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Handbag found in park as search is stepped up for missing Irish student Karen Buckley

By PA Scotland

Published 15/04/2015

Karen Buckley at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Karen Buckley at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Police search the undergrowth in Dawsholm Park in Glasgow last night after a handbag, which officers believe belongs to the missing student, was found

Police searching for missing Irish student Karen Buckley believe a grey car may hold the key to solving the mystery of her disappearance.

The 24-year-old's "desperate" parents made the trip from Co Cork to Glasgow where they made an emotional appeal for information on their vanished daughter.

A major police search, including helicopter support, last night moved into parkland in the city near where her handbag was found dumped in a bin. Attention also moved outside Glasgow where a grey car has been spotted "a number of times since Monday" and may be linked to the case.

Officers admitted they were "extremely concerned" for the young woman whom they described as a "sensible girl".

The investigation took on a new emphasis following the discovery of Karen's bag, near the house where she spent several hours with a man in the early hours of Sunday.

But police stressed that the man, who was seen with her on CCTV shortly outside a Glasgow nightclub, was not a suspect in the case. The pair were spotted as Karen left The Sanctuary on Dumbarton Road in the city's West End shortly after 1am.

Detective Superintendent Jim Kerr has said that Karen "wasn't under duress" when leaving the popular nightclub.

He added: "The CCTV shows Karen talking with a number of males in the nightclub. There were two that we wanted to talk to, and we tracked them down and they are helping us with our queries."

One of the men told the police that Karen came home with him, but she left his flat at around 4am and was planning to walk home to Hill Street in the Garnethill area.

Karen's mother Marian (61) and father John (62) made an emotional appeal at yesterday's Press briefing in the Scottish city.

"We just want Karen home safely," said her mother. "We are desperate, she is our only daughter.

Her father added: "Just give her back, we love her to bits. We're devastated. Thank you."

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