Devastated Buckley family bring Karen's body back from Glasgow
THE family of murdered student Karen Buckley (24) provided an emotional guard of honour as they escorted their loved one's remains home to Ireland from Scotland.
The body of the occupational therapist was flown from Glasgow to Cork Airport shortly after 2.30pm yesterday, 14 days after her death.
Her devastated parents, John (62) and Marian (61), accompanied the coffin on the flight with support being provided by Mourneabbey parish priest Fr Joe O'Keeffe.
Karen's brothers, Brendan (32), Kieran (28) and Damien (27) were also present to comfort their heartbroken parents.
The remains were brought back to Ireland on a special Airbus chartered by Aer Lingus Regional/Stobart Air.
In a gesture of support, the airline is understood to be footing the bulk of the repatriation costs.
The return of the 24-year-old's remains was delayed by procedural matters in Glasgow, including the request for a second post-mortem examination. That was concluded on Friday.
Karen's remains were immediately transferred to a silver hearse at Cork Airport and brought to the family farmhouse at Glynn, outside Mourneabbey in north Cork.
Last night, Karen was the subject of a traditional prayer vigil, with her remains never being unaccompanied.
The Rosary and prayers were private and limited to immediate family, close friends and neighbours.
Mallow gardaí have now put in place special measures to deal with Karen's removal today and funeral tomorrow.
The funeral is expected to be one of the biggest ever witnessed in north Cork.
Karen will be taken to O'Connell's funeral home on St James's Avenue, Mallow, where they will remain from 4pm to 8pm today.
She will then be removed to the Church of St Michael the Archangel in Analeentha for 2pm Requiem Mass tomorrow.
Fr O'Keeffe admitted that "a darkness" has fallen over the community.
"We will do everything we can to support them in these very difficult days," he said.
A one-way traffic system will be put in place in Mourneabbey, while hundreds of traffic, parking and support volunteers have been offered by Mourneabbey Community Council, Clyda Rovers GAA and Mourneabbey Ladies FC.
Local farmers have also offered fields for use as temporary car-parks.
The Church of St Michael the Archangel at Analeentha has a capacity of just 300.
It is the church where Karen made her Holy Communion and Confirmation.
The church is metres from Analeentha primary school, where Karen was a student until 2003.
Alexander Pacteau (21) is charged with Karen's murder on April 12.
Her remains were found at an isolated farm outside Glasgow after days of searches involving hundreds of police from all over Scotland.