Karen Buckley's parents have described Alexander Pacteau "a truly evil coward" and welcomed the decision of Scotland's High Court to hand a life sentence to him for murdering their daughter.
John and Marian Buckley said although the sentence would not bring Karen back, it would ensure other women were safe from Pacteau (21).
Mr and Mrs Buckley sat near Pacteau in the High Court of Justiciary in Glasgow as judge Lady Rae sentenced him to a miniumum of 23 years in prison before he can apply for parole.
The couple watched from the public gallery as Pacteau sat in the glass-plated dock with his head bowed throughout Lady Rae’s sentencing statement. He showed no emotion as he turned towards the public gallery to descend into the cells beneath the court.
The Buckleys, who travelled to Glasgow on Monday, were flanked by Police Scotland Liaison Officers, Det Sgt Elaine Carey and Det Sgt Hannah Naseem as well as Det Chief Insp Allan Burton, all of whom had travelled to Mourneabbey, Co Cork last April for their daughter's funeral.
After the sentencing, the Buckleys spent some time with the police and Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, who prosecuted the case against Pacteau and also visited the Buckley’s home in July to brief them on the progress of the case.
Afterwards, the couple, whose three sons, Brendan, Kieran and Damian did not accompany them to Glasgow for the hearing, issued a brief statement through the Crown Prosecution Service in which they told of their feelings at seeing their daughter’s killer jailed for life.
“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,” the couple said, just five months after issuing a plea, also in Glasgow, that she would be returned safely to them.
“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,” the statement said.
"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."
The statement said the family wanted 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.”
In a separate statement, 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.”