Monday 23 April 2018

Timeline: how events unfolded since night of Karen Buckley's death

Karen Buckley
Karen Buckley
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

On Saturday April 11, 24-year-old Karen Buckley and her friends arrived at Sanctuary nightclub in Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, at around 11.45pm.

At around 1am she told friends she was going to the toilet but did not return and did not take her jacket. They would never see her alive again.

Karen Buckley
Karen Buckley

Here is how events unfolded as the nation came together in anguish and grief at the loss of the beautiful young woman.


Sunday April 12

Karen's friends report her missing when she did not return home, which was "very out of character" for her. Police in Scotland launched appeal and issue description of Karen to the public. Irish media become aware of the situation.

Karen Buckley
Karen Buckley

"When last seen, 5'2'' Karen was wearing a sleeveless, plain black jumpsuit which was low at the back and front and red stiletto heels. She is described as white, around 5'2, eight and a half stone with black hair, styled curly and long on the night she went missing," the appeal noted.


Monday April 13

Ms Buckley's worried parents John and Marion travel from the family farm Mourneabbey near Mallow in Co Cork to Glasgow to lead efforts to find their only daughter. The youngest of the family, Karen has three older brothers - Kieran, Damian and Brendan.

Marian and John Buckley
Marian and John Buckley
Karen Buckley's family

Police say they are keen to speak to the man seen speaking to the 24-year-old on the night in question, and appeal for any other information.

Tuesday April 14

At a police conference this afternoon, officers said they are "extremely concerned" for Karen's welfare. Ms Buckley's parents also attend the press conference.

Police stress the man, seen with her on CCTV shortly before her disappearance, is not a suspect in the case. The investigation is now focused on this grey/silver car which was seen in the area at the time.

Guard of honour from University Limerick
Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Guard of honour from University Limerick Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Twenty minutes before the press conference commenced, a member of the public handed in what is understood to be Karen's handbag. The bag was found in Dawsholn Park, close to Dorchester Avenue. Dawsholn Park is about two miles from Sanctuary nightclub.

A major police search including helicopter support move into parkland in the city, near where Karen's handbag was found.


Wednesday April 15

Twenty-one-year-old Alexander Pacteau is believed to be the last person to have seen Karen before she vanished. The young company director was seen on CCTV footage talking to Karen outside the Sanctuary nightclub.

Alexander Pacteau (21)
Alexander Pacteau (21)

Police seal of the company director's flat and later search the garages and gardens near Pacteau's flat, located less than half a mile from Dawsholm Park where Karen's handbag and mobile phone where discovered in a dustbin.

Pacteau tells police he drove Karen to his apartment on Dorchester Avenue, but said that she left hours later at 4am to walk to her home in the city's Garnethill area.

Officers later cordoned off land near High Craigton farm and Windyhills Golf Club on a country road between Glasgow and Drymen - and this is now the focus of of police attention. Divers now join the search for the missing Irish student.

A candlelight vigil in Garnet Hill Park, Glasgow for tragic Irish student Karen Buckley from North Cork
A candlelight vigil in Garnet Hill Park, Glasgow for tragic Irish student Karen Buckley from North Cork

Tightknit community of Mourneabbey stage a special prayer vigil for the safe recovery of missing student Karen Buckley (24).


Thursday April 16

A body found in the search for the missing Irish student in Glasgow is formally identified as that of Karen Buckley (24).

The 24-year-old's body was found at High Craigton Farm on the north-western outskirts of the city following a four-day search.

In a statement, Karen’s father John said that himself,  his wife Marion and sons Brendan, Kieran and Damian “are absolutely heartbroken”. “Karen was our only daughter, cherished by our family and loved by her friends.

“She was an outgoing girl, who travelled the world where she met lots of people and thoroughly enjoyed her life. We will miss her terribly.”


Friday April 17

Alexander Pacteau is charged with the murder of Karen Buckley and attempting to defeat the ends of justice. The 21-year-old, with an address at Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow, made a brief appearance during a private hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court this afternoon.

Over 800 people turn out for a ceremony in Glasgow’s George Square in memory of Karen.


Saturday April 18

Around 300 people attended a vigil in Glasgow's George Square in April, including her parents to pay its respects to the tragic Cork student for the second time tonight, as a group of mourners gathered in the city centre.

Miss Buckley's case touched many people in both Scotland and Ireland, with a number of memorial services held in her honour.


Sunday April 26

The body of Karen Buckley is flown back to Cork from Scotland by special flight shortly after 2.30pm today.

Her devastated family was supported throughout the repatriation by Mourneabbey parish priest, Fr Joe O’Keeffe.

Karen’s body was brought back to her farmhouse home in north Cork exactly two weeks after her death in Glasgow.


Monday April 27

Hundreds attend the removal of the tragic Irish student as families from all over Ireland and the UK travelled to show their support for her heartbroken family.

The crowds attending her removal in Mallow were so great that O'Connell's funeral home was opened one hour earlier than planned at 3pm.

Queues of up to 80 metres extended from the funeral home throughout the evening as people travelled to express their sympathy and solidarity.


Tuesday April 28

Mourners openly wept as Karen Buckley's cousin read a special poem in her honour at today's funeral mass.

As Karen's coffin was taken out of the church, a guard of honour was provided by her nursing class from the University of Limerick.

Each nurse in attendance wore full hospital uniform and each carried a single red rose to honour Karen.


Tuesday August 11

Alexander Pacteau (21) pleads guilty to the brutal murder of Irish student Karen Buckley.

The indictment against him was that “you Alexander Pacteau aka Alexander Barr on 12 April in motor vehicle registration no EY05 VVR at Kelvin Way, Glasgow did assault Karen Buckley, formerly of Glasgow Caledonian University, repeatedly strike her on the head and body with a spanner and compress her neck and you did murder her.”

His guilty plea was confirmed as Karen’s family including her parents, John (62) and Marian (61), and brothers, Brendan (32), Damien (27) and  Kieran (28), attended the Glasgow court hearing.

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