... for driving on the wrong side of the road on the way home from a rave
Michael Bowker, 18, reached speeds of 80mph before he crashed into a barrier, killing schoolgirl Chloe Cockton.
Live from court: Teenage driver sentenced for causing death of 16-year-old Chloe Cockton in crash
Emotional statement from Chloe's sister
Chloe’s sister Sophie bravely stood up in court to make a moving statement moments before Michael Bowker was detained.
She speaks of losing “my sister, my soulmate, my life, my purpose”, and recalls the harrowing moments when Sophie died in her arms shortly after the crash.
Chloe's parents: “Her life has been taken away for no reason”
Outside court, Chloe’s mum Michelle Connolley and her dad, Lee Cockton, spoke of their loss.
They said no sentence would ever be long enough.
Michelle said: “Nothing could ever replace Chloe. She was a beautiful, talented and clever young woman.
“Her life has been taken away from her for no reason.”
The family also revealed Chloe is set to receive a posthumous award from her high school, St Cuthbert’s in Rochdale, next week.
Breaking: Bowker sentenced to six-and-a-half years detention
The judge says the court has to send a message to young drivers.
Bowker is sentenced to six and a half years detention and disqualified from driving for four years.
A member of the family runs at the dock as Bowker is led away.
Judge begins sentencing
Judge Paul Lawton is now sentencing Bowker.
He says they had been at a rave party and he was an inexperienced driver. He says Bowker’s speed was excessive and there was a party atmosphere inside the car, before the girls begged him to stop.
The judge said Bowker was ‘amused’ by it all at one point.
The girls screamed and pleaded for their lives, the judge says. He says Bowker was trying to impress the girls but in reality, he was gambling with their lives.
He says Chloe wanted to be a lawyer and describes her as bright and vivacious.
He says it falls into the highest level of sentencing category.
Defence: Bowker is ‘tormented’ by Chloe’s death
Rachel Shenton, defending, says Bowker was always adamant that he was going to plead guilty. She says he was a new driver who drove in a devastating manner and was showing off to the girls.
He has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, the court hears.
Ms Shenton says the incident started with a group of young people ‘egging each other on’. She says the girls were dancing in the car, but admits that there came a time when that stopped.
Bowker had a job in engineering and was in hospital for two weeks after the crash with a head injury. He is said to have flashbacks and is ‘tormented’ by Chloe’s death.
Ms Shenton says that he behaved in a reckless and dangerous way. She says that when Bowker was told in hospital about Chloe’s death he ripped his tubes out and said there’s no point going on.
Chloe's sister says she's lost her soul mate - parents say they're 'haunted' by the death
There were five people in the car at the time, including Bowker who was driving.
Sophie Cockton is now reading out a moving personal statement. Sophie recalls how she watched Chloe ‘bleed to death’ as she cradled her. She describes Chloe as her soul mate and says she still hears her screams and how Chloe begs Bowker to slow down.
She says her death has torn her apart and ‘breaks her into a million pieces’, adding that Chloe’s life has been ‘snatched away’.
Sophie says that she longs for the day when she will see her sister again.
Statements are also read out from Chloe’s parents. They say they are haunted by the death.
Bowker said on arrest: 'I’m just feeling s***. What have I done?’
Sophie told police in a statement that she cradled her sister until paramedics arrived. They worked on Chloe for 40 minutes and she was taken to hospital, but she couldn’t be saved, the court is told.
Bowker was arrested and said as he was being led away ‘I’m just feeling s###. What have I done’.
He later said in his interviews that he had ruined lives.
Bowker, of Croft Street, Rochdale, has no previous convictions.
Taxi driver witnessed crash of 'out of control' Clio
The crash was witnessed by a taxi driver. The court hears the Clio was ‘out of control’.
Bowker continued to drive in the manner described despite the girls begging him to slow down.
The court hears at least two of the girls were screaming at him to slow down and stop.
Moment of crash is described to court
There came a point when the car passed the Cemetery pub, half a mile from the location. At that stage the girls were being very concerned. Bowker was told by Chloe to stop and the other girls asked him to slow down.
The surviving girls said he was overtaking cars and staying on the wrong side of the road.
Sophie said it appeared he was trying to ‘set a record’ by remaining on the wrong side of the road.
A CCTV clip of the Clio approaching the junction is shown. It shows Bowker clearly speeding and on the wrong side of the road.
The court hears he tried to get back onto the right side of the road. It hits the kerb and flips over, hitting a barrier.
Passengers became 'increasingly concerned' about Bowker's driving before crash
Chloe’s sister Sophie, who was also in the car, said Bowker was driving too fast at first and was asked to slow down at one point.
The girls also alerted Bowker to the fact that the seatbelts were not working, the court hears.
A brief mobile phone clip was recorded inside the car. Dance music and shouting can be heard.
The court hears the girls being increasingly concerned about the nature of the driving as time went on. There was also a discussion about the girls getting out at one point, the court hears.
Bowker was overtaking other vehicles once the car had left a dirt track leading up from the reservoir. He was also barely stopping for roundabouts.
There’s a suggestion that speeds of up to 80mph were involved and Bowker was said to be ‘zoned out’ while driving.
Prosecution: Chloe was wary about getting in car with Bowker
The court hears Bowker had not been drinking. Drug tests proved negative.
Shortly before Bury Road’s junction with Mellor Street is where the crash happened.
Shauna Taylor is named as the other victim. The three had been to an illegal rave at Greenboth Reservoir in Rochdale that night and left in the car at 2am. The court hears Chloe was wary and asked Bowker about his licence and if he had been drinking.
The courts hears there were problems with the car’s seatbelts.
Bowker had only recently passed his driving test
The judge is in court and prosecutor Michael Morley is outlining the facts of the case.
The defendant pleaded guilty to all three charges in October. Maps and diagrams have been handed to the judge.
Chloe’s mother, father and sister Sophie, who was injured in the crash, are in court.
The court hears Chloe was a rear seat passenger in a car being driven by the defendant. Bowker had only recently passed his driving test.
Sentencing about to begin
The sentencing hearing of Michael Bowker, 19, is due to start shortly.
Prosecutor Michael Morley is set to outline the facts.
The case is in front of Judge Paul Lawton and we’re told that 25 family members are expected in court this morning.
Michael Bowker after leaving Bury Magistrates Court after an earlier hearing
Tragic 16-year-old Chloe Cockton was killed in the crash in Rochdale in July last year