Saturday 21 July 2018

'It was a horrific and callous murder' - Gentle soul Karen Buckley remembered on the anniversary of her death

Tragic Karen Buckley. Photo: Crown Office/PA Wire
Tragic Karen Buckley. Photo: Crown Office/PA Wire

Olivia Kelleher, in Analeentha, Co Cork

The first anniversary of murdered nurse Karen Buckley was marked with a poignant ceremony in Analeentha, Co Cork last night where family, friends and neighbours remembered the vibrant and outgoing 24 year old.

Karen's parents John and Marian and her extended family gathered at St Michael the Archangel Church for 8pm mass. They remembered a life which was brutally cut short in the worst possible circumstances.

In the region of 200 parishioners attended the church where Ms Buckley made her Holy Communion and Confirmation and where her requiem mass took place.

Chief celebrant, Fr Joe O'Keeffe, said Karen was a "gentle soul" who touched the lives of everyone she met.

"We want to remember Karen Buckley who died so tragically just over a year ago. When we remember someone that person becomes present. We pray for John and Marian and all those who mourn Karen.

"It was a horrific and callous murder.  Our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life. We are confident that our sister Karen who believed in Christ has done the same. In this hope we pray."

Karen's caring disposition was noted in the Prayers of the Faithful where she was called an example of virtue and kindness.

Ms Buckley disappeared from the Sanctuary Nightclub in Glasgow on April 12th of last year. She was last seen on CCTV footage leaving the premises with a man. Her disappearance sparked a city wide manhunt which culminated four days after she disappeared when her body was found in a remote location in Glasgow.

She was attacked and murdered by Alexander Pacteau a local man who must serve a minimum of 23 years for her murder. Her remains were located at a farm in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire. Mr Pacteau had tried to dissolve her body in a bath full of chemicals.

Pacteau had originally faced a second charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by misleading police and trying to conceal Ms Buckley's body. The Crown withdrew the charge before his plea.

Convicted murderer Alexander Pacteau, who was due to appear before a court of appeal tomorrow
Convicted murderer Alexander Pacteau, who was due to appear before a court of appeal tomorrow

Sentencing 21-year-old Pacteau, Judge Lady Rae said she found it difficult to find the words to describe his dreadful crimes. She said his remorse came too late.

Read More: Pacteau never showed regret or remorse for killing Karen

Speaking after the sentencing last September, John Buckley said that Pacteau's life sentence would never bring their daughter back but they hoped he would never be released from jail

Karen's parents Marian and John became grandparents for the first time recently when one of their son's became a father to a baby boy. It is understood the baby has brought considerable joy to the mourning family.

Earlier this week Karen's friends and classmates in Caledonian University in Glasgow held a special service in her memory. The small personal service was organised by the School of Health and Life Sciences which is the faculty Ms Buckley belonged to as a student when she as studying occupational therapy.

A nursing graduate of the University of Limerick, Ms Buckley was a qualified nurse and had travelled to Glasgow to do a Masters in Occupational Therapy at Caldedonian University. She had qualified with a BSC in nursing from the University of Limerick in January 2014.

While completing her four year course in Limerick, she worked at both University Hospital Limerick and St John's Hospital in Ennis. After graduating she travelled in the US and Thailand before getting a job at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex.

She spent a year in Harlow before going to university in Glasgow where she got accommodation on Hill Street in Garnetthill, near the college, with some of her occupational therapy classmates from Ireland. Her post graduate course was due to take two years.

Following her death two books of condolences were set up at Cork County Council headquarters in Mallow and at the Hibernian Hotel in the town where Karen worked as a teenager. Ms Buckley was a huge GAA fan and played as a teenager with Mourneabbey Ladies Football Club.

The murder prompted a huge outpouring of grief not only in Cork but in Glasgow. Hundreds of people attended a vigil in George Square, Glasgow days after the murder.

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