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Sunday 11 December 2016

Alexander Pacteau to serve minimum of 23 years for murder of Karen Buckley

Alexander Pacteau
Undated handout photo issued by Scotland's Crown Office of Karen Buckley at her brother Brendan's wedding in May 2014. Alexander Pacteau, 21, will sentenced today for the murder of Irish student Karen Buckley
Handout picture from Scotland's Crown Office of Alexander Pacteau, 21, who will be sentenced today for the murder of Irish student Karen Buckley
John and Marian Buckley arrive at Glasgow High Court for the sentencing of Alexander Pacteau, who admitted to killing their 24-year-old daughter Karen Buckley

Alexander Pacteau, 21, has been jailed for 23 years at the High Court in Glasgow for the murder of Irish student Karen Buckley.

Alexander Pacteau (21) remained emotionless as Justice Lady Rae in Scotland's High Court imposed a life sentence with the order that he serve 23 years before he can be considered for parole.

The former Glasgow grammar schoolboy will serve the bulk of his sentence in Barlinnie Prison, the biggest jail in Scotland and one of the toughest prisons in Europe.

By the time he is released, he will have spent more than half his life behind bars.

The sentence was imposed as Karen's parents, John (62) and Marian (61) Buckley, looked on less than four metres from Pacteau in the courtroom.

Justice Lady Rae described his attack on the Cork nurse who was studying at Glasgow Caledonian University as both "callous and calculating."

She said it was "a dreadful crime" and noted that Pacteau had shown little remorse.

In one social services report, it was noted that Pacteau had never used the words 'remorse', 'regret' or 'sorry' about Karen's vicious killing.

The judge also noted that his "tissue of lies" to Police Scotland had caused further enormous upset to Karen's family in Mourneabbey, Co

Cork.

She said the killing was “motiveless, senseless and brutal.”

Justice Lady Rae said she was deeply moved by three victim impact statements submitted to her by the Buckley family.

A psychiatric report ruled that Pacteau was mentally fit to plead.

Karen’s heartbroken family had made it clear they wanted him to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

He received a 25 year sentence but got a two year discount in light of his plea and other mitigating circumstances.

However, he must now serve a 23 year sentence, dating from April 17 last, before he can be considered for parole.

The Irish family including Karen's parents, John (62) and Marian (61), attended the brief 20 minute sentencing hearing.

“All Karen was doing was making her way home when she was randomly targeted and murdered by a cowardly vicious criminal,” John Buckley

warned.

“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.”

“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.”

Having attacked and killed the petite Irish student just minutes after she left 'The Sanctuary' nightclub on Glasgow's Dumbarton Road at 1am on April 12 last, Pacteau attempted to dispose of her body using caustic soda.

He killed Karen in his Ford Focus car having offered her a lift home at 1am on April 12.

Pacteau struck the Irish nurse a total of 13 times in the head with a heavy 30cm spanner.

The blows were so violent the imprint of the spanner head was left in Karen's skull.

Pacteau then locked her body in a room at his flat and calmly went to sleep.

The first thing he did the following day was use Google on his mobile phone to check what chemicals could be used to dispose of a body.

Pacteau then stripped Karen and placed her in a bath filled with caustic soda and drain unblocking fluid at his flat.

When that didn't work, he placed her body in a large 220 litre plastic barrel, filled it with caustic soda and then hid it at an isolated Glasgow hill farm.

However, skilled detective work by Police Scotland resulted in two police officers calling to Pacteau's door within 36 hours of Karen going missing.

The two officers were immediately suspicious of Pacteau because of the overwhelming smell of bleach within his flat and the fact the mattress

on a bed had recently been changed.

Detectives believe the hulking 21 year old, who insisted during a 2013 sexual assault trial that he was gay, was overcome with frustration at his repeated failures with women.

Pacteau was acquitted of the 2011 sexual assault charge by majority verdict of a Glasgow High Court jury two years ago.

During that trial, Pacteau claimed he was gay.

He also insisted in evidence that: “I believe rape is the lowest of the low. I would rather be charged with murder than attempted rape.”

However, he was convicted of a subsequent and unrelated forgery offence and received a community service order.

Police believe Pacteau was searching for a victim on April 12.

Fuelled by vodka, they believe he decided to stalk a woman on Dumbarton Road after he left the nightclub.

Police Scotland are dismissive of “the tissue of lies” Pacteau told in trying to explain his brutal killing of the nurse as a momentary loss

of control because of his alcohol consumption.

“I think there was a premeditated plan that night to find some victim,” Det Supt Jim Kerr said.

Det Supt Kerr, who led the murder investigation, said CCTV security camera footage offered a major insight into Pacteau’s actions.

“There is no question he saw an opportunity. But whether that was Karen Buckley or somebody else remains to be seen.”

Detectives are convinced Pacteau went onto Dumbarton Road looking for a woman to stalk.

Pacteau admitted Karen’s murder at Kelvin Way in Glasgow in the early hours of April 12.

He entered his plea before Glasgow High Court on August 11.

READ MORE:

Evil killer contacted escorts just before Karen's murder  

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