The parents of Irish student Karen Buckley have welcomed a life sentence handed to the “truly evil coward” who murdered their daughter.
John and Marian Buckley said they hoped Alexander Pacteau, who bludgeoned the 24-year-old to death with a spanner after a night out in Glasgow, is never released from jail.
Pacteau, 21, will serve a minimum of 23 years for the murder and his attempts to dispose of Miss Buckley’s body in a vat of chemicals in April.
During sentencing at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday, judge Lady Rae told him he had committed a “brutal, senseless and motiveless” crime that had devastated her family.
Mr and Mrs Buckley, from Cork, who attended the hearing, said: “Today’s life sentence will not bring our beautiful Karen back. Our little angel has been taken from us forever in the cruellest of ways. We mourn for her every day.
“It will however ensure that women are safe from harm from the truly evil coward who took our beautiful Karen’s precious life. I hope that he is never released and spends every day in prison haunted by what he did.
“Karen is at peace now and we know that she is in heaven looking down on us.” The qualified nurse had only been in Glasgow for a few months.
She was studying for a masters degree in occupational health therapy and was on a night out at the Sanctuary nightclub when Pacteau struck. Pacteau, who described himself as a “self-employed sales consultant”, has a previous conviction for printing counterfeit money and was found not guilty of an attempted rape charge in 2013.
In the early hours of 12 April, he was captured on CCTV chatting to Miss Buckley outside the nightclub.
He then drove her to nearby Kelvin Way, where he grabbed her by the neck and delivered about a dozen blows with a spanner.
He took her body to his flat where he stored it in the bath and later made trips to High Craigton Farm on the outskirts of Glasgow where he burned a mattress and clothes.
Pacteau bought caustic soda and a barrel and placed Miss Buckley’s body inside before leaving it in a locked storage unit he rented.
He initially claimed to detectives, who identified him from CCTV, that they had consensual sex at his flat and she had fallen and injured herself on the bed frame before leaving. After pleading guilty to murder on 11 August, his solicitor John Scullion QC said he could offer no “rational explanation’’ for his client’s actions but told the judge that Pacteau had “felt sick” about what he had done.
Lady Rae said: “To you she was a complete stranger who appears, tragically, to have accepted a lift in your car. In a matter of minutes, for some unknown and inexplicable reason, you destroyed her young life and devastated a family.”
Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: “Such incidents are rare in our communities.”
Pacteau originally faced a second charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by attempting to conceal Miss Buckley’s body.
The Crown withdrew the charge ahead of his plea. The judge told Pacteau: “I regret that the Crown, in withdrawing charge two, has to some extent tied my hands in relation to this sentence.”