Man admits murder of Irish student Karen Buckley

Scottish Legal News

The man charged with the murder of Irish student Karen Buckley pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday.

Alexander Pacteau, 21, admitted grabbing Ms Buckley by the neck and hitting her repeatedly with a spanner while sitting in his parked car in the early hours of Sunday 12 April.

The 24-year old student from Cork had been seen on CCTV speaking to Mr Pacteau outside Glasgow’s The Sanctuary nightclub minutes beforehand.

John Scullion QC, defending, told the court his client had accepted “full responsibility” for the crime, but could offer no “rational explanation” for his actions. He was not tried on a second charge of “defeating the ends of justice”.

The court heard how Mr Pacteau had tried to hide his murder by locking Ms Buckley’s body in his bedroom before failing to dissolve her body in his bathtub while his flatmate was out.

He later placed the body in a plastic barrel filled with 45 litres of caustic soda, which he hid at High Craigton Farm near Milngavie.

The Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC told the court that Mr Pacteau had rented two storage units at High Craigton Farm for two weeks.

He put the barrel in one of the units, covered with a sheet and obscured by a bike wheel and a paper shredder which he placed on top of it.

The police found the body after receiving a tip-off from one of Mr Pacteau’s former co-workers shortly after publicly confirming they had spoken to him.

Mr Mulholland told the court: “No words of mine can express the effect this terrible murder has had on the family.”

Lady Rae deferred sentence until 8 September, but Mr Pacteau faces a mandatory life-term.

She told him: “This crime is a very shocking and disturbing case. You killed a young woman who was a stranger to you in what appears to be a motiveless, senseless, brutal attack.

“What you did after her killing, including telling the police a tissue of lies – some of which went into the public domain – would I have no doubt caused the family increased distress.

“All of that displays the actions of a man who is callous and calculated.”