Karen Buckley killer appeals 23-year sentence

The family of murdered Irish student nurse Karen Buckley may have to relive their nightmare: Her killer, Alexander Pacteau, has applied to have his sentence reduced.

Pacteau, described by Karen’s family as “truly evil”, lodged the appeal against his sentence at the weekend. The 21-year-old was jailed for a minimum of 23 years for bludgeoning the student nurse to death with a spanner in April.

The former public schoolboy tried to dispose of the 24-year-old’s body in a vat of chemicals. As she sentenced him for murder at the High Court in Glasgow earlier this month, Judge Rita Rae said he had carried out a ”brutal, senseless and motiveless attack on a defenceless young woman”.

Pacteau has now lodged papers at the Court of Criminal Appeal, in Edinburgh in a bid to reduce his sentence.

A spokesman for the court said: “Alexander Pacteau lodged a notice of intention to appeal against sentence on September 16, 2015.”

Pacteau originally faced a second charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice, by misleading police and concealing Ms Buckley’s body. The Crown withdrew the charge before his plea and his solicitor, John Scullion QC, suggested his actions after the killing should not therefore be considered in sentencing.

However, Judge Rae said she could not ignore Pacteau’s conduct following Ms Buckley’s death.

The judge told Pacteau: “I regret that the Crown, in withdrawing charge two, has to some extent tied my hands in relation to this sentence. After reflecting on submissions, I have come to the view that I cannot ignore your conduct after the killing.”

Ms Buckley, who was studying for a masters degree in occupational health therapy, at Glasgow Caledonian University, was on a night out to the Sanctuary nightclub, in the city, when she was preyed on by Pacteau.

In the early hours of April 12, he was filmed on CCTV chatting to her outside the nightclub. He then drove her to nearby Kelvin Way, where he grabbed her neck and hit her a dozen blows with a spanner.

He took her body to his flat, where he stored it in the bath. In the days that followed, he made trips to High Craigton Farm, on the outskirts of Glasgow, where he burned a mattress and clothes. Pacteau bought caustic soda and a barrel, and placed Miss Buckley’s body inside, before leaving it in a locked storage unit he rented.

He told detectives that he had consensual sex with Karen at his flat and that she had fallen and injured herself on the bed frame, before leaving.

Karen’s parents, John and Marian Buckley, have said they hope the “truly evil coward” is never released from jail.

A Scottish politician has called for a crackdown on prison “perks” after it emerged Pacteau can watch satellite television and play games consoles in his cell.

Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont has called on the British government to review the facilities, after reports that HM Prison Shotts has spent €215,000 on 75 pieces of gym equipment for inmates.

More on this topic

Memorial service in Cork to mark one year since Karen Buckley's deathMemorial service in Cork to mark one year since Karen Buckley's death

Vigil for Cork student Karen Buckley, one year after her death in GlasgowVigil for Cork student Karen Buckley, one year after her death in Glasgow

Man who murdered Karen Buckley drops appeal against jail sentenceMan who murdered Karen Buckley drops appeal against jail sentence

Pacteau appeals length of 23-year-minimum sentencePacteau appeals length of 23-year-minimum sentence


Lifestyle

We take a trip down memory lane and check out what happened on this day in years gone by by looking back at some Irish Examiner front pages and highlighting other events which went down in history across the world.August 20, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

More From The Irish Examiner