A BEREAVED daughter today (Friday October 31) spoke of her family’s grief at the loss of her much-loved father - the tragic consequence of a foolhardy driving episode.

Rebecca Wilkinson said the death of her father, Adam, underlined the dangers of drink driving.

The 20-year-old, the eldest of two daughters, was speaking outside Durham Crown Court after the driver responsible for her father’s death, Adam Lawrence McLoughlin, was jailed for eight years.

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McLoughlin, 32, was at least two-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit when he tried to out-run a pursuing police patrol vehicle - with Mr Wilkinson in the front passenger seat - shortly after midnight on June 24.

The court heard police were alerted after McLoughlin and Mr Wilkinson, who had been socialising with family members earlier, were refused service when they tried to buy more alcohol at a Tesco store, in Consett, County Durham.

McLoughlin was observed driving sheepishly from the store car park in his black Volkswagen Bora, which travelled down the wrong lane and took a roundabout in the opposite direction.

A patrol officer picked up the Bora minutes later after it left an all-night filling station at Villa Real, where Mr Wilkinson was served with alcohol.

Mark Giuliani, prosecuting, said McLoughlin ignored the police car’s flashing lights, and accelerated at speed some distance ahead.

The Bora eventually failed to take a right hand bend on the B6309 Ebchester Bank and hit an electricity pylon.

Mr Giuliani said the passenger side door was knocked off and Mr Wilkinson, 49, died at the scene from multiple injuries.

McLoughlin, who was cut free from the badly damaged car, received hospital treatment for injuries which included three rib fractures and a broken finger.

Mr Giuliani said the Bora was estimated to have been travelling at between 60 and 65mph on the 40-limit road, shortly before the collision.

He added that it had covered the 1.7 miles of the police pursuit in 93 seconds.

McLoughlin, of Ritsons Road, Blackhill, Consett, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.

Liam O’Brien, mitigating, spoke of the defendant’s “deep sorrow”.

He said the hairdresser, who had known Mr Wilkinson as a customer for ten years, had lost a close friend.

The court heard he only passed his driving test two months earlier.

Jailing him, Judge Christopher Prince said McLoughlin drove with “complete and utter disregard” for Mr Wilkinson, the police and other road users.

He imposed a three-year driving ban.

Speaking afterwards, Miss Wilkinson said she learned of her father’s death after a knock at her door at 5am on June 24, which she described as, “the worst day of my life”.

“He was popular and funny, and made you smile and laugh.

“He was a brilliant, loving person, and was a massive part of my life, my number one man, my hero, and a person to look up to.”

She added that she hoped it would deter anyone from considering driving after drinking.