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Murder gets its just reward of lock and key

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Handout picture from Scotland's Crown Office of Alexander Pacteau, 21, who will be sentenced today for the murder of Irish student Karen Buckley

Handout picture from Scotland's Crown Office of Alexander Pacteau, 21, who will be sentenced today for the murder of Irish student Karen Buckley

PA

Handout picture from Scotland's Crown Office of Alexander Pacteau, 21, who will be sentenced today for the murder of Irish student Karen Buckley

They say it is impossible to kill someone and remain unchanged, but murderer Alexander Pacteau who took the life of Karen Buckley in the most heinous manner appears to have remained as impassive and unrepentant as ever.

His shocking slaying of Ms Buckley was made even more so by the chillingly calculated manner in which he went about concealing his crime.

Yesterday, he was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 23 years, for the murder of the Cork student.

It is often cautioned that one ought to be careful when one thinks about going to the courts, because while one might set out to get justice, one can only be guaranteed to get law. But yesterday Karen Buckley's family was given justice in a textbook case exemplifying excellence in police work and jurisprudence.

As the student's distraught family said in a statement: "Our little angel has been taken from us forever in the cruellest of ways."

The speed with which the Scottish system was able to bring finality to this appalling crime, and the scope the judge had in being able to impose a sentence and remove any prospect of parole for its duration, will give some solace to this devastated family.

The sentence should also give food for thought to those responsible for crime prevention in this country.

Judge Lady Rae was not impressed by the protestations of a lawyer acting for Pacteau that his client feels "sick" at his actions. She rightly questioned the genuineness of his remorse and said his behaviour over several days after the killing did not support remorse.

He was "callous and calculating", she concluded. He was that and more, but the judge had it within her remit to guarantee that this killer will not strike again. There are cases where such a censure is not only advisable, but vital.

Insurance industry needs to justify premium hikes

One of the goals of business is supposed to be that you go about solving someone else's problems at a profit.

This is all well and good, and without it the insurance industry would grind to a halt.

However, maintaining a balance of mutual trust is the key to success.

So when the head of the State body responsible for personal injuries expresses reservations about a double-digit increase in motor insurance premiums - which have risen by almost 20pc in a single year - there must surely be grounds for asking has profit become the problem?

The Injuries Board has registered only a 7pc rise in the number of claims for injuries from motor accidents, injuries in the workplace and in public places.

It is therefore incumbent on the insurance industry to explain why such a massive hike should be imposed.

There has been no massive increase in the number of claims, nor indeed in the cost of the amount of awards.

So how can such hikes by justified?

We evidently need more transparency on how and why such rises are calculated.

We can only echo the board's call for an inquiry into all aspects of claims and insurance costs in the interests of the consumer.

And it is in the interests of the industry to keep the customer in the picture and address these concerns.

Irish Independent