Alexander Pacteau appeal to be heard next month

Pacteau appealing severity of 23 year sentence for murder of Karen Buckley

The man convicted of the murder of Irish student Karen Buckley in Glasgow earlier this year is to have his appeal against the severity of his sentence heard next month.

Alexander Pacteau (21) was jailed for a minimum of 23 years after he pleaded guilty to the murder of Ms Buckley in Glasgow in the early hours of April 12th, 2015 .

Sentencing judge Lady Rae sentenced Pacteau, from Bearsden in Glasgow, to life imprisonment with a stipulation that he serve at least 23 years before he can apply for parole.

The three judges of the Court of Criminal Appeal, which sits in Edinburgh, is set to hear Pacteau’s appeal against severity of sentence on December 4th.


It is understood defence lawyers will make submissions on Pacteau’s behalf based on Lady Rae’s sentencing statement and Scottish lawyers for the prosecution will respond.

It is expected legal arguments for both defence and prosecution will be heard in full on the day but the judges may reserve judgement. They could also give their decision on the day.

The Scottish authorities have been in touch with Ms Buckley’s parents, John and Marian, and advised them that the case is coming up for hearing.

The couple had travelled to Glasgow in both August when Pacteau first pleaded guilty to their daughter’s murder and then again in September when he was sentenced for the crime.

Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Buckley said Pacteau's life sentence would never bring their daughter back but they hoped that Pacteau would never be released from jail.

“I hope that he is never released and spends every day in prison haunted by what he did,” said Mr Buckley.

At the sentencing, Lady Rae said she found it “extremely difficult to find words appropriate to describe the dreadful crime” committed by Pacteau.

Ms Buckley from Mourneabbey in Co Cork was a qualified nurse and had come to Glasgow last January to do a Masters in Occupational Therapy at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Lady Rae had heard how police believe that Pacteau murdered Ms Buckley within 20 minutes of meeting her in a chance encounter outside a Glasgow nightclub.

“To you, she was a complete stranger .... in a matter of minutes, for some unknown and inexplicable reason, you destroyed her young life and devastated a family.”

Lady Rae heard how Pacteau had bludgeoned Ms Buckley to death with a spanner and how he later tried to dispose of her body by soaking her remains in a bath of caustic soda.

Lady Rae said she regretted the Crown Prosecution had chosen to withdraw a second charge from the indictment of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

This second charge covered Pacteau’s post-mortem attempts to destroy Ms Buckley’s body. Lady Rae said her hands were somewhat tied by that decision not to proceed with the secondary charge.

However she believed she could not ignore Pacteau’s conduct after the killing and it has always been the case that what an accused person does to conceal the crime may be an aggravating factor.

There was only one sentence which she could impose for murder, which was life, but she had to consider the length of the punishment part of the term in order to meet requirements of retribution and deterrence.

She also had to take into account what discount to give for his early plea, but felt attempts to frustrate the search by trying to destroy her body limited the discount available to him.

She fixed the punishment part of the sentence at 25 years with a two year discount for his guilty plea, thus requiring Pacteau to serve 23 years before he can apply for parole on the life sentence.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times