Alexander Pacteau, 21, has pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to murdering Irish student Karen Buckley, 24, in the city in April this year.
A man has admitted murdering Irish student Karen Buckley, who disappeared after a night out in Glasgow.
Alexander Pacteau, 21, who repeatedly hit his victim on the head and body with a spanner, pleaded guilty when he appeared at the High Court in the city.
A major search was launched for 24-year-old Miss Buckley, from Cork, when she was reported missing from the flat she shared with friends after failing to return home from a nightclub in Glasgow’s west end in April this year.
Her body was found days later at a farm on the outskirts of the city.
Miss Buckley, a nurse who was studying for a post-graduate qualification at Glasgow Caledonian University, was seen on CCTV leaving The Sanctuary nightclub in the early hours of Sunday April 12 and the footage captured her talking to a man as they walked along Dumbarton Road.
Detectives soon said they were treating her disappearance as a high-risk missing person inquiry and her parents also flew over from Ireland.
By the Tuesday, police revealed they had spoken to the man seen talking to Miss Buckley outside the club who had said she travelled with him to his flat a few miles away in Dorchester Avenue before leaving some hours later.
Police also appealed for information about a grey car that was seen on the roads between Milngavie and Drymen on the Sunday.
Meanwhile, the student’s handbag had been found at a park near to the man’s flat and the police hunt focused on the two sites in the north west of the city.
The man was named in reports as Alexander Pacteau and the following day he was detained by police.
A body was later found at High Craigton Farm near the suburb of Milngavie, ending the four-day police search.
Pacteau was arrested and appeared in court on April 17 charged with murder.
He pleaded guilty to the charge today, admitting attacking her in his car on April 12 by strangling her and repeatedly hitting her with the spanner.
The court heard how Pacteau had met Miss Buckley outside the club in the early hours of the morning and drove with her in his car to nearby Kelvin Way.
The car was parked on the street for 12 minutes, during which time Pacteau attacked and murdered her by grabbing her neck and delivering 12 or 13 blows with the spanner.
The court was told Miss Buckley suffered some injuries to her arm as she tried to defend herself.
Pacteau’s silver Ford Focus was seen on CCTV leaving the area and heading towards Dawsholm Park, where the following morning a member of the public found Miss Buckley’s handbag near a bin.
Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC, prosecuting, told the court how Pacteau then drove to his flat and took Miss Buckley’s body inside to his room.
At 8am he used his mobile phone to look up the properties of a chemical called sodium hydroxide, or caustic soda.
He then locked his bedroom door and travelled to a B&Q store where he bought six litres of the chemical and masks and gloves, the court heard. He also went to a Poundstretcher store near his flat and bought more of the chemical.
He texted his flatmate to make sure he was out for the day, then returned to the flat and left Miss Buckley’s body in the bath.
Pacteau was found cleaning the hall and stairwell when his flatmate returned home at around 8pm. He had moved her body into his locked bedroom again wrapped in a duvet, the court heard.
Mr Mulholland told the court how Pacteau left his flat at around 5am the following morning and went to a bridge of the nearby Forth and Clyde Canal where he threw the spanner into the water.
He then drove to a supermarket and bought cleaning products and asked a member of staff to recommend a product for removing blood from a mattress.
Pacteau made his first journey to High Craigton Farm, an area familiar to him as he rented a storage unit there during a previous job selling fireworks, stopping off at a supermarket on the way to buy white spirit and a lighter, the court was told.
He burned some clothing while there before returning to his flat where he used his mobile phone to call a packaging company and ordered a large blue barrel.
Mr Mulholland said Pacteau collected the barrel and returned to Dorchester Avenue where he placed Miss Buckley’s body in the barrel.
He then took the mattress in his car to the farmland where he burned it along with other items before returning to the flat and taking the barrel to his car.
He stopped off to buy padlocks at an Asda store then made his way to the farm where he arranged to rent two storage units for a week before moving the barrel into one of the units, covering it with a sheet and placing a bike wheel and paper shredder on top.