Thursday 19 July 2018

Karen's killer under special protection in tough Scotland prison

John Buckley gives a statement following today's court proceedings, while Marian holds a photo of their daughter Karen.
John Buckley gives a statement following today's court proceedings, while Marian holds a photo of their daughter Karen.
A photo of Karen with her brothers (left to right: Brendan, Karen, Damien, Kieran Buckley)
A photo of Karen’s bedroom at home and the letters sent by well-wishers after Karen’s death.
Karen Buckley
Karen Buckley
A photo of Karen at a lectern giving a reading at her brother Brendan’s wedding
Alexander Pacteau outside Sanctuary nightclub in Glasgow. Photo: CCTV
Alexander Pacteau

Ralph Riegel in Glasgow

KILLER Alexander Pacteau (21) is now under special protection in one of Scotland's toughest prisons after the shocking revelations of how he bludgeoned Irish nurse Karen Buckley (24) to death and then attempted to destroy her body.

Pacteau (21), who pleaded guilty to murdering Karen, is being separated from other prisoners and is under additional supervision in HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow.

Alexander Pacteau
Alexander Pacteau

“A number of threats have been levelled against Pacteau from other inmates,” a source told the Herald.

“Staff at the prison have now taken protective measures to minimise the risk posed to him. He is being segregated during breaks and at meal times.”

Read more: More pain for a family that has suffered far too much

Pacteau faces a life sentence after he pleaded guilty to bludgeoning Irish nurse Karen (24) to death and then attempting to dissolve her body.

The young man lured Karen into his Ford Focus car with the offer of a lift home after she left ‘The Sanctuary’ nightclub on April 12 last.

He first attempted to strangle her and then beat her to death with a heavy 30cm spanner.

He then drove around Glasgow with Karen’s dead body in the passenger seat of his car before trying to dissolve her remains in caustic soda in the bathtub of his flat and in a 220 litre plastic barrel, then hiding the barrel in a storage shed on an isolated farm.

Pacteau will discover how long he will serve behind bars on September 8 when the Honorable Justice Lady Rae imposes the minimum sentence tariff on him in Glasgow High Court.

Pacteau has a previous conviction for forgery linked to photocopying sterling banknotes. Separately, he was acquitted of a sexual assault charge after he was accused of attacking a woman on November 27, 2011.

While police have said there was absolutely no evidence that Karen was sexually assaulted, the alleged 2011 incident bears remarkable similarities to the attack on the young Irish nurse.

Read more: Karen's killer acquitted of late-night sex attack by jury two years ago

The complainant in the 2011 case said Pacteau grabbed her on her way home late at night, placed his hand on her mouth and sexually assaulted her.

Pacteau denied the claims, and was acquitted of the sexual assault charge by a majority verdict in February 2013.

But Pacteau was no criminal mastermind. He was a bungling opportunist who seized on a vulnerable Karen Buckley when he met her outside Glasgow’s Sanctuary nightclub on the night of April 12.

Detectives were taken aback by the callous disregard Pacteau showed for the Irish nurse. The details of his sickening crime emerged in court.

CCTV footage showed them walking together towards his car and then travelling east.

In the 12 minutes and 46 seconds in which Pacteau pulled his car in off the road at Kelvin Way, he had taken Karen’s life by smashing her on the head with a spanner up to 13 times, leaving the imprint of the spanner on Karen’s skull.

Pacteau claimed he was heavily intoxicated and lost his temper after Karen passed a trivial comment.

For a time, he drove around Glasgow with her body in the passenger seat before taking her back to his flat on Dorchester Avenue.

Pacteau first tried to dissolve Karen’s naked body in the bath.

Incredibly, his flatmate – who knew nothing of what had happened – had his mother staying at the flat, but they were away on a hill-walking trip. Pacteau rang him to check how long he would be away before he researched the chemical properties of caustic soda on his smartphone. He also asked a Tesco worker to recommend a cleaning product to remove blood from a mattress. His flatmate arrived back from the trip to discover him cleaning the flat and the corridor.

Read more: Always smiling and helping, Karen lived to love and travel

Pacteau was also caught on CCTV buying a 220-litre blue plastic barrel in a hardware store.

He later placed Karen’s body inside the barrel, filling it with caustic soda and drain unblocking fluid and storing it at an isolated Glasgow farm.

The first clue for detectives was the CCTV footage of Pacteau talking to Karen outside the nightclub.

Police called to his flat three hours after he had placed the barrel containing Karen’s body at the farm. The smell of bleach made them immediately suspicious.

When confronted, Pacteau said: “I was just calling to see you.”

Initially, Pacteau claimed Karen had cut her head on the bed frame during consensual sex.

He first insisted she had left his flat to walk home at 4am. Later, he claimed he hit her with the spanner in self-defence. Police now describe all of those claims as “total lies and nonsense”.

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