Second charge against killer 'should not have been dropped'
Victims' rights groups have expressed concern at the Crown prosecutors' decision not to proceed with a charge against Alexander Pacteau of attempting to destroy Karen Buckley's body, once he indicated he was willing to plead guilty to her murder.
Justice Lady Rae in Glasgow High Court noted the decision and said it had partially "tied my hands" with sentencing.
However, the judge dismissed suggestions she could not take into account Pacteau's decision to try to destroy Karen's remains to hide his tracks.
Further, because Pacteau pleaded guilty and had no previous convictions for violent crime, he had to receive a 'discount' on his sentence.
The UK's National Victims Rights founder, David Hines, whose daughter Marie (23) was murdered, questioned decisions to drop charges. "This is not putting the general public or the poor victims first. It is not justice," he said.
And Scottish Labour's justice spokesman Graeme Pearson said it was unprecedented for a judge to publicly note the decision by prosecutors to drop a charge.
"It is highly unusual for a High Court judge to comment in the way that Lady Rae has on this occasion. I do agree with her that the circumstances of this case go beyond, by a number of stages, what would normally be dealt with as murder," he added.
However, Crown sources revealed that Pacteau adopted a "macho" stance in some police interviews, and securing a guilty plea from him spared the Buckley family the ordeal of a trial.
The family have praised Scottish authorities, who went to the trouble of personally briefing them at a special meeting at their Cork home last July.