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Karen Buckley killer Alexander Pacteau: Middle-class murderer without a motive

Published 12/08/2015

Alexander Pacteau
Alexander Pacteau
Alexander Pacteau, 21, admitted murdering Karen Buckley when he appeared at the High Court in Glasgow (Crown Office Scotland/PA)
Police forensic investigators at High Craigton Farm on the north-western outskirts of Glasgow in April, where the body of missing student Karen Buckley was discovered. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Karen Buckley was murdered by Alexander Pacteau (Police Scotland/PA)
Floral tributes left following the discovery of Karen’s body in April
The parents of Karen Buckley, John and Marian, arrive at the High Court in Glasgow as a 21-year-old man admitted her murder
Alexander Pacteau seen on CCTV leaving the club

Hardened Glasgow police detectives are still baffled as to the motive for Alexander Pacteau's savage attack on Karen Buckley (24).

Equally as difficult to fathom were his error-ridden attempts to cover his tracks, including, at one point, asking a Tesco shop assistant to recommend a cleaning product to remove blood from a mattress.

Student Karen Buckley from Cork who was murdered following a night out in Glasgow by 21-year-old Pacteau
Student Karen Buckley from Cork who was murdered following a night out in Glasgow by 21-year-old Pacteau

It all stood in stark contrast to the bright future which appeared before Pacteau (21) as he was enrolled seven years ago at Kelvinside Academy, one of the best grammar schools in Glasgow.

Described as a bright student, Pacteau appeared certain to attend university.

His father is a French businessman who worked in both Scotland and Europe.

He has three siblings and his supportive family visited him while he was on remand in Barlinnie Prison.

Pacteau lived for a time with his mother, Noreen (43), before he moved out to live on his own.

He attended Anniesland College, where he studied for a business degree.

But he left before completing his studies.

He secured work with a courier firm in Glasgow but appears to have struggled with his finances.

The young man's mother idolised him and, during the search for Karen Buckley last April, she publicly dismissed suggestions her son was anything other than a witness.

He had previously come to police attention for trying to photocopy Sterling banknotes.

While none of the notes ever made it into circulation, he was convicted of forgery and received a nine-month "community payback" sentence, Scotland's equivalent to a community service order.

In 2012, he was involved in a serious car accident which left him with a broken leg, damaged lung and bruised liver.

The damage to his leg was so severe it required the insertion of a steel plate and eight metal pins.

In 2013, he was acquitted of sexually assaulting a woman in Glasgow.

The High Court jury found him not guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial.

Two years later, Pacteau would attack and batter Karen Buckley to death.

One of the things detectives noted about Pacteau from the evening at 'The Sanctuary' nightclub was the extreme level of his drinking.

He was described as having consumed "significant" quantities of alcohol with friends after booking a booth in the nightclub which came complete with a large bottle of vodka.

Such was the level of his drinking that Pacteau insisted he cannot recall the full events of April 12.

Ralph Riegel, Irish Independent

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