'Lunatic' speeding driver locked up at Leeds Court over death of 18-year-old student

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THE HEARTBROKEN father of an 18-year-old woman who died after being hit by a speeding driver today described his daughter’s killer as a "lunatic".

Kieran McGowan spent the afternoon drinking in a pub before he got behind the wheel and knocked down Kate Whalley as she walked home from an A level exam.

The A660 Pool-in-Wharfedale, where Kate was killed

The A660 Pool-in-Wharfedale, where Kate was killed

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Kate suffered fatal injuries in the collision on the A660 Leeds Road at Pool-in-Wharfedale, on June 22 last year.

After the incident, McGowan and his passenger, Oliver Hurst, lied to police about the amount of alcohol they had drunk.

Officers were able to find CCTV footage of the pair in the Castle Inn, Skipton, which showed McGowan had drunk five pints of lager.

Hurst, his boss at the stone masonary firm, was caught on camera downing a pint of lager and four gin and tonics.

McGowan, 23, of Knox Way, Harrogate, was jailed for four and half years today after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Hurst, 32, of Beamsley View, Ilkley, was locked up for seven months after pleading guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice.

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Kate's father, Michael, read a victim impact statement at Leeds Crown Court today.

McGowan, dressed in a suit, sat in the dock and stared at the floor as Mr Whalley spoke.

He said: “It is a crying shame that he did not think of the consequences of his lunatic driving behaviour on June 22, 2017, resulting in him hitting our daughter, causing her skull to be shattered on the road.

“There is no defence for his actions.

“As a father I have lost my daughter.

“Not being able to celebrate her graduation, not being able to have the pride to walk her down the aisle and not being able to share our love.”

Mr Whalley said McGowan had “rubbed salt in the wounds” by telling lies after Kate’s death.

Kate's mother, Diane Jordan, also spoke in court.

She said: “Kate was a beautiful daughter. She was vibrant and very full of life. She was a big part of me and I loved her very much.

“She was a very special and confident young lady whose future looked bright and exciting,

“We were all very proud of her.

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“The grief and pain we have suffered as a whole family, including Tom, Kate’s boyfriend, is hard to put in to words.”

Mrs Jordan said she was still receiving counselling and has been unable to return to work.

She added: “Kate’s death has left us all devastated and broken hearted.

“Now, As we approach the first anniversary we are trying to cope with the reality.”

Michael Smith, prosecuting, said Kate was in her final year at Harrogate Grammar School and was hoping to go to Newcastle University to study psychology.

The fatal collision occurred as she walked along Otley Road on her way home from an A level exam.

The prosecutor said McGowan “catastrophically lost control” of the vehicle at a bend.

His Fiesta mounted the pavement and struck a lamp post before hitting Kate and landing on its roof.

Witnesses estimated that McGowan had been driving at between speeds of 60mph to 80mph shortly before the crash, which happened in a 40mph zone.

The speedometer reading on the vehicle at the point of the collision was 56mph.

Mr Smith said McGowan failed a roadside breath test.

He was under the drink drive limit when he was tested again at a police station.

The prosecutor said investigators were able to do a “back-calculation” based on the amount he had drank in the pub to assess if he was over the limit at the time of the crash.

Mr Smith said: “It is very likely that that the defendant would have been over the drink drive limit.”