Alexander Pacteau

Karen Buckley's killer sentenced to minimum of 23 years in prison for her murder

Her parents said: “Today’s life sentence will not bring our beautiful Karen back.”

Updated 10.30am

pacteau Alexander Pacteau Mike Gibbons / Spindrift Mike Gibbons / Spindrift / Spindrift

KAREN BUCKLEY’S KILLER Alexander Pacteau will serve a minimum of 23 years in prison, after being handed a life sentence for her murder at Glasgow High Court.

He had pled guilty to a single charge of murder.

It is reported Judge Lady Rae took into account his age and early guilty plea, but that she would limit the “discount” for his early plea due to his conduct after the crime.

Buckley’s parents, from Mourneabbey in Co Cork, were seen arriving at the court for the verdict.

Karen Buckley death PA WIRE PA WIRE

In a statement, Karen’s parents 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.

The murder investigation involved more than 500 police officers, and specialist forensic teams. It also required sifting through hours of CCTV to piece together Karen Buckley’s last movements as well as Pacteau’s involvement in her death.

A statement from Scotland’s Prosecution Service said that Pacteau 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.

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.


The sentencing of Alexander Pacteau by Judge Rae was recorded for subsequent broadcast on Sky News and online.

Journalists were also able to tweet live from the sentencing. However only the actual sentencing is to be recorded, not the plea in mitigation.

The court heard that Pacteau’s defence counsel said he expressed regret.

The BBC reports that the judge, Lady Rae, said her hands have been tied on sentencing Pacteau – she cannot enhance his sentence. This is because some charges were left off the indictment.

She spoke of the “extraordinary” lengths he went to cover up the murder, which shows his lack of remorse, said the BBC.

Guilty plea

Pacteau pled guilty last month to the murder on 12 April of Irish nurse Karen, who vanished following a night out in the Sanctuary nightclub in the Scottish city.

Pacteau attempted to strangle Karen before hitting her repeatedly with a heavy spanner and then hiding her body on a farm.

Karen Buckley had moved from Cork to Glasgow at the start of this year, to take up a course at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Karen Buckley death Karen Buckley PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

Her disappearance prompted a huge search in Glasgow.

Pacteau was arrested and charged with murder on 17 April after Karen’s remains were discovered.

It subsequently emerged that Pacteau had stood trial for attempted rape in 2013 but was acquitted by majority verdict.

- Additional reporting Cianan Brennan

Read: Alexander Pacteau pleads guilty to the murder of Irish nurse Karen Buckley

Read: Woman who accused Alexander Pacteau of attempted rape says she ‘knew he would strike again’

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