Thursday 17 October 2019

Profile: Ana Kriegel loved sparkle and colour and just wanted a friend

Schoolgirl Ana Kriegel
Schoolgirl Ana Kriegel
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

BEING a 14-year-old girl isn’t easy. It certainly wasn’t easy for Anastasia Kriegel.

Known as "Ana", she was the beloved daughter of Patric and Geraldine Kriegel, and had been adopted by them from Russia when she was two and a half years old.

Ana loved dancing, and spent hours in the family’s front room "listening to music, dancing, practising her moves and singing". Ana was unique and "full of fun", Mr Kriegel said.

Mrs Kriegel said Ana was tall and strong, looked older than her years and "could pass for an 18 year old". She could also "swim like nobody I’ve ever seen," she said. Ana was a happy child, but her parents told gardai she was a "changed girl" after she hit puberty and was a "handful". She loved primary school and had been excited about going to secondary school.

However, a teacher in her primary school had expressed concern to Mrs Kriegel that Ana was "so vulnerable and innocent in her manner" that others may tease her or make a mockery of her. 

Her excitement about secondary school soon changed and she got "stressed" which was not like her at all, her father said.

Ana Kriegel
Ana Kriegel

Mrs Kriegel said her daughter was "bullied endlessly" in secondary school. The court heard Ana had told her father she felt invisible. She began to engage in attention-seeking antics, and had set up some fake online accounts bullying herself. The school discovered the accounts were fake and she eventually owned up.

She had self-harmed after she was suspended from school and she had attended counselling, but her counsellor had no concerns for her. However, the family was advised to bring and collect Ana from school as she was "so terrified of the bullies". Mr Kriegel said Ana could not hate anyone even though some of the people concerned were bullying her.

Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)
Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)

She was quite often disappointed, she would try to make friends but was impulsive and would say the wrong thing. "She was a teenager," he said.

Ana was very happy at home with her family, but she "craved" friendship, a best friend her own age, her mother said. Unfortunately, it just didn’t seem to happen for her. As a result, Mrs Kriegel was immediately suspicious when told Boy B had called for Ana on the day she disappeared, because "nobody called for Ana. She had no friends."

Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)
Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)

Asked by gardai interviewers about Ana, Boy B said she was "outcasted" because she was "different" and "weird". She was a "lonely and sad person" and had been through depression quite a bit, he said.

Boy B said Ana was a goth and dressed all in black, usually in "slutty clothes", like tight trousers, short shorts and t-shirts.

Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)
Ana Kriegel (Photo: RTE)

"If you asked her to hang out she’d probably say no," Boy B said.

Asked what he thought of her, Boy B said he "thought of her as a weirdo. Someone I shouldn’t be around".

The way Boy B spoke about Ana - the girl who loved sparkle and colour and who just wanted a friend - must have hurt the Kriegel family deeply.

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