"I hope that he is never released and spends every day in prison haunted by what he did"

Karen's parents arrive at Glasgow High Court ahead of sentencing
Karen's parents arrive at Glasgow High Court ahead of sentencing

The man who callously murdered Irish student Karen Buckley has been sentenced to life in prison for the heinous crime.

Update: 12.44:

Full video of Judge Lady Rae delivering the sentence


Judge Lady Rae this morning imposed a life sentence on Alexander Pacteau after he pleaded guilty last month.

He will serve a minimum of 23 years before he will be eligible for parole.

Judge Lady Rae said Pacteau had carried out a "brutal, motiveless attack on a defenceless young woman".

"Truly evil" Pacteau targeted 24-year-old Buckley when she was on a night-out with friends in the city's west end in April.

Last month, he admitted repeatedly hitting Ms Buckley with a spanner before strangling her in his car.

For a time he drove around Glasgow with Karen's dead body in the passenger seat of his car before trying to dissolve her remains in caustic soda in the bathtub of his flat and later in a plastic barrel.

He then hid the barrel in a storage shed on an isolated Glasgow hill farm. Pacteau initially claimed to detectives, who identified him from CCTV footage, that they had consensual sex at his flat and she had fallen and injured herself on the bed frame.

The 21-year-old is currently incarcerated at one of Scotland's toughest prisons, HM Barlinnie Prison.

Lady Rae continued: "I find it extremely difficult to find words appropriate to describe the dreadful crime to which you pleaded guilty.

"Karen Buckley was a young woman in the prime of life.

"To you she was a stranger who appeared tragically to have accepted a lift in your car.

"Within a matter of minutes, for some inexplicable reason, you destroyed her young life."

The judge said Pacteau had gone to "extraordinary lengths" to conceal what he had done and told a "tissue of lies" to police investigating her disappearance.

Miss Buckley's parents John and Marian travelled from Cork to see Pacteau plead guilty on August 11 and were in court again today.

The qualified nurse had only been in Glasgow for a few months before her killing.

She had recently left her job at an Essex hospital and moved to Scotland to study for a masters degree in occupational health therapy at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Miss Buckley was described as an outgoing woman whose life revolved around her family and friends.

In a statement after the sentencing hearing, John Buckley said: "Today's life sentence will not bring our beautiful Karen back. "Our little angel was taken from us forever in the cruellest of ways.

"We mourn for her every day. (The sentence) 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 Gardaí 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 any try to piece our lives together. We have three wonderful sons and we need to be there for each other as a family.

"We would be grateful if we could now be left alone to grieve and our family’s privacy respected.

"Karen is at peace now and we know that she is in Heaven looking down on us and helping us."