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Ana Kriegel's murder tells a story of pornography, technology and bullying.

Warning: This post is about murder and extreme violence and may cause distress for some readers.

The murder of 14-year-old Ana Kriégel is being called the worst child on child crime since the case of James Bulger.

James was only two when he was abducted, tortured and killed by two 10-year-old boys in Merseyside, England in 1993.

What those boys did to James was beyond horrific. They kicked him, stomped on him, threw paint in his eye, and stones on his body.

James Bulger was murdered by two 10-year-olds in 1993. Image: Getty.

Then they dropped a 10 kilogram iron bar on his tiny frame fracturing his skull in 10 places.

The case shocked the world. It still does.

But last year two little boys, aged 13 this time, carried out a murder so disgusting it's being compared to the way James died.

Ana was 14.

Born in Russia, she lived in Ireland with her adopted family and was bullied relentlessly for being 'different'.

Ana looked different to her peers, she was really tall for her age, had poor eyesight and hearing and was deemed a bit socially "awkward".

Lonely, she tried to connect with her classmates on social media but she just ended up the butt of their sexual innuendos, threats and bullying.

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Ana Kriégel was lured onto an abandoned property by two classmates. Image: Facebook.
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One afternoon a boy from school told her his friend (who she had a crush on) wanted to meet her. She rushed to the derelict farmhouse nearby that he directed her to and there, another 13-year-old boy was waiting for her.

The boys had at their disposal a "murder kit" which consisted of a zombie mask, gloves, shin guards, knee pads, a long stick and a concrete block.

Ana died from blunt force trauma injuries and was sexually assaulted.

Builder's tape was looped around her neck and there were 60 areas of injury to her naked body.

The two boys who are now 14, are the youngest people in Irish history to be convicted of murder.

After the guilty verdict was read out in court, Ana's parents spoke briefly. Post continues after video.

Video via

As well as the social media bullying that in a way seemed to dehumanise Ana in the eyes of her school mates, police found 12,000 pornographic images on one of her murderers' electronic devices.

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Many of them depicted sexual violence and there was also evidence of searches for 'torture.'

Pornography is making violence "sexy."

It's this "eroticising" of sexual violence Associate Professor of sociology Dr Michael Flood thinks is really changing and shaping the sexual attitudes and sexual behaviours of boys and young men in an internet age.

"One of the ways pornography is most dangerous is it makes violence sexy," he told Mamamia.

We don't know the exact motive behind Ana's murder, but there's no doubt in the wider community violence against women is being normalised through movies, video games and in the case of the 12,000 images consumed by one of the perpetrators in this case - pornography.

"I think there are contradictory trends right now. We have this extraordinary conversation going on against sexual violence, the importance of consent and toxic masculinity. But then there's the harmful messages boys are getting from violent pornography.

"Boys who watch this [violent porn] are more likely to see rape as excusable or justifiable," explained Dr Flood.

Dr Flood says that if a young boy is continually watching this kind of porn it shapes their 'sexual scripts'.

"It shapes their script as to what they see as normal sex and what they find arousing," he said.

There's a lot of evidence to show watching does translate to doing.

"One clear example of this is the shift in men's sexual interests. There are growing numbers of men who are trying to have anal sex for example with their partners because its become a mainstream act in heterosexual pornography," explained Dr Flood.

But it gets a lot more sinister when you consider that the top porn DVD in the United States is made up of 88 per cent violence - things like choking, slapping and rough fellatio.

The "Triple A" pattern.

Increased violent pornography and access to the internet has created the perfect storm.

"The internet has facilitated a kind of "triple A" pattern of affordability, accessibility and anonymity," Dr Flood told Mamamia.

"From anywhere at any age you can access an extraordinary variety of pornographic materials, and you can do so without a credit card, or without age verification," he added.

Dr Flood says parents have a vital role to play here.

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While there's no question children will encounter pornography, it's mum or dad's job to in Dr Flood's words; "vaccinate their children against the sexism and objectification seen within it."

"So when their child does encounter it, they can then understand and recognise sexist violent behaviour and reject it," said Dr Flood.

Male bonding through violence.

In both the murder of James and the murder of Ana, their killings appeared to be a kind of bonding experience between the pairs of perpetrators involved.

It's well documented that some forms of violence (in particular sexual violence) are powerful forms of male bonding.

"That dynamic is a well established one," said Dr Flood.

"It might be consensual or just the sharing of stories, but it's very easy for this behaviour to bleed into a kind of shared sexual coercion where men bond over their shared humiliation and coercion of a particular woman," he explained.

In Ana's case Boy A (as he was known in court) approached Boy B and asked, "Hey, wanna kill somebody?"

Boy B told detectives he said no.

"'I then asked who he was planning to kill and he replied Ana Kriégel’,” Boy B continued.

It was then Boy B, who was somehow convinced by his friend, to make the call to Ana's house, and lure her to the abandoned property.

It was also Boy B who was found with the "murder kit" in his backpack.

This was something the two friends planned together.

In the case of James Bulger, police also suspected that there was a sexual element to that crime, since the two-year-old's shoes, socks, trousers and underpants had been removed.

But there is no doubt that in this case like in Ana's, the pair worked together to carry out their crime.

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The two 10-year-olds convicted of the murder of James Bulger in 1993. Image: Supplied.
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Dehumanisation via social media.

Social media bullying played a role in making Ana a target.

One comment on her YouTube channel expressed a desire to “have her executed”.

A lot of the bullying was of a sexual nature, but her peers also taunted her "fake mum and dad" and her height.

During the trial, the court heard that the bullying wasn't all online. Ana had been left terrified after a group of four boys sexually harassed her in person.

Her mother told the court that one boy asked her repeatedly for sex before hitting her on the backside. He received a caution by the school.

Again, Dr Michael Flood thinks a teenager's access to violence and violent porn on the internet plays a huge role in this kind of behaviour.

So how do we change it?

"It's up to us as to what kind of norms and values win out," said Dr Flood.

"Will it be sexism, misogyny and hating on women - trends that exist in forums such as pornography? Or will it be the positive cultural shift we're having on a public platform level against violence against women?"

At the end of the day, what happened to Ana last year and to James Bulger in 1993 is the very extreme end of the scale.

Their sickening murders and the pairs of boys responsible are almost impossible to explain and comprehend.

But in the wake of Ana's death, it's also important to understand the fabrics and trends within our society that might convince two young impressionable teenagers that the violent torture and murder of an innocent classmate is something to be considered.

If this story brought up any issues for you, or you just need someone to talk to, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636. 

If you are the victim of sexual assault, domestic or family violence, you can contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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