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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Police 'gravely concerned' as Karen's bag is dumped in bin near park

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Police search for Karen Buckley
Police seal off an area around a bin after missing Irish student Karen Buckley handbag was found
Police seal off an area around a bin after missing Irish student Karen Buckley's handbag was found
Police search a house on Dorchester avenue Glasgow that missing Irish student Karen Buckley may have gone after leaving the Sanctuary nightclub on Dumbarton Road, Glasgow.
Police search the area near a house on Dorchester avenue Glasgow that missing Irish student Karen Buckley may have gone after leaving the Sanctuary nightclub on Dumbarton Road, Glasgow
Police search a house on Dorchester avenue Glasgow that missing Irish student Karen Buckley may have gone after leaving the Sanctuary nightclub on Dumbarton Road, Glagow. Pic:Mark Condren 14.4.2015
John and Marian Buckley at a press briefing at Govan Police station for the whereabouts of their daughter Karen who went missing in Glasgow

SEARCHES are continuing today for missing student Karen Buckley.

Hundreds of police officers from across Glasgow were on hand to search an industrial estate in the north west of the city.

The 24-year-old Cork native was last seen leaving the Sanctuary nightclub on Dumbarton Road on Saturday night.

She was spotted on CCTV leaving the popular nightspot with local man Alexander Pacteau at 1am. Police say Mr Pacteau has been helping them with their investigations after they tracked him down.

Police stressed today that Mr Pacteau is not a suspect. His apartment remains sealed off and search parties have been combing through undergrowth to the front and rear of the property.

A massive search operation remains under way in nearby Dawsholm Park.

Glasgow police say hundreds of extra officers have been drafted in to help in the search effort.

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The missing student's handbag was recovered from a bin at the entrance to the park shortly after 2.30pm yesterday. It is less than a five-minute walk away from Mr Pacteau's home.

Officers said they are "gravely concerned" for Karen and said they fear she may have come to some harm.

Searches of the 81-acre park and a nearby industrial estate resumed today at first light.

Karen's parents, Marian and John, joined police yesterday afternoon in appealing for help in finding their only daughter, saying they are "desperate" for her to come home.

Karen's handbag was later found by a member of the public in the bin near the park.

In a bizarre twist, Det Supt Jim Kerr said Mr Pacteau left the nightclub first and was followed outside by Karen.

READ MORE: Home town unites in prayer for missing student's safe return

Shortly afterwards, he drove with Karen to his apartment in Dorchester Avenue about two miles from the club.

Mr Pacteau (21) told police that he and Karen spent a few hours together before she left at 4am.

READ MORE: Timeline around Karen's disappearance

He said he offered to give Karen a lift home, but she declined.

Det Supt Kerr said yesterday that it "would not be a rare occurrence" for her to walk home after a night out.

It was revealed yesterday that her usual busy social media accounts have not been active since 1am on Sunday.

READ MORE: We are desperate for Karen to come home safely, say parents

"Although this is very much a missing person inquiry, we are gravely concerned for Karen's safety," said Det Supt Kerr.

"She has now been missing for more than 60 hours and she has not been seen or heard from since she left the Sanctuary nightclub at around 1am on Sunday, April 12.

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

Air support units and foot patrols scoured the Dawsholm Park area yesterday, but the search uncovered nothing.

Police are following several leads and have received a large number of calls in relation to a suspicious vehicle, a grey car spotted in remote locations outside the city.

"It has been seen in a rural area around Milngavie a number of times since Monday. We are not sure what it is doing out there," said Det Supt Kerr

Karen's parents travelled to Glasgow from their home in Mourneabbey, near Mallow, Co Cork, and made an emotional appeal at yesterday's press briefing.

"We just want Karen home safely," said her mother, Marian. "We are desperate, she is our only daughter. We love her dearly and if anybody has any information, please come forward. We would dearly appreciate it."

Karen's father, John, described his daughter as a "sensible girl" who would always keeps in contact.

"If anybody is holding Karen or anybody knows anything about her, just please return her," he said.

"Just give her back, we love her to bits. We're devastated."

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