THE man who bludgeoned Glasgow student Karen Buckley to death with a spanner and attempted to dispose of her body in a vat of chemicals is to appeal against the length of his jail sentence.

Alexander Pacteau, 21, branded “truly evil” by the Irish family of his victim, admitted carrying out a “brutal, motiveless attack on a defenceless young woman” at the High Court in Glasgow and was ordered to serve a minimum of 23 years before he can apply for parole.

The National has learned he lodged a notice of intention to appeal against sentence on September 16. However, the grounds on which he plans to appeal have yet to be stated and his Glasgow lawyer did not return our calls.

Jailing Pacteau for life, Judge Lady Rae told him that she found it “extremely difficult” to find words to describe what he did to Karen. The judge told the court Karen was “much loved” and said “for some unknown, inexplicable reason” Pacteau had destroyed her life in minutes.

Karen was studying for a masters degree in occupational health therapy at Glasgow Caledonian University and was on a night out at the Sanctuary nightclub when Pacteau struck.

Rae said he had “concocted a story” in a bid to cover up the murder, adding: “You claim to be remorseful but you only expressed remorse for the first time when you pleaded guilty.

“It is difficult, in my view, to envisage someone who is truly sorry for killing another human being going to the lengths to which you went to cover up your appalling crime whilst making up false stories about the deceased. 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.”

Rae pointed out the Crown had decided not to seek conviction on a second charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice and had instead argued Pacteau’s actions were an aggravating factor to the murder charge.

The Crown withdrew the charge ahead of his guilty plea to murder and Pacteau’s solicitor John Scullion QC suggested his actions after the killing should not therefore be regarded when considering sentence.

However, Rae said she could not ignore Pacteau’s conduct following Karen’s death.

She told Pacteau: “I regret that the Crown, in withdrawing charge two, has to some extent tied my hands in relation to this sentence.

“After reflecting on submissions, I have come to the view that I cannot ignore your conduct after the killing.”

Top advocate Brian McConnachie QC, former principal advocate depute at the Crown Office and ex-chairman of the Faculty of Advocates Criminal Bar Association, said he was not surprised Pacteau planned to appeal and could use the fact the Crown dropped the second charge in an attempt to further reduce his sentence.

He said: “I think it is arguable that the sentence was excessive and that the discount applied was too little. I suspect those are the areas that are likely to be targeted in any appeal.

“Given that there was an initial argument at the first hearing about whether the judge could take the second charge into account I am guessing they will argue that she ought not to have.

“I am guessing that they will take a three-fold route in the appeal that firstly she appears to have taken into account matters which they say she ought not to have and secondly, irrespective of that the sentence was excessive, and thirdly that the discount allowed for the early plea of guilty is insufficient.

“At the end of the day it is a matter for the sifting judges whether or not the appeal is allowed to be argued since it is not automatic.

“To be honest, sentencing of that sort of length is likely to pass the sift. It is a different matter as to whether it will be successful.”