Woman who shared image of Boy A online acted as 'judge, jury and executioner', court hears

Woman Who Shared Image Of Boy A Online Acted As 'Judge, Jury And Executioner', Court Hears
Leeanda Farrelly (49) received a nine-month fully-suspended sentence for sharing an image of one of the teenage boys convicted of killing Ana Kriégel. Photo: Collins
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Eimear Dodd

A Dublin woman was a “self-appointed judge, jury and executioner” when she shared photo on Facebook identifying one of the killers of 14-year-old Ana Kriégel, a judge has said.

Due to their age, the two boys charged in relation to Ana's death were referred to as 'Boy A' and 'Boy B' during the trial.


Leeanda Farrelly (49) reposted the image of 'Boy A' in a closed Facebook group with approximately 25,000 members on June 19th, 2019, but took it down after around 20 minutes.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the post included text added by Farrelly encouraging others to share the image.

On May 14th, 2018, two 13-year-olds lured Ana Kriégel to a derelict farmhouse in Lucan, Co Dublin where she was beaten to death.

Both boys were convicted of murder on June 18th, 2019, following a trial at the Central Criminal Court. 'Boy A' was also convicted of aggravated sexual assault.


Neither boy can be identified by order of the trial judge and under a provision of the Children's Act that prohibits the identification of minors who have been accused or convicted of a criminal offence.

Farrelly, of Kilmartin Avenue, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to a charge of publication of a report likely to lead to the identification of a child involved in criminal proceedings. She has 23 previous convictions for road traffic offences.

Imposing sentence on Wednesday, Judge Pauline Codd said this was an offence where “ignorance of the law is no defence”.

She described Farrelly as a “self-appointed judge, jury and executioner”, who herself had “little or no regard” for the road traffic laws and is “not a person who is perfect herself”.


The judge noted that Farrelly has many positive characteristics, including her love of animals, and had expressed remorse.

'Sense of grievance'

Imposing a fully-suspended sentence of nine months, Judge Codd said Farrelly seemed to have been motivated by “a sense of grievance and annoyance” and a “misplaced sense of need to protect”.

The judge said it was not the job of “self-appointed people” to protect others, but the job of the gardaí and the courts.

Detective Garda Robert McNicholls told Maddie Grant BL, prosecuting, that court orders prohibiting the publication of any material, including photos, that might identify the two boys were made throughout the criminal process and following their conviction.


A public statement was also issued by gardaí on June 19th, 2019, to warn of the consequences of posting this material, and it was covered by the media.

He agreed with Ms Grant that gardaí became aware of a number of posts on social media which purportedly identified the boys, including Farrelly's post on Facebook in relation to 'Boy A'.

Det Gda McNicholls said a senior member of the investigating team viewed the post, made from an account in Farrelly's name, and recognised the image as 'Boy A'.

The post, a screenshot of which was shown to the court, included text which read “these are the two scum that murdered that poor little girl.... share their evil faces, they’ll get new names like that scum that killed baby Jamie Bulger”.


The court heard that the closed Facebook group, 'Mas on a Mission', where Farrelly posted the image has between 25,000 and 30,000 members. Farrelly removed the post within a short period of time after being asked to do so by family and friends.

She attended Tallaght Garda station for interview voluntarily on July 27th, 2019, and admitted reposting the image, which had been shared with her. She also confirmed her ownership of the Facebook account and said she was sorry for publishing the image.


The court heard the Director of Public Prosecutions directed summary disposal, but jurisdiction was rejected by the District Court. Farrelly pleaded guilty on a trial date in November 2023, but her intention to enter a plea was indicated in advance.

Det Gda McNicholls agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that his client told gardaí that she was not aware of the court orders or the relevant provisions of the Children's Act when she published the post, but became aware after someone contacted her.

He also agreed that a number of similar prosecutions have also been taken in relation to the publication of material purporting to identify these boys.

Det Gda McNicholls said the origin of the image was a “matter for speculation”, but agreed with defence counsel that Farrelly told gardaí she saw the image online then reposted it to a closed Facebook group using her own account.

The garda also agreed that during interview, Farrelly said she was “stupid” and “ignorant” for sharing the photo, apologised and acknowledged that juveniles should be protected.

Farrelly told gardaí said she got annoyed because she has two girls and a large number of nephews and nieces, and did not understand that the boys being prosecuted needed to be protected as well.

Mr Spencer put to the witness that this was a “misplaced effort at protectionism”, which Det Gda McNicholls accepted was fair.

Mr Spencer asked the court to take into account the mitigating factors, including her apology and co-operation with gardaí. He told the court his client was someone who was “civic-minded and a lover of animals”.

Farrelly left school early and has a long history of work, the court heard, and she is involved in two animal welfare shelters, with which she volunteers weekly. Her Facebook page is public due to her work with these groups, counsel added.

The court heard she has three children and has been assisting members of her extended family who have been dealing with serious illness.

'Sailing close to the wind'

Mr Spencer said his client is “aware she is sailing close to the wind” in relation to her previous convictions for road traffic offences. She has been disqualified and is not driving.

He said Farrelly “puts that down to complacency and disregard on her part” for road traffic laws, but has received a “strong talking to from myself” and Det Gda McNicholl.

He noted that her previous convictions show a “disregard for the orders of the court”.

Judge Codd said there are “very good reasons” why the orders prohibiting the identification of the two boys were in place.

“They are children, not withstanding they were before the court in respect of a very serious offence,” the judge said, adding that children have “particular protections” under the law due to their level of immaturity and their age.

Judge Codd said the courts also “have a right to protect their own process and a right to expect their orders to be complied with”.

The judge said Farrelly used “language of unsavoury nature” in the text accompanying the image and “encouraged others to share it far and wide”.

“That was her addition to post, she was encouraging others to disseminate it,” the judge said, describing this as an aggravating feature of the case.

Judge Codd noted that people need to be careful in their use of social media, adding that abuses of it like this “have to be stopped for benefit of society and rule of law in general”.

“People have to understand they don’t have to publish every opinion they hold into the world of social media...the world doesn’t need to know their views on all things,” Judge Codd said.

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