“You would see other girls walking in groups, and Ana would be walking alone.”
- Geraldine Kriégel
It was the 14th of May 2018. A Monday. Fourteen year old Ana Kriégel had just two weeks left in school before the summer vacation was due to begin but she had exams to sit before that. Ana lived in Leixlip, Kildare, Ireland with her mother Geraldine, father Patric and brother Aaron.
Ana was born in Novokuznetsk, a city in western Siberia, Russia but was adopted when she was just two years old. Geraldine and Patric adopted her and brought her to Ireland in 2006. She was their first child and was a very much loved and longed for child. Geraldine and Patric kept her name, Anastasia, and wanted her to know about and embrace the Russian culture. Geraldine was Irish and Patric was French so they understood how important it would be for Ana to know about the country she came from and the culture.
Even though Ana was just fourteen, she was 5'8" with sallow skin, a slim build and striking good looks so she looked a lot older than she was. But while she may have looked older, she was still very much just a child. Ana was an innocent and vulnerable young girl. She had a family who absolutely adored her but she desperately wanted to make friends with children her own age.
Ana was beautiful, kind, smart and friendly but that did not stop her from being bullied. She was savagely bullied in primary school by boys and girls and all she wanted was to have a few good friends. Even though the bullying had a deep impact on Ana's life, she still tried to fill her days with fun. She loved to dance and swim and make YouTube videos.
As Ana got older, the bullying got worse and became more sexual in nature. There were nasty comments written under some of her YouTube videos and there was one incident that happened on Halloween that caused Ana great distress. As she walked home from a volunteer job, four boys surrounded her. One repeatedly asked her for sex and another hit her on the backside.
At one point , things had gotten so bad for Ana that she self harmed and her parents found a counseling group for her so that she could get some professional help.
That day, the 14th of May, was a school day for Ana. Geraldine was up first as she had work that day. Patric was retired so he would be at home and would be there when Ana left for school and when she got home. Geraldine gave Ana a note for school. She needed a note so that she could leave school early, at 2.30pm, to attend her counseling appointment.
Geraldine kissed Ana goodbye and left to get the train to Dublin. She had a meeting that day.
Ana was supposed to have lunch at school that day before leaving at 2.30pm but she decided to have lunch at home instead. She went to counseling and went straight back home after it.
Ana rang Geraldine around 4.02pm. But Geraldine was still at her meeting so could not answer. She sent Ana a text message and told her she would call her soon.
Patric was in their back garden when he heard the doorbell at 4.55pm. There was a boy at the door and he wanted to speak to Ana. Patric told Ana. She spoke with the boy for a minute or two at the door and then told Patric she was going out and that she wouldn't be long.
Patric , realising he forgot to ask here where she was going, walked to the front door. He saw her walk towards St Catherine's Park but she was walking behind the boy and they did not appear to be talking.
At 5.10pm, Geraldine called Ana as she was on the way home from work. There was no reply. When Geraldine got home, Patric was in the back garden and he told her a boy called to the house and Ana went out with him. Geraldine was worried:
“Nobody calls for Ana.”
Geraldine sent Ana a text message at 5.30 pm:
Geraldine did not get a text message back. She sent another one just a few minutes later:
“Answer me now or I’m calling the police.”
It had only been a half an hour since Ana left the house but Geraldine was concerned so she walked to the park but Ana wasn't there. She left it for a while and headed out again to look for Ana. This time, she drove around different estates but she couldn't find Ana anywhere.
Patric and Geraldine reported Ana missing to the police at 8pm that night. They told them a boy had called to the house and the police went to his house to speak to him. He told police that he was with Ana earlier, they went to the park but he left at 5.40pm and he didn't know where Ana went after that.
Police spoke to the boy again the next day. He told them he called for Ana as his friend had asked him to.
He told police that Ana had a crush on his friend but he didn't like Ana so he wanted to meet her to let her know. He walked with Ana to the park and left her with his friend and went home.
Police asked both of the boys to retrace their steps and show them where they went at the park. But it seemed to conflict with earlier statements they had given so the police took them to the station to be questioned. Both of them told police that they saw Ana and were with her at the park but they didn't know where she was now. The boy who met Ana in the park said that he was attacked by two men on the way home and police noted that he had visible injuries. He said that he had no idea where Ana went after he left her.
A huge search for Ana took place and on the Thursday, the 17th of May, a devastating discovery was made. At a derelict farmhouse, less than 1km away from St Catherine's Park, police found Ana's body.
Ana's body was found in a room in the farmhouse. The windows had been boarded up and just a small bit of light got past one of the boards. Police were not sure at first if it was a mannequin or Ana. Ana was naked except for a pair of black socks. Her hair covered her face and she had been viciously and violently beaten to death. Ana had sustained fatal blunt force injuries to her head and neck and she had been sexually assaulted. Insulation tape had been wrapped around Ana's neck and three of her fingers were inside it. Ana had fought for her life. Her false nails had come off and were scattered around the room. Ana's clothes were also found in the house.
Police found a large stick and a cement block near Ana's body. There was blood on both and blood on the walls and the floor.
It was determined that Ana had died from blunt force trauma to the head and neck. The Autopsy also revealed there had been penetration, or attempted penetration, of the vagina with something.
Police believed that Ana had been beaten with the heavy stick and then struck with the concrete block before being sexually assaulted.
The blood and fingerprints that were found inside the derelict house all belonged to Ana but a semen stain was found on her top.
Police spoke to the two boys again. Due to their age, they were both thirteen at the time, they could not be identified so they became known as Boy A and Boy B. Boy B is the boy who called to Ana's house to collect her that day, the 14th of May. After a number of interviews, Boy B changed his story.
Boy B told the police that he was at the derelict farmhouse and that he heard Ana scream so he left. He said that the scream was really loud and then became muffled "like someone covered her mouth.” Boy B later added more to the story and said that he saw Boy A "kind of flip" Ana and pull her clothes off. Ana was crying and saying:
“No, no. Don’t do this.”
Police told Boy A what Boy B had said but Boy A said that Boy B was lying. But police didn't need Boy A to say anything as they had enough evidence to charge Boy A as Ana's blood was found on his boots and the semen stain that was found on Ana's top was a match to Boy A's DNA.
Police found a number of pornographic images on Boy A's phone including one for Russian girls and one with a girl called Anastasia and YouTube videos such as “The 15 most gruesome torture methods in history” and “Horror films that will blow everything away.”
They also found that a search had been carried out on his phone for:
“abandoned places in Lucan.”
Police found Boy A's backpack in his bedroom. Inside the backpack, they found a mask, gloves, knee pads, shinguards and a snood. The mask was skin colored and the eyes and nose holes had been cut out. Sharp teeth had been cut into the upper jaw and painted red.
Police found Ana’s blood on the inside and outside of the mask. Ana's blood was also found on the gloves, backpack and knee pads.
Police questioned Boy B further. Boy B told police that Boy A told him a month before Ana's murder that he wanted to kill Ana but Boy B thought he was joking. Police now believed they had enough to also charge Boy B.
Police charged Boy A with murder and aggravated sexual assault and they charged Boy B with murder. Police had a lot of evidence against Boy A such as Ana's blood found on his items and the match to the semen stain on her top but they didn't have the same evidence for Boy B. They needed to prove that he knew that the plan that day was to murder Ana. To do that, they used his interviews that he gave to police and played the videos for the Jury.
The Jury deliberated for almost 15 hours.
They found Boy A guilty of the murder and aggravated sexual assault of Ana, and they found Boy B guilty of her murder.
Boy A was sentenced to life in prison and that will be reviewed after 12 years. He also received a sentence of 8 years for the aggravated sexual assault.
Boy B was sentenced to 15 years in prison. That will be reviewed after 8 years.
Boy A, in a number of reports carried out in prison, appeared to accept he was responsible for Ana's death but he denies that he sexually assaulted her.
Boy B is appealing his conviction.
Even though Boy A and Boy B were found guilty of murder, they still cannot be named publicly. They will remain anonymous for the rest of their lives.
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
"The effects of abuse are devastating and far reaching. Domestic violence speaks many languages, has many colors and lives in many different communities."
- Sandra Pupatello