Karen Buckley’s heartbroken family offer thanks for support

The heartbroken family of murdered student nurse Karen Buckley have spoken of their deep gratitude for the huge outpouring of sympathy and support they received since her disappearance and death in Glasgow two months ago.

Karen Buckley’s heartbroken family offer thanks for support

Mass cards and letters from all over the world still arrive at the family home in Mourneabbey, Co Cork, where Karen’s parents, John and Marion, struggle to cope with the shock of what has happened and the indescribable loss of their only daughter.

“What happened to Karen is terrible, it’s hard to believe or understand,” said Mr Buckley. To be deprived of being able to see, touch or kiss their beloved daughter and sister for one last time is something that remains profoundly upsetting for Karen’s parents and her three brothers, Brendan, Kieran, and Damian.

“We are extremely upset that Karen will never have the chance to live out her life, travel more, and pursue her career in occupational therapy,” Mr Buckley told the Irish Examiner.

READ MORE: Karen Buckley detective thanks Irish for support .

“That maybe someday she could have a family of her own and enjoy a happy and eventful life, which is what she would have wanted. We are still in shock and disbelief and it sometimes feels like all of this isn’t real.

“We are very grateful for all the support and messages of sympathy we have received from so many people from all over Ireland and Scotland. People have even written to us from America and South Africa.”

The family said they want to express their gratitude and appreciation for the help, assistance, and generosity they received throughout the horror of Karen’s disappearance from outside the Sanctuary nightclub in Glasgow on April 12, the high-profile and intensive search for her which made international headlines, and the eventual discovery of her body four days later.

Alexander Pacteau, 21, has been charged with Karen’s murder and will face trial this year

The fun-loving and popular 24-year-old student nurse’s brutal killing not only dominated the headlines and social media in Scotland and Ireland, it also touched the hearts of people in this country and abroad in a unique and powerful way. Because Karen had simply been on a celebratory night out with friends, and then so randomly attacked and killed, many remarked at the time how they could relate so easily to the tragedy as it could have been themselves, their sister or daughter in similar circumstances.

The horror prompted a huge surge of public and private sympathy for the Buckley family, who flew to Scotland the day after Karen went missing to join the search, appealed for her safe return at a press conference the following day, and a week later lowered her into a grave in their North Cork home place.

Among the spontaneous gestures of support and kindness was the establishment of a special fund by Karen’s friends and former nursing colleagues at the University of Limerick. They aimed to raise €5,000 to go towards the expenses incurred by the Buckley family while they were in Scotland but, within 24 hours, people had donated €50,000 and it rose to €70,000 before it was closed.

Mr and Mrs Buckley said that while they very much appreciate the generosity of those who set up the fund and the many people who contributed to it, the €70,000 will be donated to charity, “which is what Karen would have wished for”.

“We would like to thank everybody who helped us in any way,” said Mr Buckley.

“People have been very good to us and it means an awful lot.”

In addition to the fundraising, the support and generosity included countless offers of assistance and Aer Lingus and Stobart Air putting on an Airbus instead of the regular, much smaller, ATR turboprop airplane to accommodate Karen’s coffin on the flight home to Cork with her parents and three brothers.

The Buckley family are also extremely grateful for the professionalism of the Scottish police in the search for Karen, which was led by Detective Superintendent Jim Kerr, and the personal support and kindness of his colleagues, Alan Bowater, Hannah Naseem, and Elaine Carey, throughout their nightmare ordeal. It was mirrored by the people of Glasgow, who turned out in force to show their solidarity at a vigil in George Square.

“There are so many people we want to thank,” said Mrs Buckley. “Donal Attridge of O’Connell Funeral Directors in Mallow was incredibly helpful and supportive, and really went out of his way for us. We will always be very grateful to him for his professionalism and generosity to us.”

Mr Buckley also praised and thanked the gardaí, who worked in liaison with their Scottish counterparts, the people of Scotland who sympathised with them in huge numbers, and the staff and students of Glasgow Caledonian University, where Karen was studying.

“We also wish thank our local parish priest, Fr Joe O’Keeffe, who has been wonderful to us. He flew to Scotland to be with us and presided at the funeral Mass with 20 other priests,” said Mr Buckley.

“We want to thank everybody who sent cards and flowers and who came to the removal and the funeral, including the Taoiseach’s representative, the Church of Ireland representative, politicians and the City and County lord mayors, and Karen’s friends and colleagues from UL and St Mary’s who formed the guard of honour, as well as the choir and soloist Carmel Breen.

“We have great neighbours and friends and we are very grateful for all the help they have given us. A large number of people helped steward the removal and funeral, set up floodlights, and provide food and refreshments in the local community centre for all the people who came to the removal and funeral.”

READ MORE: Karen Buckley detective thanks Irish for support .

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