THE HEARTBROKEN father of a "beautiful" student who died after she was hit by a drink-driver today described his daughter’s killer as a "lunatic" as he was jailed.

Kieran McGowan, 23, struck 18-year-old teen Kate Whalley the day before her final A-level exam.

Yesterday he was jailed to four years and six months at Leeds Crown Court.

Kate suffered fatal head injuries after being hit by a black Ford Fiesta ST driven by McGowan which had struck a kerb and hurtled across the road and onto the pavement on a dangerous blind bend on the A660 in Pool-in-Wharfedale in June last year.

She was walking home from her penultimate A-level exam at Harrogate Grammar School and was about to sit the last one the next day.

McGowan, of Harrogate, pleaded guilty on May 30 this year to causing death by dangerous driving.

He was also charged with perverting the course of justice for lying to the police - including regarding the amount of alcohol he had drunk.

His passenger, and boss, Oliver Hurst, 32, was also charged and pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

The court heard they had been drinking in Skipton on the day Kate died and that McGowan had drunk five pints when he struck her at 56mph.

Fighting back tears, Kate's devastated father Michael addressed McGowan directly in court.

He said: "I have lost my one and only child.

"Not being able to celebrate her graduation, not being able to walk her down the aisle.

"The loss of [my] daughter is unbearable.There are no words to describe the feeling.

"You added salt to our wounds by lying to the police."

During a highly-emotional sentencing hearing, Kate's mother Diane Jordan told the court she was "vibrant and full of life".

She said: "Kate was my beautiful daughter. She was a very special and confident young lady.

"She was tragically killed and denied the chance to go to university.

"The grief and pain we have suffered is hard to put into words. The loss of Kate is too hard to come to terms with.

"There is a hole in my heart that will never heal."

Sentencing McGowan, Judge Batty said: "Kate died the day before she completed her school education.

"She was due to embark on a degree. She had her whole life ahead of her.

"A life clearly cut short as she walked home that Thursday afternoon."

Hurst was also imprisoned for six months for perverting the course of justice.