Karen Buckley's father condemns 'truly evil' killer
The father of murdered Cork student Karen Buckley has described her killer as "truly evil" after a man admitted repeatedly hitting her with a spanner and trying to dispose of her body in a bath of chemicals.
Convicted forger Alexander Pacteau, 21, pleaded guilty to the post-graduate student's "senseless and brutal" murder at the High Court in Glasgow.
The remains of 24-year-old Miss Buckley were found in a barrel on a farm on the outskirts of Glasgow four days after she disappeared from a nightclub in the city's west end in April.
Outside the court, her father John Buckley, who had travelled from Cork for the hearing with his wife Marian, said: "Marian and I, together with our family, would like to thank everybody here in Glasgow and back in Ireland that have helped us cope with this terrible tragedy.
"We are very grateful for the support and messages of sympathy received and for the people who keep us in their thoughts and prayers.
"We thank the Scottish police for their professionalism in the search for Karen, and in bringing her killer to justice.
"Their personal support and kindness throughout our nightmare ordeal, keeping us informed and travelling over to Karen's funeral, is greatly appreciated.
"We also like to thank our own Garda force for all the help with Karen's removal and funeral and in conjunction with Glasgow High Court for keeping us informed with all aspects of this case.
"Coming back to Glasgow where our beautiful daughter/sister was brutally murdered, is incredibly difficult for all of us.
"It's 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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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 goodbye.
"It's 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.
"Karen was a normal 24-year-old girl, very kind, always smiling, always happy, the youngest of four, our only daughter, and our baby. Just like her brothers she was so genuine, so caring, she loved life.
"As a fully qualified nurse she especially liked helping older people. She loved Glasgow and the Caledonian University where she studied occupational therapy.
"Like many young people, Karen loved to travel, she made lots of friends and thoroughly enjoyed her life.
"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.
"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."
Pacteau, from Glasgow, faces a mandatory life term when he is sentenced on September 8.