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A bedroom filled with grief and love: Karen's parents grateful for prayers and sympathy

The Buckley family released this image of their daughter’s bedroom, filled with letters from well wishers after her death.

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EVERYBODY IN IRELAND and Scotland recognises the “smiling face” of Karen Buckley, her father realised today, referencing the many photos distributed of his daughter in the wake of her disappearance on 12 April.

It’s a sight that is lost to the world, that her family will never see again because of the actions of a “cold-blooded, cowardly murderer”, John Buckley said just moments after coming face to face with his daughter’s killer in a Glasgow court today.

Because of Alexander Pacteau’s ”callous” deeds, they will never hear her voice or listen to her laugh.

Not only did he take her precious future, he also stole away a beautiful daughter and sister – and robbed her parents and brothers of her in death too.

Karen Buckley death John Buckley hugs his wife Marian Buckley after making statement outside Glasgow High Court Source: PA Wire/PA Images

“We never got to see her, hold her or kiss her goodbye,” John continued in a statement that reverberated with devastation, incomprehension, anger and love.

The Cork man spoke about not having words to explain their overwhelming loss or to articulate how they feel about the “evil murderer” who Karen faced in the last hour of her life.

“Two days later after the funeral mass, our three sons and I lowered Karen’s coffin into her grave, her final resting place. What a waste of a young life. It all seemed unreal,” he read, keeping his composure throughout.

All Karen was doing was making her way home when she was randomly targeted and murdered by a cowardly vicious criminal. No words of ours can do justice to our feelings towards him. He is truly evil and we hope that he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

It was a sentiment that every mother and father in the country could understand. It is, as John said, every parent’s “worst nightmare”.

“… When we got that phone call, Karen was missing in Glasgow and her phone had gone dead. We went over, waited, hoped, and prayed day and night for her safe return, only to be told she had been murdered.”

As people across Ireland and Scotland rallied to show support, they also waited for news. And were dismayed as the hours kept ticking, and more so again as police made it clear they were immediately worried that she had come to harm.

It was those initial instincts and swift action that led officers to Pacteau – and Karen’s remains – before he could go through with whatever nefarious deed he had planned for her remains.

It allowed the family the dignity of a burial, to bring her to her resting place so her mother Marian can believe she is in her “new home in heaven”.

One word has come up so many times and Marian has said it again and again. Karen is our Little Angel and she is right. She is not suffering now, she is in her new home in heaven. We miss her terribly.

Karen Buckley death Karen Buckley with her brothers (left to right) Brendan, Damien, Kieran Buckley at Brendan's wedding in May 2014. Source: Crown Office

The Buckley family showed their gratitude to the police force in Scotland for both finding their daughter and bringing her killer to justice.

“Their personal support and kindness throughout our nightmare ordeal, keeping us informed and travelling over to Karen’s funeral is greatly appreciated.”

They also thanked the communities in Ireland and Glasgow who have helped them cope through the terrible ordeal.

We are very grateful for the support and messages of sympathy received and for the people who keep us in their thoughts and prayers.

They released a photo of Karen’s bedroom at their home in Mourneabbey. A young woman’s room – a brightly-coloured space, complete with cuddly toys and beauty products. But the bed has disappeared under a sea of letters, cards, and notes of well wishes and sympathy.

All sent after Karen’s disappearance and death, a snapshot of how Ireland mourns another daughter lost to tragedy abroad.

PastedImage-52932 Source: Family Photo

After becoming familiar with her smile, we learned how she loved being a nurse and had friends in all of her fellow University of Limerick graduates, all of whom turned up uniformed and carrying roses at her funeral mass.

We heard of “a country girl” who had “big hopes, big plans, big heart, big smile and caring hands”.

“She loved Glasgow and the Caledonia University where she studied Occupational Therapy,” her dad said today. “Like many young people, Karen loved to travel, she made lots of friends and thoroughly enjoyed her life.”

She had now-shattered dreams of more adventures, of caring for others as her chosen profession would allow and, maybe, of attending her own wedding as she had her brother’s not long before.

Now, her Dad says she will always be in their hearts, wherever they go.

“We talk to her, pray to her and we know that she will help us. Though Karen will never come back, we only hope someday to be with her.”

As Fr Joe O’Keeffe, who has been a support to the family throughout, said of our view of life: “Death and childhood are poles apart, and 24 years simply does not seem the right time to die. It does not seem to add up.”

Every parent’s worst nightmare. All she was doing was making her way home.

A chilling cover up: How police caught Karen Buckley’s killer

Karen Buckley’s family: ‘The last face she saw was of that cold-blooded cowardly murderer

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