Kriegel murder sentencing: Ana's life "is and was of supreme importance and is central to this sentence hearing" says judge

Two boys receive jail sentences for Leixlip schoolgirl Ana Kriegel's murder

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Ana Kriegel hearing: Boy A admits causing Ana's death but denies sexual assault

The late Anastasia Kriegel

The teenage boy who murdered and sexually assaulted "lonely and vulnerable" schoolgirl Ana Kriegel in an abandoned house has been sentenced to life with a review after 12 years.

His accomplice, who lured the girl to the abandoned house and watched as she was violently sexually assaulted, has been sentenced to 15 years detention with a review after eight years. Both boys, now aged 15, will be detained at a young offenders detention centre until they turn 18 when they will be moved to an adult prison.

Justice Paul McDermott delivered his sentence today at the Central Criminal Court and turned to the boys as he told them: "Both of you will be required to serve lengthy periods of detention but you will have the opportunity to return to your families, your community, return to society, when you are relatively young men. When that will be is not yet determined but much depends on your behaviour and attitude over the coming years."

He said they will have the shame of their involvement in Ana's death for the rest of their lives while Ana's family must "bear their grief for the rest of their lives". He told them that they will have an opportunity to reconstruct their lives in a positive way and asked them: "How will you take it? You have the opportunity for a future, a second chance, something you so wrongfully and cruelly denied to Ana Kriegel."

Boy A, dressed in a blue button-up shirt and dark trousers, sat with his parents and grandfathers in the row immediately behind the barristers. In the row behind them sat Boy B with his mother, father and two other family members.

Boy B's father was not at the previous hearing and a barrister for the boy said there had been a falling out over the boy's "failure to deal with matters in the way he expected him to do on the day."

Today, he sat to the left of his son with the boy's mother to the right. Neither boy showed much reaction as Justice McDermott set out the reasons for the sentences. When Boy A's mother heard her son was to be sentenced to life she broke down in tears and Boy A spoke to her quietly. As Boy B was sentenced his father held his head in his hands before putting his arm around his son's shoulders.

In the otherwise quiet, sombre courtroom, Ana's parents Geraldine and Patric were supported by five family and friends. Geraldine occasionally took notes.

Justice McDermott addressed the Kriegel family a number of times, saying on one occasion that criminal trials can seem to focus on the evidence and deflect attention from the victim. But, he said, Ana's life "is and was of supreme importance and is central to this sentence hearing."

He described her as a "lovely and loving child in a loving family" who lived her life with fun and imagination. Her life, he said, was greater than the crimes committed against her and was "full of variety, potential and aspirations." Her death, he said, has left her parents bereft, the consequences are traumatic, devastating and life-long. Her future had been shattered "in the most cruel and painful circumstances." He accepted what Geraldine Kriegel had said in her statement to the court that there is no solace for them.

He added: "The two boys bear responsibility for her murder and, notwithstanding their young age, are responsible for her death and must face the consequences of that."

Setting out the reasons behind the sentence Justice McDermott said the principles when sentencing children are "significantly different in emphasis, purpose and result to those applied to an adult convicted of murder." He said children must be treated differently and the boys' ages are a "substantial mitigating factor that allows the court to deviate substantially" from the mandatory life sentence that would be imposed on an adult convicted of the same crime.

He pointed out that children have an underdeveloped sense of responsibility and some tend to be impetuous or reckless or be bad decision makers. They have a tendency to follow bad influences and he said on several occasions that their personalities have not fully developed and they may be very different as adults to how they were as children or teenagers.

He further noted that in the case of both boys there is no evidence of any mental disorder and no issues were raised during their trials about diminished responsibility. He said they showed reason and understanding during their trials that "make it clear they understood the nature and consequences of their actions in the murder of Ana Kriegel."

He said Ana's murder in a "small, dark, filthy room in a derelict home" was shocking to her family, those who knew her and the wider community. It was, he said, a "murder of the most serious, shocking and disturbing" kind. He pointed to the violence inflicted on her, the ordinariness of the day, the ages of the two boys and the swiftness with which it was carried out. He said the crime was calculated but there was nothing in the background of either boy to suggest they might be capable of such a crime.

Turning to the case of the boy named in the media as Boy A, he said he had come from a loving, caring and stable home. He had not come to the attention of gardai prior to Ana's murder. He has no history of mental illness. He pleaded not guilty at trial and maintained that he did not enter the house where Ana was murdered. Following the guilty verdict he accepted, in interviews with mental health professionals, that he caused her death but said the killing was not intentional and he denied sexually assaulting Ana. He said he had claimed he didn't intend to kill her or to cause serious injury to her and that there had been a "consensual sexual encounter" between himself and Ana.  

Justice McDermott said he is not satisfied that Boy A told the truth and a good degree of what he has said was "self serving" and some was contradicted by the evidence. He said Ana's bra and top were ripped off and the damaged material showed that he had used force. His semen was found on her top and there was evidence of attempted penetration. She was found naked except for a pair of socks and Justice McDermott said there was evidence she had been choked and "dragged around the room" and beaten with a stick and a concrete block while unable to defend herself.

He said he is not satisfied that Boy A demonstrates remorse for the "wrong he has committed, the level of violence employed". He said the boy also doesn't appear to recognise the devastation, sorrow and loss to the Kriegel family and his own family. He added that it may be that the boy finds it difficult to accept what he has done and "how that is to be addressed is an important consideration when considering the length of his detention".

The judge found it difficult to identify mitigating factors for Boy A other than his young age. He had pleaded not guilty, putting the Kriegel family through the "heartache" of the trial in which they had to hear details of the sexual assault. He shows little remorse, Justice McDermott said, and probation services have said he shows limited understanding of what he has done. Boy A described what happened with Ana as a "fight" and said he didn't intend to kill her or cause her serious injury. Justice McDermott said: "This is difficult to reconcile with the awful violence he inflicted on her when she was unable to defend herself."

The evidence during the trial was that Ana was struck several times on the head with a weapon while she lay on the floor. She was then moved to another part of the room where her naked body was found having been sexually assaulted.

Mental health professionals recommended a high level of intervention for the boy over an extended period but also noted that he showed no anti-social traits and no indication that he is callous or unemotional. There was no evidence of a lack of empathy and he is at "low risk" of violent behaviour, according to his psychiatric assessments.

Aggravating factors in respect of both boys, Justice McDermott said, were the planning of the attack and the fact that Boy A was waiting at the house for Ana with his backpack that included a zombie mask, gloves, knee pads, shin guards and a snood.

He said the boys had exploited Ana's interest in Boy A, as they knew she would go with Boy B if she believed Boy A was interested in her. He said the attack was "prolonged, callous and brutal" and the boys knew no-one would come to Ana's aid and nobody would hear her cries for help.

He cited the "mental terror and physical suffering" which he said was of a "very high degree". Following her murder Boy A had invented a story about being attacked by two men and persisted with that story to his parents, a park ranger and gardai. He even went to Garda HQ where he helped to make a photo-fit of the attackers he had invented. He continued to lie during his garda interviews and showed no remorse in the days that followed, Justice McDermott said.

In relation to Boy B, Justice McDermott said his family were hard-working, law-abiding people who emphasised the importance of education for their son. The boy is clever and of above average academic ability. He said the boy did not accept the jury's verdict that he was guilty of murdering Ana and had said he did not bring Ana to the house knowing that she would be killed.

While Boy B showed "a degree of empathy and understanding" he said it is not clear that he is able to fully process the implications of the offence. When considering aggravating factors he said there was evidence that Boy A had told Boy B one month previously that he intended to kill Ana. At the house Boy B watched as Ana's clothing was removed and she was sexually assaulted. Justice McDermott also pointed to the negative view Boy B had of Ana, calling her a "weirdo" among other things during garda interviews.

Justice McDermott said a jury was satisfied that Boy B was involved in the planning of Ana's murder, which involved bringing her to an isolated location where her murder could be carried out. He said Boy B had tricked Ana into believing that Boy A was interested in her and he knew she trusted what he was saying. When she cried out at the house both boys knew she was unlikely to be rescued.

Justice McDermott added: "In the aftermath he did nothing but seek to protect himself. He did not mention her to anyone else and took no steps to help her." Justice McDermott said Boy B was "indifferent to her plight" and acted at all times to protect himself. He lied to gardai, his family, his schoolmates and his school counsellor.

He described the boy as "brazen" in interviews but naive to think his lies wouldn't be exposed.

Justice McDermott further noted that there was no evidence he knew Ana would be sexually assaulted and did not have any part in the attack on Ana.

He added: "I must proceed on the basis that he did not personally physically assault the deceased." He described Boy B's role as "important but lesser" but a jury was "satisfied that he knew what he was doing and what would happen".

Imposing the life sentence for Boy A Justice McDermott said the boy subjected Ana to a "ferocious attack" when she was completely defenceless. He said the sentence was appropriate and that both Boy A and society will benefit from the review after 12 years. Following that review a judge may impose a fixed date term. This, Justice McDermott said, will enable the court to assess his development from a teenager into manhood and he ordered reports to be furnished to the court ahead of the review. He further sentenced Boy A to eight years for aggravated sexual assault.

Boy B, he said, deprived himself of a mitigating factor by pleading not guilty. While he acknowledged the boy had shown limited insights into the impact of his actions and shame and regret for his role in the lead-up to her death, he said that is "far from remorse for the murder which he continues to deny."

He said he did not believe Boy B had told the full story but had, at least, abandoned his initial claim to gardai that he wasn't even in the house where Ana was murdered. While he said Boy B's culpability is "extremely serious" it is of a "significantly different degree to his co-accused."

He pointed out that Boy B did not attack Ana, nor did he sexually assault her and he did not know Boy A would sexually assault her.

Both boys' sentences were backdated to when they were convicted last June.

The two boys, referred to in the media as Boy A and Boy B, were 13 years old when they murdered Ana Kriegel in an abandoned house at Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan on May 14 2018. Now aged 15, they were convicted by unanimous jury verdicts earlier this year. Boy A was also convicted of Ana's aggravated sexual assault in a manner that involved serious violence to her.