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Man sentenced over death of Pool-in-Wharfedale teenager Kate Whalley

Kate Whalley 2

4:27pm 14th June 2018
(Updated 7:25pm 14th June 2018)

A man's been sentenced over the death of Pool-in-Wharfedale teenager Kate Whalley.  

The 18-year-old died after being hit by a car on the A660 Leeds Road, near the junction with Old Pool Bank, in June last year. 

23-year-old Kieran McGowan from Knox Way in Harrogate was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court this afternoon to 4 years and 6 months in prison for causing death by dangerous driving. 

He was also disqualified from driving for 6 years and 11 weeks. 

He'd pleaded guilty to the charge at a previous hearing. 

When sentencing McGowan, His Honour Judge Batty described his actions as "wholly irresponsible", "unforgiveable" and "a display of selfishness and arrogance".

In court today, McGowan was wearing a black suit, with a white shirt and a black tie.

The court heard how McGowan had drunk five pints of lager at a pub in Skipton that afternoon.

He'd been in the pub with his boss, 32 year old Oliver Hurst from Ilkley, who was also in the car at the time of the collision.

Hurst had driven them to Ilkley, where they swapped into McGowan's Ford Fiesta ST.

The court heard that at the moment of the crash, McGowan's speedometer read 56mph, the crash took place in a 40mph zone, and on a tight double bend.

However, witnesses reported that just prior to the crash, they'd seen McGowan's car travelling even faster, with estimates ranging from 60 to 80mph.

The prosecuting barrister described the crash itself, saying McGowan's car hit a lampost and was then 'catapulted into the air', when it hit Kate who was on the pavement, with the car ending up on it's roof.

McGowan's co-accused Oliver Hurst was found to have lied about the amount the pair had drunk that afternoon.

Hurst pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, and was sentenced to six months in prison.

Kate's mother and father both read emotional statements to the court today, with her father being moved to tears on a number of occasions.

Kate's mum Diane Jordan said Kate "rarely left her side" for the first twelve years of her life, and by losing Kate she felt she had lost a part of herself.

Her dad Michael Whalley condemned McGowan's "lunatic driving behaviour", saying he'd "added salt to the wounds" by lying to the police.

Speaking about his daughter, Mr Whalley said "even in death she gave", referring to the fact she had donated all of her organs.

After the sentencing, Kate's family released this statement...

"Kate was a very beautiful, kind, happy and confident young lady who was in reach of completing her ‘A’ Levels and starting at University.

"She was at a stage of her life where she was preparing to become part of the world, to achieve her ambitions and to help others. The future looked bright and exciting for her and we are all very proud.

"There are no words to describe the pain and suffering that we as a family will have to endure for the rest of our lives, as a consequence of these selfish actions.

"Her face, her smile, future accomplishments we may have shared with her, have all been taken away from us.

"The whole experience has left us all devastated and heart-broken to the point it is affecting our health, but as a family we will not yield.

"It is still hard to cope with this reality and has left a hole in our hearts that will never heal.

"We would like to thank the police for their diligent investigations, which have ensured we were able to discover the truth and has brought those responsible before the courts to face the justice they deserve."

Kate had just sat her last-but-one A-level exam at Harrogate Grammar School and was walking near her home on Old Pool Bank when she was hit by the car.

 

Kate Whalley

 

Speaking after Kate's death her father Michael Whalley refused to let anger define their lives:

"It doesn't matter about what has gone in the past, that won't save our daughter.

"Anger doesn't enter into it, it's just total and utter sorrow.

"But we have to be strong and carry on in honour of Kate."

Kate was kept alive for several hours to allow doctors to find people to receive her organs.

Her family had previously raised concerns about speeding on the same stretch of road.

They were told nothing could be done as there hadn't been a fatality.

Mr Whalley said he hoped it would send a message out to other drivers:

"Abide by the speed limits and slow down a little.

"We live in a world which is going too fast.

"Just slow down and think of your family and think of others."

 

flowers
Flowers left at the scene of the collision on the A660 near Old Pool bank

 

The investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Mat Tunney, spoke outside the court after the sentencing...

kieran mcgowan
Kieran McGowan

 

 

Kate Whalley

 

More news from Harrogate, Craven and Wharfedale

 

 

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