Sunday 11 December 2016

'Karen was the very best of her parents' say school friends

David Kearns

Published 16/04/2015 | 12:13

Karen Buckley
Karen Buckley

Childhood friends of Cork student Karen Buckley said news of her disappearance had ‘devastated’ the close-knit community of Mourneabbey.

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The 24-year-old nursing student, who had gone to Glasgow to study, vanished after she left a popular nightclub in the city centre.

“Karen’s class had five girls in it, and they were all there at last night’s mass with their parents,” said old school friend Denyse O’Brien.

“[Mourneabbey] is a very typical Irish village; we’ve a school, a church, a pub and a pitch for GAA… we don’t even have a shop.”

“When Karen was at school, there were two teachers for all the classes - that’s how small of a community it is.”

“All those girls parents were in bits last night because of the thought it could have been any one of their daughters.”

“People say it could have happened to anyone, but it really could have been.”

Read More: Fundraising page for Karen Buckley's family raises thousands in just a few hours

Speaking to Limerick Live 95FM radio station, Ms O’Brien told how the 24-year-old nursing student had never been someone who felt they had to do something for the sake of doing it.

“Karen was one of those girls who was happy to be an introvert – a lot of us feel we’ve got to be in 27 clubs and societies to stand out . Not Karen.

“She was a good representation of her parents – hard working and dedicated. She worked for a year so she could go back and do her Masters at 24-years-old.”

“There is something very sad about coming from a loving farm and ending up on a farm, I just find that very upsetting for the family and for everybody,” Ms O’Brien added.

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Hundreds packed into the tiny Church of St Michael the Archangel in Analeentha in north Cork on Wednesday to pray for the safe return of Karen.

The small church, located close to the Buckley's family home, has a capacity of just 300 and hundreds more were forced to gather outside.

“I left that school 18 years ago and everyone from that class was there last night,” said Ms O’Brien.

“The Church was full and there was still 100s of people standing outside.”

“If the power of pray could have done anything, we would have had good news.”

Read More: Human remains found in hunt for missing student Karen Buckley

Scottish police have arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with the disappearance of Karen Buckley following a four-day search.

Last night human remains were recovered from the High Craigton Farm, located on the outskirts of the city.

Friends raised the alarm on Sunday morning after the 24-year-old failed to return from the Sanctuary nightclub.

Read More: The Buckleys are stuck in a nightmare that every parent simply dreads

“There was an awful worrying time frame last night – I live less than 30 minutes from the Church so I decided to walk with my sister to avoid all the traffic.”

“But as we left, that’s when the news broke that someone had been arrested and they were searching a new area.”

“I saw her older brother at the church and I’ve never felt more claustrophobic… there was nowhere else I should have been, but it was just an awful claustrophobic kind of feeling."

"There was an awful sense of ‘when will this mass be over so we could get home and find out the news’ hanging in the air.”

“I think that’s what hit the community the most has been seeing Marian and John sitting there reading all these press releases. Two people they see everyday from up the road.”

Praising the work done by the Scottish police, Ms O’Brien said seeing their commitment of finding Karen would have been great comfort to the Buckley family.

“The police never stopped – they treated the search like Karen was the most important person in the world, and that’s how the family would have wanted it – because to them, she was.”

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