Thursday 18 July 2019

Profile: Ana Kriegel's parents 'showed enormous grace' during murder trial

Ana Kriegel’s parents, Geraldine and Patric Kriegel arriving at the Criminal Courts of Justice (Brian Lawless/PA)
Ana Kriegel’s parents, Geraldine and Patric Kriegel arriving at the Criminal Courts of Justice (Brian Lawless/PA)
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

IT’S easy to forget, particularly in the brouhaha of a murder trial, that schoolgirl Ana Kriegel is dead just over a year.

Indeed, Ana’s parents Patric and Geraldine Kriegel, marked the first anniversary of their daughter’s passing in the middle of the trial. As the two accused are children, and are entitled to the expeditious hearing of their case, the matter came to trial much sooner than murder trials involving adult suspects.

As a result, the events of that fateful day must still be fresh in the minds of Ana’s parents.

Mr and Mrs Kriegel attended every day of the trial - including the days of legal argument in the absence of the jury.

They have been supported by family and friends, as well as a representative from the Victim Support Service, who has sat with them and guided them through proceedings.

It can’t be easy listening to the intimate details of your daughter’s life laid bare in a courtroom - and then in the media for all the world to read.

Ana Kriegel’s parents, Geraldine and Patric Kriegel (Brian Lawless/PA)
Ana Kriegel’s parents, Geraldine and Patric Kriegel (Brian Lawless/PA)

Indeed Boy A’s lawyer, Patrick Gageby SC, in his closing speech, remarked of the “enormous grace” the couple had shown during the trial. Mr Gageby said the death of a child is every parent’s worst nightmare, particularly when death is sudden, unforeseen and violent. 

By and large, the couple have remained calm, stoic and in control, and Mrs Kriegel has been seen writing in a A4 pad.

They’ve broken down crying a number of times. They found the evidence of pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy particularly difficult to hear. During a break in Prof Cassidy’s evidence, Mrs Kriegel’s heart-wrenching sobs could be heard throughout the courtroom.

Both of them gave evidence in the trial. Patric Kriegel told the court he was from Paris and had been a lecturer in French at DIT before retiring and becoming a homemaker.

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

Mrs Kriegel worked in CIE, the court heard.

It is clear the couple had built a very happy home - again Mr Gageby remarked upon that - and Mr Kriegel said Ana often told him and her mother that she never wanted to leave it.

Ana and her mother were clearly close, and even though she didn’t like mornings, the schoolgirl liked her mother to wake her up before she went to work. Mrs Kriegel kissed Ana goodbye on the day she disappeared - little knowing it would be the last time she’d see her daughter alive.

Mrs Kriegel gave evidence that she was immediately worried about Ana when she didn’t answer her phone or respond to texts on the day she disappeared. 

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

With a soft smile on her face, Mrs Kriegel said it was unusual for her daughter not to answer her phone, saying Ana was the type who, if she was annoyed with her, she’d respond to a text, saying “I’m not answering you”.

As the jury returned its guilty verdicts in the trial of Boy A and Boy B, it can only be hoped that the Kriegel family can finally mourn the loss of Ana.

It should be noted that - in the midst of their grief last year - Mr and Mrs Kriegel asked mourners that donations be made to the Russian Irish Adoption Group (RIAG).

Through those donations, the RIAG was able to set up a website, so members and others have a resource and a network available.

The RIAG has also set up a network for Russian Irish teenagers. It’s called ANA (Ana’s Network of Adolescents) and it seems like a fitting tribute to the teen, who was described during her memorial service as being “caring, kind, strong-willed” and “sometimes cheeky”.

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