There is no evidence the boy accused of murdering and violently sexually assaulting 14-year-old Ana Kriégel intended to kill her, the jury in his murder trial has been told.
In his closing speech, Patrick Gageby SC, for Boy A, said neither his client nor his family had ever been in trouble with gardaí before. He said the family were “decent, hard-working people” and there were no drink or drugs problems in the house.
This is not a defence, he said, but is highly relevant to determining if Boy A planned to kill Ana on May 14th, 2018.
The prosecution alleges the second accused, Boy B, lured Ana from her home at 5pm on May 14th, 2018 on the pretence of meeting Boy A, who Ana was “interested” in. Boy A then allegedly violently sexually assaulted and murdered her in the derelict farmhouse as Boy B watched.
Ana died in demeaning circumstances and her parents have shown “enormous grace” throughout the trial, Mr Gageby said. She lived in a happy home and had everything a child needed.
Mr Gageby said it is the nightmare of every parent to bury their child, especially following a violent or sudden death.
The jury should also recognise the impact on a family of their child being brought to trial for “such terrible offences.” Mr Gageby added he was not drawing an equivalence between the two things.
Addressing evidence on Boy A’s phone of a video detailing torture methods, Mr Gageby said there is nothing to indicate the video was searched for or even viewed. He noted 1.4 million other people have viewed it.
Counsel urged the jury to be “very cautious” of the evidence from the boy’s phone.
“We know young people have many devices and interests and frequently have unlimited ability to look for and find things of interest. If you took any 13 or 14-year-old-boy and did a complete trawl through their devices, what are the chances that you find something, one or two small things, that are unpleasant?”
There was also no evidence given in court of Boy A having any intention to kill Ana, counsel said. His co-accused, Boy B, had claimed in interviews he had said he wanted to kill her but this cannot be considered by the jury under the rules of evidence.
Counsel noted a friend of Boy A has given evidence he had never said he wanted to kill someone, except in a “joking way.”
Irish people use “extravagant” language, Mr Gageby said. “Have your parents never told you they’d kill you if they come home late again?”
Boy A was given advance notice about his arrest, giving him an opportunity to dispose of evidence from his house linking him to the crime-scene. This was never done, counsel said.
The boy also appeared distressed to several witnesses on the evening of May 14th. This evidence is inconsistent with someone who coolly planned a murder, he said.
Counsel said the boy’s interest in abandoned places was not unusual. Another child witness in the case said he had also explored Glenwood House, the abandoned house where Ana’s body was found, while a video on Ana’s phone showed her in a different abandoned house the previous February.
Mr Gageby also suggested Glenwood House might have been used by young people for a “romantic tryst” as evidenced by the presence of condom wrappers on the ground.
Pathology evidence showed injuries to Ana’s genitals but it couldn’t be established if these occurred through non-consensual activity, he said.
Counsel said it also “can’t be ruled out” that a neck swab taken from Ana showing male DNA did not result from “casual intimacy”.
The jury might decide Boy A was present when the injuries were inflicted on Ana, counsel said. “But is there any real evidence that he planned any of this?”
He said the case was based almost entirely on circumstantial evidence. “This has to be very carefully weighed.”
Boy A has pleaded not guilty to the murder and sexual assault “involving serious violence” of Ana Kriégel on May 14th, 2018, at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan in Dublin.
Boy B has pleaded not guilty to the murder of the girl on the same date. The accused were 13 at the time of the alleged offence and are 14 now.
Mr Gageby has concluded his speech. The jury will hear from Damian Colgan SC, for Boy B, this afternoon.