VIDEO: The dignity of Karen Buckley's devastated dad

John Buckley reads a statement with his wife Marian outside Glasgow High Court after Alexander Pacteau admitted the murder of their daughter Karen last April. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA

“Our hearts are broken at the thought of Karen’s final moments on this world.

“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.”

Speaking moments after Alexander Pacteau pleaded guilty to the murder of Karen Buckley, her father John described her killer as ‘evil’, and said he hopes the 21-year-old spends the rest of his life in prison.

Glasgow High Court heard that Pacteau killed Karen by hitting her at least 12 times with a spanner, before hiding her body in a barrel of chemicals. He had offered her a lift from outside the Sanctuary Nightclub where they met in the early hours of Sunday, April 12. CCTV footage captured them walking along Dumbarton Rd, and Pacteau then drove with her in his car to nearby Kelvin Way.

The car was parked on the street for 12 minutes, during which time Pacteau, who calls himself a “self-employed sales consultant”, attacked and murdered her by grabbing her neck and delivering 12 or 13 blows with the spanner.

Following the guilty plea, the court heard in forensic detail how Pacteau tried to hide his crime by dissolving Karen’s body in chemicals.

Judge Lady Rita Rae described the case as “shocking and disturbing”.

“You killed a young woman, who was a stranger to you,” she said.

“This was a motiveless, senseless and brutal attack on her.

“What you did after, including telling police a tissue of lies, would have no doubt caused the family increased distress.”

Karen’s parents, John and Marian, and her brothers Brendan, Kieran, and Damien were in court for the proceedings.

Pacteau, dressed in a grey suit, sat with his head bowed throughout and displayed no emotion as he was led away to his cell. He will be sentenced on September 8.

Speaking outside court as his wife clutched a picture of their daughter, Mr Buckley thanked those who have helped the family over the past four months, and the Scottish police for bringing her killer to justice.

“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, as we know now, when we got that phone call, Karen was missing in Glasgow and her phone had gone dead,” he said. “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.

“Having to phone our three sons and give them the dreadful news before they heard it on the media was one of the hardest things we ever had to do…

“I dread to think of them trying to deal with the shock and horror of being told that their only sister had been brutally murdered.

“When Karen’s body was released a week later, we went back to Glasgow as a family and brought her to our home in Mourneabbey. 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.

“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…

“All Karen was doing was making her way home when she was randomly targeted and murdered by a cowardly, vicious criminal.


“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 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 we were able to find Karen and bring her home and give her a dignified burial,” he said.

Speaking of how Pacteau tried to destroy Karen’s remains, Mr Buckley said her killer not only robbed her of life, but stole her from her family in death.

“Not only did he rob Karen of her precious life and future but he robbed us of our beautiful daughter and sister,” he said. “He also robbed us of Karen in death as we never got to see her, hold her or kiss her goodbye.

“It’s 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…

“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…

“She is not suffering now, she is in her new home in heaven.

“We miss her terribly.”

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