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A Woman Was Killed After She Told Friends She Was Going To The Toilet In A Club

Karen Buckley told her friends she'd be right back. Her murder has devastated her family and her community.

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On Sunday 12 April, Buckley left the Sanctuary nightclub at around 1am. CCTV footage showed her walking down Dumbarton Road and talking to a man.

Several days later, Buckley was found dead. The night she went missing, she had met a 21-year-old man, Alexander Pacteau. He was arrested and charged with her murder.

At first, Pacteau claimed he had consensual sex with Buckley in his flat after he had given her a lift home. On Tuesday he pleaded guilty to repeatedly hitting her on the head with a spanner and strangling her in his car.

The High Court in Glasgow was also told that his arms were covered in scratches as Buckley tried to stop him from attacking her.

According to The Mirror, Pacteau was charged with attempting to rape another woman a mile from where Buckley lived in Glasgow in November 2011 when he was 17 years old. He was later found not guilty.

After he'd killed Buckley, he took her body to his room and used his phone to find out what the properties of the chemical sodium hydroxide were. He then locked his door and left his flat to buy it.

He bought 6 litres of the chemical, masks, and gloves at a local B&Q store, and later bought more of the same chemical at a Poundstretcher store.

When he returned home, he took Buckley's body, poured the chemical over her, and moved her body back to his room. When his flatmate came home, he found Pacteau cleaning the hallway and stairwell.

Pacteau later burned the mattress that had Buckley's blood on it, as well as her clothing, with white spirit and a lighter he had bought that day. He then moved her body into a barrel and hid it in a storage unit he had rented on a local farm.

"All Karen was doing was making her way home when she was randomly targeted and murdered by a cowardly, vicious criminal.

"We will never see Karen again in this life. Never see her smiling face, hear her laugh and hear her voice. There are no words to describe our loss. We know even though she is gone from this life, she is still very close to us."

"It's too late now for Karen but in the future we hope Glasgow will be a safer place for women to walk in, which is their right, and to not have this evil murderer to fear."

We've updated this article to reflect the fact Buckley had three brothers. The original version stated she had two brothers.


Buckley's killer, Alexander Pacteau, has been sentenced to life in prison – equivalent to 23 years – at the High Court in Glasgow.

Sentencing, Lady Rae said: "I find it extremely difficult to find words appropriate to describe the dreadful crime to which you have pleaded guilty.

"Karen Buckley was a young woman in the prime of life. She was a visitor to Glasgow, studying to expand her knowledge in furtherance of her career in nursing. She was a much loved member of a close and united family.

"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.

"Not satisfied with killing her so brutally, you went to extraordinary lengths over several days to cover up your actions by attempting to destroy her body. You also concocted a story to tell the police and, to ensure that you remembered the lies which you had told, you even wrote the story down."

Rossalyn Warren is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rossalyn Warren at

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