‘Evil’ killer Alexander Pacteau sentenced to 23 years in jail

Alexander Pacteau
Alexander Pacteau

Alexander Pacteau has been sentenced to 23 years imprisonment for the murder of 24-year-old Karen Buckley today (Tuesday, September 8).

Pacteau, who pled guilty to killing Karen at a hearing on August 11 at The High Court in Glasgow, will spend a minimum of 23 years in prison after being told by Lady Rae that he had carried out a ‘motiveless and senseless’ attack.

Karen Buckley

Karen Buckley

The sentencing was broadcast live by Sky News. The court also granted permission to members of the press to use live text-based communication from court, allowing journalists to tweet live from the proceedings.

Karen, a nursing student from Cork in Ireland, had moved to Glasgow at the start of 2015 to take up a course at Glasgow Caledonian University.

She was reported missing after going for a night out with friends in the Sanctuary nightclub in the city’s west end in April of this year.

The High Court in Glasgow was told that Pacteau, who had offered Karen a lift after she had left the club, carried out the murder in his car before attempting to dispose of her body by dissolving it with caustic soda and then placing her remains in a barrel at High Craigton Farm near Milngavie.

The murder investigation involved more than five hundred police officers, specialist forensic teams and required sifting through hours of CCTV to piece together the last known movements of Karen Buckley and Pacteau’s involvement in her death.

Pacteau, a former Bearsden Academy pupil, who also attended Kelvinside Academy for a while, pled guilty to a single charge of murder.

David Harvie, Procurator Fiscal for the West of Scotland, said: “This was a complex investigation made harder by the fact Alexander Pacteau tried to cover up his horrendous crime. Firstly he tried to dispose of Karen’s body and then he repeatedly lied to the police about his actions.

“Pacteau has taken a young woman from her loving family and friends. He has shown no remorse and rightly will spend many years in prison.”

Miss Buckley’s parents John and Marian travelled from Cork to the sentencing today.

John said: “Today’s life sentence will not bring our beautiful Karen back. Our little angel has been taken from us forever in the cruellest of ways. We mourn for her every day. It will however ensure that women are safe from harm from the truly evil coward who took our beautiful Karen’s precious life. I hope that he is never released and spends every day in prison haunted by what he did.

“Marian and I would again like to thank the people of Scotland and Ireland, the Irish Garda and the Scottish Police and Prosecution service for all their help and support in bringing Karen’s killer to justice. We appreciate most especially those who keep us in their thoughts and prayers.

“We all want to move on and try to piece our lives back together. We have three wonderful sons and we need to be there for each other as a family. We would be grateful if we can now be left alone to grieve and our family’s privacy be respected.

“Karen is at peace now and we know that she is in heaven looking down on us and helping us.”

Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, Major Crime and Public Protection, said: “Today’s sentencing marks the conclusion of an investigation by Police Scotland which began immediately after Karen was reported missing and which led to the discovery of her body at High Craigton Farm, near Milngavie.

“I would like at this time to again offer the condolences of Police Scotland to Karen’s family and friends.

“The full resources of Police Scotland were directed towards understanding what happened to Karen and tracing the person responsible for her murder. Experienced murder investigators, working closely with local policing teams, specialist search officers and forensic experts, built up an overwhelming evidential case which led ultimately to Pacteau admitting his actions.

“Such incidents are rare in our communities; where they do take place we will carry out professional, thorough and rigorous investigations to bring those responsible to justice.”