Murdered schoolgirl was talented teenager who loved to sing and dance
Murdered schoolgirl Anastasia Kriegel spent her short teenage years pursuing her love of dancing and singing.
The 14-year-old, who was known as Ana, practised for hours in her bedroom, often posting videos on YouTube of her dancing.
Ana was born in Russia in February 2004, and at the age of two and a half she was adopted by Geraldine and Patric Kriegel.
She grew up in the Leixlip area in Co Kildare. Ana was in many ways a typical teenage girl who loved to listen to music, sing, wear fake nails and use her various social media accounts.
She was a very talented, strong swimmer and gymnast.
At 5ft 8in she was tall and strong, a “typical Siberian”, as her mother described her.
But the first year student also suffered horrific bullying and was endlessly tormented in the months leading up to her death in May 2018.
She was targeted on social media through her Snapchat and YouTube accounts.
On the first day of the murder trial Mrs Kriegel told the court that her daughter was very vulnerable and despite looking older than her 14 years, she was a “child on the inside”.
“She was very immature. She looked so much older, but inside she was younger, far younger than her youth,” Mrs Kriegel said.
Although she tried many times, Ana struggled to mix with other children.
“She was trying to make friends all the time. She spent a lot of time at the house, she loved her family and was happy at home,” she added.
“It would have been nice for her to have a best friend.”
The mother and daughter shared a close bond and often spoke by phone during the day.
She said her daughter had also struggled as a child with hearing difficulties and had a tumour removed from her ear.
Ana liked to post videos on YouTube of herself but she was targeted by cyber bullies, with one commenting that he would “have her executed”.
Mrs Kriegel also said Ana sometimes displayed attention-seeking behaviour, and in one incident she painted a black eye on her face before going to school.
She said that times were hard for Ana, that she would get angry but “wouldn’t hurt a fly”.
Her father Patric, a retired lecturer originally from Paris, spent a lot of his free time with Ana doing school runs and preparing her lunch.
“Her primary years were very happy years. She was a very happy child,” he said.
He described how she was excited to start secondary school in 2017.
“We spent a great summer in France. She had taken on a new resolution to get up early in the mornings,” he added.
“She was going to set her own alarm, but it lasted a few days.”
Ana became stressed at school, which he said was not like her.
“She would come home and tell stories and they were not happy stories,” he said.
“They were calling her weird. Some people did not understand her. She was herself. She was full of fun.
“She couldn’t hate anyone even though some of these people were bullying her.
“She was disappointed in people, in how they reacted to her.
“She would try and make friends. She was impulsive and might say the wrong thing. She was a teenager.”
Mrs Kriegel struggled to hold back tears as she described waking Ana up for school on the morning of her disappearance.
“I kissed her goodbye”, she said.
It was the last time she saw her daughter alive.