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Karen Buckley's parents welcome jailing of 'evil coward' Alexander Pacteau

Published 08/09/2015

Karen Buckley was murdered on April 12 by Alexander Pacteau (PA/Crown Office)
Karen Buckley was murdered on April 12 by Alexander Pacteau (PA/Crown Office)
John and Marian Buckley attended the High Court in Glasgow to see their daughter's killer sentenced
Alexander Pacteau, 21, will serve at least 23 years in prison for the murder of Karen Buckley (Crown Office/PA Wire)

The parents of Irish student Karen Buckley have welcomed the life sentence handed to the "truly evil coward" who murdered their daughter.

John and Marian Buckley said they hope Alexander Pacteau, who bludgeoned the 24-year-old to death with a spanner after a night out in Glasgow, is never released from jail.

Pacteau, 21, will serve a minimum of 23 years for the murder and his attempts to dispose of Miss Buckley's body in a vat of chemicals in April.

During sentencing at the High Court in Glasgow today, judge Lady Rae told the former public schoolboy he had committed a "brutal, senseless and motiveless" crime against a defenceless woman and had devastated her family.

Mr and Mrs Buckley, from Cork, who attended the hearing, said: "Today's life sentence will not bring our beautiful Karen back. Our little angel has been taken from us forever in the cruellest of ways. We mourn for her every day.

"It will however ensure that women are safe from harm from the truly evil coward who took our beautiful Karen's precious life. I hope that he is never released and spends every day in prison haunted by what he did.

"Karen is at peace now and we know that she is in heaven looking down on us and helping us."

The qualified nurse had only been in Glasgow for a few months before her killing.

She was studying for a masters degree in occupational health therapy at Glasgow Caledonian University and was on a night out to the Sanctuary nightclub when she was preyed on by Pacteau.

Pacteau, who described himself as a "self-employed sales consultant", has a previous conviction for printing counterfeit money and was found not guilty of an attempted rape charge following a trial at the High Court in Paisley in 2013.

In the early hours of April 12, he was captured on CCTV chatting to Miss Buckley outside the nightclub. He then drove her to nearby Kelvin Way, where he grabbed her neck and delivered about a dozen blows with a spanner.

He took her body to his flat where he stored it in the bath and in the days that followed made trips to High Craigton Farm on the outskirts of Glasgow where he burned a mattress and clothes.

Pacteau purchased caustic soda and a barrel and placed Miss Buckley's body inside before leaving it in a locked storage unit he rented.

He initially claimed to detectives, who identified him from CCTV footage, that they had consensual sex at his flat and she had fallen and injured herself on the bed frame before leaving.

After pleading guilty to murder on August 11, h is solicitor John Scullion QC said he could offer no ''rational explanation'' for his client's actions but told the judge Pacteau had expressed remorse and "felt sick" about what he had done.

Lady Rae said: "That expression of remorse might have carried more weight if communicated earlier. And it is difficult, in my view, to envisage someone who is truly sorry for killing another human being going to the lengths to which you went to cover up your appalling crime whilst making up false stories about the deceased."

She said: " To you she was a complete stranger who appears, tragically, to have accepted a lift in your car. In a matter of minutes, for some unknown and inexplicable reason, you destroyed her young life and devastated a family."

Police Scotland said search officers and forensic experts had been able to build up an "overwhelming" case against Pacteau which led to him admitting to the crime.

Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: "Such incidents are rare in our communities, where they do take place we will carry out professional, thorough and rigorous investigations to bring those responsible to justice."

Pacteau originally faced a second charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by misleading police and trying to conceal Miss Buckley's body.

The Crown withdrew the charge ahead of his plea and Mr Scullion QC suggested his actions after the killing should not therefore be regarded when considering sentence.

Lady Rae said she could not ignore Pacteau's conduct following Miss Buckley's death, however.

The judge told him: " I regret that the Crown, in withdrawing charge two, has to some extent tied my hands in relation to this sentence.

"After reflecting on submissions, I have come to the view that I cannot ignore your conduct after the killing."

Lady Rae said his actions meant she would limit the discount she awarded for his early plea to two years and sentenced him to a minimum of 23 years, backdated to April 17 when he entered custody.

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