Monday 23 April 2018

Police follow 'definite line of inquiry' as the hunt for Karen moves to woods

Police seal off a new area at Windyhill golf club as they continue their search for missing Irish student Karen Buckley.
Police seal off a new area at Windyhill golf club as they continue their search for missing Irish student Karen Buckley.
Adam Cullen

Adam Cullen

Hopes of finding missing student Karen Buckley alive faded as police last night moved their search to woodland outside of Glasgow city.

Police in Scotland said they were "following a definite line of inquiry" after 21-year-old Alexander Pacteau was detained in connection with her disappearance.

The young company director was seen on CCTV footage talking to Karen outside the Sanctuary nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning before the student from Cork vanished.

He told 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.

Karen has not been seen for almost four days, as police divers, a helicopter crew and search dogs continued to search areas sealed off throughout Glasgow city and countryside.

The move to detain the 21-year-old came a day after Karen's parents Marian (61) and John (62) Buckley issued a heartfelt appeal to have their daughter home.

"We just want Karen home safely. We are desperate. She is our only daughter. We love her dearly," Marian said.

As a network of police spread out across the busy city of Glasgow, one of her brothers Kieran (28) travelled from Sydney to be with his parents. The student has two other brothers, Damian (32) and Brendan (26).

Hundreds of officers moved to cordon off land near High Craigton farm on a rural road to the north of Glasgow city.

A police emergency planning section vehicle, perhaps a mobile control room, entered the site as a search of the rugged terrain behind the farm got underway.

An environmental protection vehicle of the fire service, which provides specialist equipment to deal with incidents involving hazardous chemicals, larger incidents requiring the use of breathing apparatus and environmental contamination, was also at the scene.

Earlier, police had appealed for information about a grey car spotted driving suspiciously on the country road between 11am and 3pm on Monday.

A heavy police presence also continued to surround the cordoned-off Dorchester Avenue apartment, where Karen was reportedly last seen. Officers in forensic suits were closely examining the back yard, and sorting through rubbish bins at the rear of the property

During their search, they found various articles of clothing which were taken into evidence.

A large-scale search operation was also underway in Dawsholm Park where Karen's handbag was found, with hundreds of officers combing the area. Karen's bag was found in a bin near an entrance to the nature reserve on Tuesday, less than a five-minute walk from Mr Pacteau's home.

Police can detain Mr Pacteau for up to 12 hours. Under Scottish law, in certain circumstances detention can be extended by a further 12 hours. However, police must then release a suspect unless they believe there is sufficient evidence to arrest them.

Detective Superintendent Jim Kerr, who is leading the missing person investigation, said a team of "specialist search officers from the west and east were working in the area as well as additional patrols in the west end and north of the city."

In the hours after Karen's disappearance, police said she was seen with a man - later identified as Mr Pacteau - on CCTV outside the nightclub after 1am on Sunday morning.

Detective Superintendent Kerr said the footage didn't show any violence or struggle.

The young student's parents had travelled from the north Cork village of Mourneabbey as the hours ticked by with no sign of the young student, described by her increasingly anxious friends as good at keeping in touch and "sensible".

Irish Independent

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