Ana Kriégel murder: Two boys found guilty in Dublin

image copyrightKriégel family
image captionAna Kriégel's innocence and longing for friendship made her a vulnerable target

Two boys have been found guilty of the murder of a 14-year-old girl in the Republic of Ireland.

Ana Kriégel was found dead in May 2018 in an abandoned house in Dublin, where she had been taken by one of the boys.

The boys, both 13 at the time, denied the charges and were granted anonymity during the trial due to their age, being referred to as Boy A and Boy B.

After a six-week trial, both were found guilty of murder. Boy A was also found guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

Both have been remanded in detention until 15 July while the judge considers their sentences.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott has asked to review both boys' school reports as well as a number of social work reports.

'Murder kit'

Ana's naked body was found with a ligature around the neck in a derelict house three days after she went missing in May 2018.

A former state pathologist identified 50 areas of injury on the schoolgirl's head and body, concluding the cause of her death was blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

On 14 May, Ana had left her house with Boy B in the early evening, thinking she was being taken to meet a boy she liked.

She was taken to the abandoned Glenwood House in Lucan in Dublin, about 3km (1.9 miles) away from her home, where Boy A was waiting.

The journey took 30 minutes.

Boy A attacked and murdered Ana while Boy B watched, the court heard.

image copyrightBrian Lawless/PA
image captionAna was adopted from Russia when she was two by Irish woman Geraldine Kriégel and her French-born husband Patric

Ana's mother told the court she had been immediately concerned when her husband said their daughter had left the house with Boy B because she said Ana had no friends, and no one called for her.

By the time Mrs Kriégel went looking for her about 45 minutes later, she had already been killed.

Ana's innocence and longing for friendship made her a vulnerable target to those who wanted to take advantage of her, the court heard.

Zombie mask

During the trial at Dublin's Central Criminal Court, the boys gave different accounts of what had happened.

Boy A denied ever being in the derelict house but forensic examinations established Ana's blood was on the boots he had been wearing, indicating that he either assaulted her or was very close by when she was attacked.

Her blood was also found on a backpack in his house and on some of its contents - described by police as his "murder kit" - which included a homemade zombie mask, black gloves and a knee pad.

Semen stains on a top found near Ana's body contained Boy A's DNA.

The jury was also shown a long wooden stick and concrete block found at the scene, which were stained with Ana's blood.

'Case has captured public attention'

By Shane Harrison, BBC News NI Dublin correspondent

The Ana Kriégel murder trial shocked and gripped people in the Republic of Ireland.

That was partly because it was every parent's worst nightmare and partly because it revived memories of the Jamie Bulger case, when two 10-year-olds were found guilty of the toddler's 1993 murder in Merseyside in England.

The crime of children murdering children is rare anywhere but no-one can remember a case like this in Ireland.

There will inevitably be a public debate about underage crime and punishment, with calls for parents to take a closer interest in their children's social media and internet use.

Adults found guilty of murder are given automatic life sentences but there are no set guidelines for children.

For the families of all involved, there is unlikely to be an early end to their nightmares.

Boy B's defence counsel told the jury that the boy had been "set up" by his co-accused.

After a number of interviews, Boy B admitted he had been in the house with Ana and Boy A but ran away when Boy A began raping Ana.

During questioning, Boy A said he had been with Ana on 14 May but when police told him Ana's parents reported her missing at 20:00 local time he denied being with her in the run-up to that time.

image copyrightKriégel family
image captionAna's parents described her as a "dream come true"

Boy A returned home that evening with a number of injuries and claimed he was attacked by two men in the local park where he had last seen Ana.

Ana's parents Patric and Geraldine Kriégel, who had been in court each day of the trial, hugged and wept with friends as the verdicts were delivered.

Outside court, Mr Kriégel described their daughter as "our strength".

"Ana was a dream come true for us and she always will be," said her mother.

"She'll stay in our hearts forever loved and be forever cherished.

"We love you, Ana."

Boy B's father left the room immediately after the verdict, slamming the door before returning shortly afterwards, clapping and loudly stating: "An innocent child is going to prison."

Both Boy A and Boy B's mothers wept and held their sons before they were taken away by police.

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