'He robbed us of our beautiful daughter and sister': Buckley family issue statement

Karen Buckley's father, John, read out an emotional statement on behalf of his family after Alexander Pacteau today pleaded guilty to her murder in April.

'He robbed us of our beautiful daughter and sister': Buckley family issue statement

Karen Buckley's father, John, read out an emotional statement on behalf of his family after Alexander Pacteau today pleaded guilty to her murder in April.

Here is how the events unfolded in Glasgow today.

Update: 4.40pm: It has emerged Pacteau stood trial last year accused of a sex attack on woman – just a mile from where he murdered Karen Buckley.

Pacteau was charged with attempting to rape the female in Baliol Lane in Glasgow's Woodlands on November 27, 2011.

The allegation included claims he grabbed the woman, forced her to the ground and repeatedly put his hand over her mouth.

It was claimed Pacteau pinned her down before sexually assaulting her.

Pacteau faced the charged at the High Court in Glasgow in February 2013, but was later found not guilty.

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Update: 2.20pm: Karen Buckley's father, John has read out a highly emotional victim impact statement outside Glasgow High Court where, earlier, Alexander Pacteau admitted murdering his daughter, Karen.

John Buckley described her killer as “truly evil” and said he hoped he would “spend the rest of his life behind bars”.

He said what he and his wife have gone through is "every parents worst nightmare" and described Pacteau as a "cowardly, vicious criminal".

He said: "He robbed us of our beautiful daughter and sister."

"It is too late for Karen, but Glasgow is now a safer place now that this evil murderer has been caught."

John Buckley delivers his emotional statement outside Glasgow High Court

He concluded his statement by saying: "Karen is our little angel, she is not suffering now, she is in her new home in heaven."

The full statement from the Buckley family is below:

"Marian and I, together with our family, would like to thank everybody here in Glasgow and back in Ireland, that have helped us cope with this terrible tragedy. We are very grateful for the support and messages of sympathy received and for the people who keep us in their thoughts and prayers.

"We thank the Scottish police for their professionalism in the search for Karen, and in bringing her killer to justice. Their personal support and kindness throughout our nightmare ordeal, keeping us informed and travelling over to Karen’s funeral is greatly appreciated.

"We also like to thank our own Garda force for all the help with Karen’s removal and funeral and in conjunction with Glasgow High Court for keeping us informed with all aspects of this case.

"Coming back to Glasgow where our beautiful daughter / sister was brutally murdered, is incredible difficult for all of us.

"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. 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. Kieran and Damien were on route from Sydney. It took several hours throughout the night to make contact with them. Brendan was at home. 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.

"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.

"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.

"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 good bye.

"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.

"Karen was a normal 24 year old girl very kind, always smiling, always happy, the youngest of four, our only daughter, and our baby. Just like her brothers she was so genuine so caring she loved life.

"As a fully qualified nurse she especially liked helping older people. She loved Glasgow and the Caledonia University where she studied Occupational Therapy. Like many young people, Karen loved to travel, she made lots of friends and thoroughly enjoyed her life.

"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.

"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."

***

Update: 1.40pm: Alexander Pacteau is to be sentenced in Glasgow High Court on September 8 after he pleaded guilty to the murder of Karen Buckley.

Update: 1.30pm: Pacteau's solicitor tells the hearing his client has been seen by two psychiatrists who deemed him fit to plea today.

Update: 1.20pm: The court hears through Pacteau's solicitor, that the 21-year-old apologises to Karen Buckley's family and friends.

The defence solicitor tells the hearing that Pacteau can offer no rational explanation for his actions, and says Pacteau was extremely intoxicated.

Pacteau's solicitor tells the court that Pacteau recalls reacting angrily to a "trivial argument" he had with Karen Buckley in his car.

The solicitor claims that this trivial argument was the trigger for Pacteau's violent reaction.

Update: 1.10pm: The court is beginning to hear three victim impact statements from the Buckley family.

Dressed in a grey suit, Alexander Pacteau has sat with his head bowed throughout proceedings.

Lord Advocate Mulholland thanks the Glasgow public and management of Sanctuary nightclub for their assistance in the case.

He tells the hearing that the case "touched the hearts" of the Glasgow public and thanks the police for their "sterling work".

***

Here is what the court has heard so far.

A 21-year-old Scottish man has pleaded guilty to the murder of Irish woman Karen Buckley in Glasgow last April, and admitted to attempting to cover up his crime.

Read More:
Karen Buckley: A timeline to murder

Alexander Pacteau this morning pleaded guilty before Lady Rita Rae in Glasgow High Court to the murder of Karen Buckley on Sunday, April 12.

Following the guilty plea, the court heard how the 24-year-old nurse from Cork had left the Sanctuary nightclub at approximately 1am on the morning in question, crossed the road and was seen on CCTV speaking to Pacteau.

Using CCTV and forensic evidence, Scottish police subsequently established that Pacteau drove Ms Buckley from the vicinity of the club in the direction of her apartment only to pull into Kelvin Way for approximately 12 minutes.

It was in this 12 minute timeframe that Alexander Pacteau murdered Karen Buckley by choking her and beating her repeatedly in the head with a large wrench.

Pacteau then discarded Ms Buckley’s bag in a park near his apartment on Dorchester Avenue in West Glasgow.

Pacteau’s housemate’s mother was visiting on the night of the murder – both she and Pacteau’s housemate were asleep as he brought Ms Buckley’s body into his bedroom where he kept it for the night.

Scottish Prosecutors then outlined how in the hours after the murder, Pacteau used his smartphone to search the internet for information on sodium hydroxide, a chemical better known as caustic soda, which is commonly used as a drain cleaner.

Over the next two days Pacteau bought dozens of litres of the chemical from stores across north Glasgow. While his housemate was out hillwalking with his mother, Pacteau submerged his victim’s body in caustic soda in his apartment’s bathtub.

The chemicals did not work as he had intended. He then wrapped the body in a duvet, brought it to his room, and cleaned his apartment before his housemate returned.

The next day he attempted to destroy the evidence of his crime and attempts to hide the murder, and bought a barrel in which he placed Ms Buckley’s remains, partially covering it in sodium hydroxide.

Pacteau then locked the barrel and hid it under a sheet and other items in a storage unit on a farm north of Glasgow.

Ms Buckley’s friends quickly became concerned for her whereabouts shortly after she left the nightclub. The called the police the next day, who used CCTV footage to trace Pacteau.

He was questioned as a witness in a missing person case, a status that changed when sniffer dogs indicated that a body had been in Pacteau’s car. DNA samples taken from his apartment showed traces of Ms Buckley’s blood.

Mr Pacteau had claimed that Ms Buckley had come with him to his apartment, injured herself in his room, and then walked home. Forensic evidence of blood taken from his car proved that this was not the case. Pacteau was detained by police at lunchtime on the Wednesday April 15.

After Pacteau was named in the media as the last person to see Ms Buckley alive, a member of the public contacted police to inform them that Pacteau used to sell fireworks that he kept in a storage unit on a farm north of Glasgow.

It was here that police discovered Ms Buckley’s body, less than four days after she had disappeared.

***

Update: 12:50pm: The Glasgow hearing is told that police found a receipt for caustic soda and two keys in Pacteau's pocket.

They then hear that Pacteau lied and told police that Karen Buckley came back to his apartment after the nightclub.

The court hears that a police sample from Pacteau's apartment matched Karen Buckley's DNA and a sniffer dog indicated that a body had been in his boot.

Pacteau was detained at Starbucks in Glasgow city centre on the Wednesday after Karen Buckley's disappearance.

The same day a man called police and told them Pacteau used to store fireworks in a farm north of Glasgow, the court hears.

The court is told that police found the barrel Pacteau had hid on the farm and that the site was cleared for health concerns.

Fire and Rescue cleared it for inspection, and Karen Buckley's body was found in it.

Detailed forensic evidence follows, and Lord Advocate Mulholland pauses to allow anyone who wants to leave the court to do so.

Update: 12:40pm: The court in Glasgow is hearing evidence of how Pacteau disposed of Karen Buckley's body.

The court hears how a neighbour saw Pacteau struggling to place a barrel into his car.

Visiting High Craigton Farm, Pacteau paid a farmer £10 to rent a storage unit for a week.

Pacteau placed the barrel with Karen Buckley's body into the storage unit and covered it with a sheet and other items.

Afterwards, Pacteau had his car cleaned by a valet and composed an ad to sell the vehicle.

The court is now hearing how police investigated the crime.

The court is told how police used CCTV to trace Alexander Pacteau. They went to his house on Dochester Avenue and noticed a strong smell of bleach in his apartment.

The court is told that Pacteau told police he was coming to see them.

Update: 12:30pm: The court has heard that while his housemate and mother were out hillwaking, Pacteau went to B&Q and bought caustic soda.

Pacteau would attempt to dissolve Karen Buckey's remains in a bath. The court hears further, more detailed forensic evidence, before hearing that he brought Karen Buckley's body back to his room, drained the bath and cleaned the apartment before his housemate returned.

The court is hearing how Pacteau spent the next day destroying evidence and attempted to cover his tracks.

He destroyed evidence at a farm North of Glasgow which he was familiar with.

Update: 12:20pm: The court hears that they parked on Kelvin Way for two minutes, during which Pacteau murdered Karen Buckley.

Lady Rita Ray, judge, is shown the murder weapon, a large spanner, and she remarks that it is heavy.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland says that after the murder, Pacteau discarded Karen Buckley's bag in a park near his apartment on Dorchester Avenue.

He got a sheet and brought Karen's body into his flat. His housemate and housemate's visiting mother were in the flat asleep at the time.

At 8am in the morning after the murder, Pacteau searched the internet for the properties of sodium hydroxide - caustic soda.

Update: 12:10pm: Alexander Pacteau has admitted the murder of Karen Buckley.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland (Scottish prosecutor) is outlining the details of what happened the night Karen Buckley died.

Alexander Pacteau was out with friends and drove to the Sanctuary nightclub on Saturday, April 12. He parked opposite the club.

Pacteau left the club at 1am. There is no indication that he spoke to or met Karen Buckley in the club.

Karen Buckley left the club at 1am when she met Pacteau across the road and they got into his car.

Update: 11:55am: The hearing has been adjourned for legal argument and will resume shortly to hear evidence.

***

Alexander Pacteau is in court in Glasgow today in connection with the death of Cork student Karen Buckley.

Karen's parents, Marian and John Buckley, are also at the High Court in Glasgow today.

A large police search was launched for Miss Buckley, 24, when she was reported missing after a night out in Glasgow on April 12.

Her remains were found at High Craigton Farm on the north-western outskirts of the city following a four-day search.

There will be live updates as we get them.

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