Karen Buckley family ‘haunted’ by thoughts of final moments

Murderer Alexander Pacteau was previously acquitted of attempted rape

The father of murdered Irish nurse Karen Buckley has described how her family is haunted by thoughts of her murder and her last moments alive.

Speaking on Tuesday in Glasgow after Alexander Pacteau (21) pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Buckley, her father said she had been "randomly targeted and murdered by a cowardly vicious criminal".

Joined by his wife, Marian and their three sons, Brendan, Kieran and Damien, John Buckley said: "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 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".

Mr Buckley said Pacteau was “truly evil and we hope that he will spend the rest of his life behind bars”.

The court heard Pacteau had beaten Ms Buckley to death minutes after meeting her outside a Glasgow nightclub on April 12th and then tried to destroy her body in a bath of caustic soda.

It emerged last night that Pacteau, originally from Bearsden in Glasgow, had been acquitted in 2013 when he was 17 of the attempted rape of a 24-year-old care worker.

Broadcaster STV, along with other Scottish media, reported the woman was returning from a 21st birthday party four years ago when she met Pacteau on the street and he tried to force her to perform a sex act on him. Pacteau denied this.

STV reported that witnesses living in nearby flats said they had heard “distressed, terrified, very definite scared screams” from a woman on the night of the incident.

Earlier trial

The broadcaster said it had acquired a transcript of the five-day trial at the high court in Paisley and that Pacteau had said: “I did not sexually assault this woman. I would never make an attempt to sexually assault this woman. I believe rape is the lowest of the low.

“I’d rather be charged with murder than attempted rape.”

Pacteau sat with his head bowed on Tuesday for much of the 2½-hour outline of the case given at the high court in Glasgow by the Lord Advocate. Prosecutor Frank Mulholland detailed to presiding judge, Lady Rae how Pacteau killed Ms Buckley with a spanner and then sought to destroy her body.

Regret

Defence counsel John Scullion QC said Pacteau deeply regretted his actions.

“He has instructed me to convey on his behalf an apology to Karen Buckley’s family and friends but he understands that such words are unlikely to offer much comfort to them.”

Lady Rae remanded Pacteau in custody for sentence on September 8th, Det Supt Jim Kerr, who led the investigation into Ms Buckley's murder, said: "I think there was a premeditated plan that night to find some young woman – there's no question he saw an opportunity but whether that was Karen Buckley or somebody else remains to be seen," he said.

The Buckley, family from Mourneabbey in north Cork, were accompanied in court by Garda Liaison Officer Sgt James O'Shea and their parish priest Fr Joe O'Keeffe.