'We hope her cowardly killer will spend rest of his days behind bars', says Karen's family
The devastated father of murdered Karen Buckley branded her killer Alexander Pacteau a "cowardly, vicious criminal" who is "truly evil".
John Buckley (62) said Karen's family are haunted by the thought of her horrific death at his hands, adding: "We hope that he will spend the rest of his life behind bars."
Speaking outside Glasgow High Court, Mr Buckley described his daughter as "our little angel".
"Our hearts are broken at the thought of Karen's final moments on this world," he said.
Karen's family were present in court to see Pacteau (21) plead guilty to her murder.
The court heard how he first attempted to strangle Karen minutes after offering her a lift home from Glasgow's Sanctuary nightclub last April 12.
The 24-year-old nurse from Mourneabbey, Co Cork bravely fought for her life, but Pacteau beat her to death with a spanner in his car, bludgeoning her head as many as 13 times.
He later made a sickening attempt to cover up his brutal crime when he tried to dispose of her body using caustic soda.
Karen's father was joined by his wife Marian (61) and their three sons Brendan (32), Damien (27) and Kieran (28) outside the court.
His voice broke with emotion as he read out a statement after the hearing.
"All Karen was doing was making her way home when she was randomly targeted and murdered by a cowardly vicious criminal," he said.
"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".
"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.
"Only for the swift action of the police and the people of Glasgow were we able to find Karen and bring her home and give her a dignified burial.
"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 goodbye.
"It is too late now for Karen, but in the future we hope Glasgow will be a safer place for women to walk in, which is their right and to not have this evil murderer to fear.
"Coming back to Glasgow where our beautiful daughter/sister was brutally murdered, is incredibly difficult for all of us."
Mr Buckley explained how they had travelled to the city when Karen first went missing, clinging to hope that she was still alive, describing the phone call they had received as "every parent's worst nightmare".
"We went over, waited, hoped and prayed day and night for her safe return, only to be told she had been murdered. We were devastated," he said.
He told of how the family brought Karen's body home to their small community in Cork.
"That was a very special night as we were all together again under the one roof where Karen and her three brothers had grown up," said Mr Buckley.
"Two days later, after the funeral mass, our three sons and I lowered Karen's coffin into her grave, her final resting place."
"What a waste of a young life. It all seemed unreal."
Mr Buckley said his entire family now cherish the memories they hold of Karen.
"We will never see Karen again in this life. Never see her smiling face, hear her laugh and hear her voice. There are no words to describe our loss. We know, even though she is gone from this life, she is still very close to us.
"She will always be in our broken hearts wherever we go. We talk to her, pray to her and we know that she will help us. Though Karen will never come back, we only hope someday to be with her."
Mr Buckley's voice broke as he revealed the phrase his family now have for Karen.
"One word has come up so many times and Marian has said it again and again. Karen is our little angel and she is right. She is not suffering now, she is in her new home in heaven. We miss her terribly".
Pacteau now faces a life sentence, though the actual amount of time he will spend in prison will only be determined on September 8.
Crown prosecutors had not proceeded with a charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of a body.
"This is a shocking and disturbing case," said Justice Lady Rae, who described Pacteau's actions as "callous and calculating", noting how his actions and "tissue of lies" had caused incredible distress for the Buckley family.
Pacteau's counsel, John Scullion QC, apologised in court to the Buckley family on his client's behalf.
"He has instructed me to convey on his behalf an apology to Karen Buckley's family and friends but he understands that such words are unlikely to be of any comfort to them," he said.
Mr Scullion said Pacteau can offer "no rational explanation as to why he behaved in the way he did".
"The accused recalls a trivial argument in the car whereby he took exception to something Karen Buckley said about the males present in The Sanctuary nightclub," he said.
"He reacted angrily, lost his temper and then assaulted Karen Buckley, as described in the narrative, resulting in her death.
"He accepts that his actions in attempts to dispose of Karen Buckley's body were despicable and beneath contempt."
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