‘The loss of Kate’s future achievements is too much to bear’
who paid the price was an innocent young girl who was making her way home.”
In a victim impact statement, Kate’s mother Diane Jordan described her daughter as a “very special and confident young lady” who had been working hard to secure a place to study psychology at Newcastle University.
She said: “The grief and pain we have experienced as a family is hard to put into words.
“The loss of Kate’s future achievements, possible marriage and children is too much to bear.
“There is a hole in my heart that will never heal.”
In his statement, Kate’s father Michael, a chartered surveyor, said he had attended a Poole-in-Wharfedale Parish Council meeting in the October before the tragedy to raise concerns about the speed of traffic in the village.
He also told how he and his daughter had a “beautiful bond” and said he had lost the opportunity to watch her graduate and walk her down the aisle.
Referring to McGowan, who sat sobbing in the dock, Mr Whalley added: “It’s a crying shame he did not think of the consequences of his lunatic driving offences.”
Michael Smith, prosecuting, said McGowan, of Harrogate, was described by witnesses as driving “between 60 and 80mph” on a 40mph limit road. Mr Smith said McGowan was likely to have been over the drink-drive limit, but this could not be proved conclusively.
In a letter read to the court by defence solicitor Andrew Dallas, McGowan said his actions were “unforgivable” and he apologised to his victim’s family.
His passenger, Oliver Hurst, 32, admitted perverting the course of justice by misleading police about how much he and McGowan had had to drink before the crash.
Hurst, of Ilkley, West Yorkshire, was jailed for seven months.
Outside court Detective Sergeant Mat Tunney said: “McGowan has deprived a young woman of her life, who clearly had a bright future ahead of her.
“He has left in his wake a trail of suffering and hurt for Kate’s family and friends, which will likely never leave them.
“The bravado he displayed behind the wheel and his ignorance to the danger he presented has ultimately landed him behind bars for a significant period.
“The fact he had been drinking in the lead up to the incident is reflective of his complete lack of concern for those around him.”
Kate Whalley wanted to study psychology. Above left, Kate with father Michael and stepmother Janie