The five things that condemned murder boys A and B



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Almost all evidence against the two 14-year-old boys convicted of the murder of Ana Kriégel this week were circumstantial, a term often used to suggest that she is weak. But the judgment of Boy A and Boy B showed that the opposite is often the case. Pieces of circumstantial evidence can together paint a convincing picture that leaves a jury no doubt about the guilt of an accused.

The teenagers, who on Tuesday became the youngest in state history to be convicted of this crime, killed Ann at Glenwood House in Lucan on the west end of Co Dublin on May 14, 2018. She had 14 years; they were then 13 years old. Boy A had pleaded not guilty to murder and sexual assault involving serious violence. Boy B pleaded not guilty to murder. Their names were not revealed because of their age.

Circumstantial evidence is any evidence that implies the truth of a fact rather than directly supporting it. The witness testimony of a murder is direct evidence. The testimony of a witness who saw the suspect kill comes out of the crime scene is indirect or circumstantial evidence.

So the presence of Ana Kriégel's blood in Boy A's boots implied that he was at the site of his murder. CCTV footage of Boy B walking with Ana towards the abandoned house where she was killed implied that he went there with her.

The lies and evasions of the boys implied that they had something to hide. A jury would never be asked to convict in a single circumstantial piece of evidence. The Garda and the prosecution had to gather many pieces so that they could meet the burden of proof.

Dozens of circumstantial evidence pointed to the guilt of boys A and B, but five key pieces stood out and made condemnation possible.

1. the boots

Gardaí had suspicions about boys A and B even before Ana's body was found on May 17, 2018. Two days earlier, during the search for Ana, the investigators had the boys show the way they said they had walked with Ana in St. Catherine's. Park, near his home in Leixlip, in Co Kildare, the day he disappeared. The gardai noticed that the boys looked confused at one point and exchanged a look or look.

After Ana's body was found, the investigation focused immediately on the teenagers. They had been the last to be seen with Anna on May 14, but the Garda had nothing to put them on the scene.

The detectives needed a solid link to one or both. They already had Boy A.'s clothes and boots. When he first spoke with the gardaí, Boy A claimed that he had been beaten by two men in the park shortly after leaving Ana's company. He said that this was how his face , arm and knee were injured.

Garda's priority was to find Ana, but she was also forced to investigate the allegations of aggression. Det Garda Gabriel Newton therefore called Boy A's house to his clothes and boots, hoping they would give clues to his attackers.

It soon became clear that the two men were fictitious. No one in the park that day had seen someone who fit his description. Nor had they been seen in the 700 hours or more of CCTV footage that gardaí had watched.

But the existing investigation meant that when Ana's body was found, the detectives did not need a warrant to get the clothes that the boy used to wear that day.

Forensic tests showed Ana's blood at nine locations in her boots. In the words of John Hoade, a forensic expert, this proved that Boy A "attacked Anastasia Kriégel or was very close to Anastasia Kriégel when she was assaulted."

Gardai now had more than enough evidence to detain both boy A and his best friend, Boy B, and bring them in for questioning. They also received search warrants for adolescent homes.

Boots were the first building block on which the prosecution called the overwhelming forensic case against boy A

Many of Boy One's responses in the interview were that he had no comment. But when the garda showed him a picture of the boots and said that Ana's blood had been found in them, he asked if the detective was joking. "Are you really serious?" He said. Det Garda Tomas Doyle said he would not joke about something like that.

Boy A asked if he could get out and get some air. His lawyer asked if he was feeling bad and someone gave the boy a glass of water. Det Garda Doyle told Boy A that this was a very serious matter. "I'm aware," replied the boy.

Boots were the first building block in what the prosecution called the oppressive forensic case against boy A.

During the trial, in the absence of the jury, his defense would try to prevent the boots from being presented as evidence. Patrick Gageby, a lawyer for Boy A, argued that they had been obtained under false pretenses and that Det Garda Newton was not interested in investigating the alleged aggression and interested in the case merely by relating to Anne.

He asked the detective why she would take the clothes when they had been washed. The clothing may still provide forensic clues after washing, Det Garda Newton replied.

The gambit failed. Judge Paul McDermott said police took their boots and clothing as part of the investigation into a serious attack. It was simply their luck that the boots would continue to produce vital evidence in the investigation of the murder.

2. The "murder kit"

The backpack found in Boy A's room after his arrest on May 24 became known almost immediately as the "murder kit." It's easy to see why. The distinctive bag contained knee pads, shin guards, gloves, a scarf, and a skull-shaped mask.

The mask stood out for detectives. Skin color, covered the face only up to the upper jaw. Holes had been cut to the eyes and nostrils, and the fangs had been cut at the bottom and painted red to make them appear stained with blood. In court, it was darker than when he found it, because of a dye used to extract fingerprints from him.

Despite its chilling appearance, the mask had innocent origins. It was made as part of a school project, and Kid A used it as a Halloween mask. The notes in a notebook in her room seemed to support this, as did the searches on her cell phone for examples of masks.

Asked about Boy A's mask for Garda, Boy B referred to her as a zombie mask. He said it was "really cool" and that he had used it before himself.

Asked why he called it a zombie mask, boy B said that's what Boy called her.

Detectives were also interested in the backpack gloves. Although they looked innocuous, the gloves provided an important clue, explaining why fingerprints were not found at Glenwood House.

They also appeared to match the gloves that Boy A was seen wearing when he was caught on CCTV walking down St Catherine's Park toward the abandoned house the day Ana was murdered. Detectives wondered why he was wearing woolen gloves on a hot summer night.

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