Irish social media users pursue teenage boys convicted of brutal murder

A young girl smiling, she's wearing a red hoody.
Ana Kriegel. Photo credit: AAP/Family handout

Ireland is grappling with a wave of social media vigilantes sharing the name and faces of two boys convicted of a brutal murder.

The two boys, who cannot be named, were found guilty of the murder of 14-year-old girl Ana Kriégel last Wednesday, the Guardian reports.

Ana died after being beaten and sexually assaulted. The murder happened when a boy arrived at the girl's house and said another boy from their school wanted to meet her.

A judge's order prohibits naming the boys, so they are known as Boy A and Boy B. The pair were 13 at the time of the murder, but have since turned 14.

Boy B led Ana to an abandoned farmhouse, where Boy A beat her with a long stick and concrete block and sexually assaulted her.

Fourteen-year-old Ana had been ostracised for most of her life. She was bullied on social media and did not have many friends.

Her beaten and partially clothed body was found on May 17, 2018, three days after the attack.

A jury found the boys guilty, although their parents still profess they are innocent, and the pair face years in jail.

Children aren't often sentenced to more than three years, but the judge can impose longer sentences for serious crimes.

Social media users are frustrated by the case, though, for its brutality and the fact the boys' names and images cannot be shared.

The court ruling that didn't stop people sharing photos of the boys, prompting social media companies to be pulled into a court hearing.

Representatives of Twitter and Facebook told a court hearing they couldn't stop people publishing the boys' identities without knowing them, but the judge ruled the companies need to act as soon as being made aware of the material.