Karen Buckley murder: heartbroken family of gives statement
The heartbroken family of murdered Irish nurse Karen Buckley (24) described her killer as "a cowardly, vicious criminal" and said they hope he spends the rest of his life behind bars.
John Buckley (62), his voice breaking with emotion, read out a statement minutes after Alexander Pacteau (21) pleaded guilty to his daughter's murder before Glasgow High Court.
Pacteau now faces a life sentence though the actual amount of time he will spend in prison will only be determined on September 8 next.
Mr Buckley said Pacteau had robbed his family of "our little angel" and he admitted he was heartbroken at the tragic waste of a young life packed with potential.
"Our hearts are broken at the thought of Karen’s final moments on this world. The thought of her being alone, frightened and struggling for her life haunts us," he said.
"The panic and fear she experienced as she fought for her very survival but she had no chance against that coward. The last face she saw and the last voice she heard was of that cold-blooded, cowardly murderer, who calmly set about trying to dispose of her body so she would never be found."
Mr Buckley, flanked his wife, Marian (61), who held aloft a photograph of Karen, paid moving tribute to the people of Glasgow for all they did to help bring Pacteau to justice.
"Only for the swift action of the police and the people of Glasgow we were able to find Karen and bring her home and give her a dignified burial."
"But not only did he rob Karen of her precious life and future but he robbed us of our beautiful daughter/sister. He also robbed us of Karen in death as we never got to see her, hold her or kiss her good bye."
The Buckley family said while they are indebted to the people of Glasgow and Police Scotland, they hope the case highlights the need for greater street safety.
"It is too late now for Karen but in the future we hope Glasgow will be a safer place for women to walk in, which is their right and to not have this evil murderer to fear," Mr Buckley said.
"Coming back to Glasgow where our beautiful daughter / sister was brutally murdered, is incredible difficult for all of us."
"It is every parent’s worst nightmare as we know now, when we got that phone call, Karen was missing in Glasgow and her phone had gone dead.
"We went over, waited, hoped, and prayed day and night for her safe return, only to be told she had been murdered. We were devastated," he said.
"Having to phone our three sons and give them the dreadful news before they heard it on the media was one of the hardest things we ever had to do. Kieran and Damien were on route from Sydney. It took several hours throughout the night to make contact with them."
"Brendan was at home. I dread to think of them trying to deal with the shock and horror of being told that their only sister had been brutally murdered."
"When Karen’s body was released a week later, we went back to Glasgow as a family and brought her to our home in Mourneabbey. That was a very special night as we were all together again under the one roof where Karen and her three brothers had grown up."
"Two days later after the funeral mass, our three sons and I lowered Karen’s coffin into her grave, her final resting place."
"What a waste of a young life. It all seemed unreal." "All Karen was doing was making her way home when she was randomly targeted and murdered by a cowardly vicious criminal. No words of ours can do justice to our feelings towards him. He is truly evil and we hope that he will spend the rest of his life behind bars."
Mr Buckley said his entire family now cherish the memories they hold of Karen.
"We will never see Karen again in this life. Never see her smiling face, hear her laugh and hear her voice. There are no words to describe our loss. We know even though she is gone from this life, she is still very close to us."
"She will always be in our broken hearts wherever we go. We talk to her, pray to her and we know that she will help us. Though Karen will never come back, we only hope someday to be with her."
Mr Buckley's voice broke as he revealed the phrase his family now have for Karen.
"One word has come up so many times and Marian has said it again and again. Karen is our Little Angel and she is right."
"She is not suffering now, she is in her new home in heaven. We miss her terribly," he said.