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Missing student parents 'desperate'

Published 14/04/2015

Student Karen Buckley disappeared after telling friends she was going to the toilet in a nightclub (Police Scotland/PA)
Student Karen Buckley disappeared after telling friends she was going to the toilet in a nightclub (Police Scotland/PA)

The parents of a student from Cork who went missing after leaving a Glasgow nightclub have appealed for help in finding her, saying they are "desperate" for her to come home safely.

A search was launched for Karen Buckley, 24, after she was seen on CCTV footage in the early hours of Sunday morning talking to a man outside the Sanctuary in Dumbarton Road, Glasgow.

The family of Miss Buckley have flown to Scotland to help with the search.

Her mother Marian told a press conference in Glasgow: "We just want Karen home safely, we are desperate. She is our only daughter, we love her dearly.

"If anybody has any information please come forward, we would dearly appreciate it."

Miss Buckley arrived at the club with friends at around 11.45pm on Saturday and at around 1am she told them she was going to the toilet. She failed to return and did not take her jacket.

She was seen outside on CCTV talking to a man and then walking west along Dumbarton Road towards Church Street.

Friends of the Glasgow Caledonian University student raised the alarm on Sunday, saying it was ''very out of character'' for her not to return home.

Officers have traced the man Ms Buckley was seen speaking to outside the nightclub, and he is ''helping police with inquiries''.

Detective Superintendent Jim Kerr, from Police Scotland's major investigations teams, stressed that the male was "not a suspect".

He told the press conference: "From what we can see, she does not appear to be under duress, there's no signs of a struggle or reluctance on her part to leave the club.

"However, that does not mean that something untoward has happened to her at a later stage."

He added: "There was talk of another man she had been seen with. We've also traced him, we've spoken to him."

Miss Buckley is described as white and around 5ft to 5ft 2in. She has brown eyes and dark hair which had long black curly extensions in it.

When last seen, she was wearing a black jumpsuit with red high-heeled shoes and was carrying a black handbag. She speaks with an Irish accent.

She lives with three other student friends in a flat in Hill Street, Garnethill, Glasgow, and earlier on Saturday evening had drinks with friends in the flat before going to the nightclub, although her friends told police she was not drunk.

Mr Kerr appealed for people to come forward with any information about the missing woman's whereabouts, saying while it "may seem insignificant to them, however to us it may be the piece of information that leads us to finding her".

He said the public response so far had been "encouraging", adding: "People really do want to help.

"However, at this time we need the information about her whereabouts and her movements after leaving the club."

Mr Kerr said they are "gravely concerned" for the safety of Miss Buckley and are treating her disappearance as a high-risk missing person inquiry.

He said that after leaving the club she and the man she was seen speaking to on CCTV travelled to his flat in Dorchester Avenue, in the Kelvindale area, in his car.

The police officer said: "We've traced the man she was with in Dorchester Avenue. He believes he was intimate with her at his flat consensually in the early hours of Sunday."

She was last seen when she left the flat at around 4am and was planning to walk home to her flat in Hill Street.

Police stressed the man is not being treated as a suspect.

A handbag which police believe belongs to Miss Buckley was found in Dawsholm Park, near Dorchester Avenue, early this afternoon.

There has been no activity on her social media accounts in the last couple of days and her mobile phone is believed to be out of battery.

Police are also keen to find out more about a grey car that was seen on the roads between Milngavie and Drymen north of Glasgow between 11am and 3pm yesterday.

Mr Kerr said: "The activity of this grey car on the Monday is something that we're a wee bit concerned about. This car has been seen at various locations on these roads and I want to know why."

He added: "We are gravely concerned that Karen has come to some harm, whether that is down to foul play, criminality or she has taken unwell or had an accident is obviously still to be established."

Police have also traced a second man who the student spoke to in the nightclub before she left.

Her father John Buckley, 62, was also at the press conference today.

He said: "We are extremely concerned for her. We are desperate to get her back and safe with her family - she is our only daughter, we love her dearly and just want her to come home safe and sound."

Miss Buckley is a first year occupational therapy student at Glasgow Caledonian University.

She moved to Glasgow in February and before that was a nurse at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex.

She has three older brothers, Brendan, 32, Kieran, 28 and Damian, 27.

Police added that she has travelled widely abroad and is aware of how to take care of herself.

Her father later described her as a "sensible girl".

Mr Buckley said: "She always keeps in contact with her family and friends to let them know where she is and what she is up to. To not return to her flat or be in contact with her pals - not responding to texts and calls to her mobile is very, very worrying as it is so out of character."

Mr Kerr added: "Karen is a lovely girl, close to her family and popular with her friends. She has only been in Glasgow a few months, and if staying out will always let her friends know - hence the real concern here.

"Like all youngsters, she is also very active on social media but there has been no activity on any of her accounts since Saturday night-early Sunday morning.

"This is understandably a heart-breaking time for her family. Of course there is an intense interest both from the public and the media regarding her disappearance, however, speculation, particularly on social media, about the aspects of the case are not helping our inquiry and is extremely distressing for Karen's family and friends."

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