus O'Donnell.

Both were bloodstained, the garda said, and a nail was protruding from one end of the timber.

There was "a lot of rubbish in the room" and Gda O'Donnell catalogued anything he thought might be of probative value, including an old condom, a condom wrapper, a length of white backing tape, two false nails and an earring.

He said he believed Ana had suffered a "violent assault". This belief was based on the amount of blood visible at the scene where Ana's body was found.

He agreed with prosecutor Brendan Grehan SC that other signs of violence were broken false nails, ripped clothing and a bloody half concrete block, all of which were found at the scene.

Gda O'Donnell also believed Ana was assaulted near the area of heaviest blood staining and moved or was moved to a location at the far wall of the room.

The jury then heard from retired State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy, who said Ana Kriegel died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Before Prof Cassidy gave her evidence, Mr Justice Paul McDermott told the jury he had agreed to an application to excuse the two boys from court during her testimony.

Prof Cassidy said Ana was found dead in a derelict building a few days after she was reported missing.

She was naked and there was evidence she had been violently assaulted in the building where she was found.

The post-mortem examination showed Ana had suffered severe and extensive injuries, which were mostly confined to the head and neck area.

Prof Cassidy also said there was evidence of penetration or attempted penetration of the vagina.

The pathologist identified more than 50 areas of injury on the teenager's head and body.

There were four separate impacts to Ana's head. They could have been caused by a heavy object with a small striking surface, or the corners of a larger object, but she couldn't say.

There was extensive haemorrhaging to the soft tissue at the neck and Ana would have asphyxiated due to compression of the neck.

In cross-examination, Prof Cassidy agreed Ana suffered a "very horrific death".

The trial continues this Tuesday.

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