herald

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Police wanted to observe behaviour of suspect - retired officer

POLICE investigating the disappearance of Karen Buckley did not initially declare Alexander Pacteau as a suspect so they could observe his behavior, a former chief inspector with Police Scotland has claimed.

Pacteau (21) was first interviewed on Tuesday after he was identified as the man who was seen on CCTV leaving the Sanctuary nightclub in Glasgow with Karen.

He told investigators that he and Karen had gone back to his flat where they spent some time before she left at around 4am, declining a lift he had offered her.

Detectives said at a press briefing that he was no longer a suspect and let him go, but Pacteau was arrested again yesterday before human remains were found on a farm outside the city. Police said they were following a definite line of inquiry.

"They've obviously played their cards close to their chest with some very clever investigation work behind the scenes to have traced this girl and made this arrest so quickly," former chief inspector Les Gray said.

"There is a very sound investigatory reason (for releasing him) and that would be to put that person at ease, because if that individual believes he is no longer a suspect he may go and do something that he wouldn't ordinarily have done.

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"It was a classic case of putting him at his ease to see what he does," he added.

Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland, Mr Gray said Scottish police would have taken Karen's disappearance very seriously from the moment her friends called.

"From the first minute this call was received they thought this was a matter to be taken very seriously," he said.

"They always do with cases like this. They don't sit on it and see what develops.

"The fact that her friends phoned up and the details that they gave, she was a lovely young girl who would never leave her friends, that would obviously be emphasised in that first call," he added.

"The operator obviously realised that this was something that had to be taken seriously. We've all seen how much effort was put into this from day one.

"They've got the expertise and major investigation teams whose only job 24-hours-a-day is to tackle serious crime like this and they've done extremely well."

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