Friday 23 August 2019

Teen was 'bullied endlessly', mother tells murder trial

Ana Kriegel was tall and strong and looked older than her years
Ana Kriegel was tall and strong and looked older than her years
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

The mother of schoolgirl Ana Kriegel has said she was "a loner" who found it difficult to make friends and was "bullied endlessly" in secondary school.

Geraldine Kriegel told the trial of two 14-yer-old boys, accused of murdering her daughter, that Ana was adopted from Russia by herself and husband Patrick when she was two-and-a-half-years old.

Ms Kriegel said Ana "loved dancing" and spent hours in their front room "listening to music, dancing, practising her moves and singing".

She told the Central Criminal Court how Ana loved primary school, and was happy, though she had a few difficulties in sixth class.

Ana had a tumour in her right ear, which had to be removed, and she had hearing difficulties, so she was always "standing on the right-hand side of people". She also had problems with her eye sight and had worn glasses until she started wearing contact lenses, as she couldn't do all her dance moves with her glasses on.

Ms 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".

Ms Kriegel said that Ana had been excited about going to secondary school in September 2017, but a teacher in her primary school had expressed concern to her that Ana was "so vulnerable and innocent in her manner" that others may tease or make a mockery of her, or take advantage of her.

Ms Kriegel said she expressed these concerns to the principal of Ana's secondary school. There had been problems the summer before secondary school, and Ana had received "awful, explicit messages".

Ms Kriegel said she was concerned about cyber bullying so she checked Ana's phone and iPad every night.

Ana didn't like this "too much" but she knew she would lose these devices if she didn't show them to her mother.

Ms Kriegel also said Ana would post videos online, some of her tap dancing and with her niece. She received some nasty comments, including one which told her to "go die" and another who said he would have Ana executed.

Ms Kriegel had also been concerned about a picture on her daughter's phone of Ana blindfolded and tied to a chair. However, this had just been a prank between her and her friend. They had sent the picture to a boy she liked in the hope he would come and rescue her.

Ms Kriegel also said Ana was a "loner" and had self-harmed after she was suspended from school.

However, Ms Kriegel felt Ana was more likely copying a friend who had expressed suicidal thoughts, and though she went to counselling her counsellors 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".

Ms Kriegel also said Ana "volunteered for everything" but was "bullied endlessly" in secondary school.

She will continue to give evidence this morning.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News