ANA KRIEGEL MURDER TRIAL: Father of one of accused boys said son "is not capable of doing anything like that"

Central Criminal Court

ANA KRIEGEL MURDER TRIAL UPDATE: Father of boy accused of murdering Kildare schoolgirl said son "is not capable of doing anything like that"

The late Anastasia (Ana) Kriegel

The father of one of the boys accused of murdering Anastasia Kriegel said his son "is not capable of doing anything like that" and said the boy lied to gardai and his parents because he was afraid of his co-accused. 

The prosecution has completed its evidence in the trial. Lawyers for Boy A indicated they are not calling any witnesses and Donal Colgan SC for Boy B said an issue arises that will be dealt with by Justice Paul McDermott. The jury will return on Thursday.

The accused, who are both 14, cannot be named because they are minors. They have each pleaded not guilty to murdering the 14-year-old Kildare schoolgirl at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan on May 14 last year. Boy A is further charged with Ana's aggravated sexual assault in a manner that involved serious violence to her. He has pleaded not guilty to that count also.

On the final day of prosecution evidence Boy B's father told Brendan Grehan SC for the prosecution: "As his father I know he is not capable of doing anything like that."

His son was also afraid of Boy A, he said, and believed that if he revealed what happened Boy A would "find him and beat him up or something".

The witness said he was working on May 14, the day Ana went missing. He arrived home that evening at about 5.15pm and watched a soccer match on the television. At half-time he asked Boy B if he wanted to watch the rest of the match but Boy B was in his room watching Japanese Anime cartoons and wasn't interested in the game. 

At about 9.30pm or 10pm gardai called. Boy B's mother spoke to them at the door while Boy B stood behind her. The witness didn't get involved in the conversation but he became aware gardai were looking for a missing girl. He said Boy B was surprised but not frightened.

He added: "He was not happy being surprised." He discovered that his son was one of the last people to be seen with the missing girl.

The following day Boy B's father asked him what happened and the boy explained that Boy A had asked him to get Ana to come to the park because she had a crush on Boy A and he wanted to "sort out the relationship". The witness said he smiled when he heard this. He didn't take it seriously, he said, adding: "I took them as kids."

His son explained to him that he left Ana with Boy A at the BMX track and later saw Ana again in the park but she seemed upset and didn't talk to him.They also spoke about an alleged assault on Boy A in the park later that same evening. The witness said the park is peaceful and is protected by rangers and cameras. They had used it as a family park for many years so he was surprised to hear that two males had attacked Boy A without reason.

He said: "I asked why did they attack him and [Boy B) said [Boy A] could do some stupid things, like say something rude."

The witness also found it "strange" that Boy A had no marks on his face. He said: "Normally males go for the face so it was suspicious."

On the Wednesday, two days after Ana's disappearance, Boy B went with his father and gardai to the park to show where he saw Boy A and Ana that evening. Gardai took notes and used GPS equipment to track their movements. The witness said his son appeared to be "frightened of saying something". 

He said: "I asked him, 'if you know anything please say it to the guards, they will understand'." His son went over to some bushes and was picking up leaves and throwing them away. The witness said to him: "You want to say something." Boy B said, "no."

When the witness asked why Boy A did not get Ana himself Boy B said he didn't want to show his face in front of Ana's parents or he was trying to keep a secret. "Something like that," the witness said.

The following day he found out that Ana's body had been found in an abandoned building. His wife was crying hysterically. The witness asked his son about the abandoned house and if he knew anything about Ana but he said Boy B "wasn't very chatty". The witness added: "It was very difficult for all of us to understand how this happened, this tragedy, that somebody could do those things to the poor girl."

He said he tried to get his son to "jog his memory" and remember every detail. But his son "wasn't kind of normally reacting". He added: "He wasn't happy. He wasn't chatty. I know he was trying to say something but he didn't want to say anything to me."

He added: "As his father I know he is not capable of doing anything like that." He said he had tried to get his son to "grow as a man" but he wasn't interested in "fights or sports. He likes different activities like puzzles and Lego and Transformers."

The witness agreed with Mr Grehan that his son also made weapons, including a bow and arrow and a spear or javelin. He said he helped his son with these activities, adding: "I was happy he was doing something with his hands rather than sitting in front of the computer like he used to."

The witness said he was "shocked" when his son was arrested on suspicion of Ana's murder and held in a garda station overnight for questioning. The following day the witness found out that his son was in the abandoned house where Ana's body was found. He asked his son why he had not told the "full story". Boy B, he said, told him he doesn't respect him and didn't want to "share his truth with me". The witness was "shocked and very angry", he said, but the more angry he got the less his son wanted to talk to him. 

Boy B later told his father he was afraid of Boy A. He said he went along to the abandoned house to see some "kissing" but when he saw Boy A attack Ana he ran away. His son told him that he didn't tell any adults because he was scared, shocked and "didn't believe it". He didn't tell his father, he said, because he knew he would be angry and start shouting. The witness added: "He said he didn't have much trust in me at that stage, or he didn't want to make us angry." 

The witness was also asked about Tescon branded tape that he said he used for work. It is, he said, an expensive tape costing about e35 per role and it is designed for securing and insulating membranes around windows and doors. He was frustrated with his son when he told him he had given some of the tape to Boy A to make a grip for a toy and warned him not to take anything from his shed without asking his permission. When gardai later searched his home they asked about the tape and so he knew it must have something to do with Ana.

Under cross-examination the witness told Donal Colgan SC for Boy B that his son was "lazy" when it came to sports.  "He didn't like it at all," he said. "He didn't like to do any muscle activities." He also described his son as "naive, like a child." He played with Pokemon cards and tended to believe everything his friends were saying.

His son was also afraid of Boy A, he said, and believed that if he revealed what happened between Boy A and Ana, Boy A would "find him and beat him up or something".

Garda Joan Sheridan told Mr Grehan that she examined downloads taken from electronic equipment seized at the homes of the two accused and a phone associated with Ana. On an Apple iPad seized from Boy A's home she found images of a homemade mask. In one of the pictures the person wearing the mask had black hair and appeared to have a bandage on one arm. An iPhone taken from Boy A's home contained images of a person wearing a mask with a lot of red around the mouth and sharp pointed teeth. When she searched a phone associated with Boy B, which was not a smart phone, she found nothing of relevance.

On Ana's phone she found an image that appeared to show Ana seated on a chair in a sitting room with a television and bookcase in the background. Ana was fully clothed wearing a black t-shirt with some glitter writing on the front, black trousers and black boots.

Her feet appeared to be bound together and a bandana was covering her eyes. She had sellotape across her chest. There was also a video of Ana walking through an abandoned house. She was talking to someone and at the end she said: "I will get back to you."

The witness agreed with Mr Grehan that it was like a documentary and was created on February 14, 2018. She further agreed with Patrick Gageby SC for Boy A that the photograph on Ana's phone was taken on May 6, 2018.
The trial will continue on Thursday when the jury of eight men and four women return.

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