Thursday 27 October 2016

Four-day hunt for Karen Buckley ended in tragedy

Karrie Gillett, Press Association Scotland

Published 11/08/2015 | 13:13

Karen Buckley’s brothers carry her coffin from the funeral home in Mallow
Karen Buckley’s brothers carry her coffin from the funeral home in Mallow

PEOPLE across Scotland and Ireland expressed their sympathy for the family of Karen Buckley after her disappearance.

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Vigils were held in both countries as tributes poured in for the 24-year-old when the discovery of her body brought a four-day search to an end.

The news of Miss Buckley's death came after a massive police hunt which began when she was reported missing by her friends.

They raised the alarm, saying it was "very out of character" for her not to return home.

Karen Buckley
Karen Buckley

She would always contact them by text or phone to let them know where she was, they said. She was also a user of social media but there was no activity on her accounts.

Read more: Breaking: 'I killed Karen' - Alexander Pacteau admits murder of Irish student

Police made a public appeal for information and scoured CCTV from the nightclub where she was last seen and the surrounding area.

A Facebook page set up urging people to look out for the missing student quickly gathered tens of thousands of followers and shares.

Detectives were led to the door of Alexander Pacteau, who admitted being with Miss Buckley but lied when he told them she had left his flat to make her own way home in the early hours of the morning.

Specialist police search teams focused their hunt on Dawsholm Park in the north-west of the city where her handbag was found and Pacteau's nearby flat on Dorchester Avenue.

Police divers, a helicopter crew and search dogs were now all involved, and the detective leading the inquiry said it was his "absolute priority" to find her.

But news that a 21-year-old man had been detained by police in connection with her disappearance was followed by the discovery of a body on a farm north of the city, confirming everyone's worst fears.

The following day as Pacteau appeared in court charged with murder, around 300 people gathered in Glasgow's George Square for a memorial organised to show support for her family.

Strangers spoke about how they were moved to attend the vigil to show their support, many bringing flowers and candles. Cards and messages were also left, with people expressing their grief.

Her parents and two of her brothers arrived towards the end of the vigil to look at the floral tributes.

A piper played and others sang Scottish and Irish songs before a minute's silence was held.

Read more: Revealed: Police release pictures used as part of Karen Buckley murder investigation

The following evening, 1,000 candles were lit as neighbours gathered to be part of a silent vigil, close to where the student lived.

In Ireland, the University of Limerick held a mass in her memory and created a small memorial with a photograph and candle at the reception to the health sciences building where Miss Buckley's nursing studies began.

She was described as a "very valued" member of the university and nursing community in Limerick.

Prayers were offered at services near the family home in Mourneabbey, north Cork, and the nearby town of Mallow.

The outpouring of support for the family also raised £50,000 in an online drive organised by her former university classmates - more than 10 times the original target amount.

Politicians in Scotland and Ireland were among those who sent their sympathies to the Buckley family.

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