A lorry driver who killed a student as she cycled to university in Glasgow has been sentenced.

Paul Mowat, 69, appeared in the dock at Glasgow Sheriff Court today after previously pleading guilty to causing the death of Emma Burke Newman.

He had admitted to driving an HGV without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road.

Emma, 22, was rushed to hospital after the crash at 10am on January 27, 2023, at the junction of Broomielaw and the King George V Bridge. 

But she was so seriously injured that she died in hospital the same morning. 

First offender Mowat, from Govanhill, was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and be under social work supervision for one year by Sheriff Matthew Jackson KC.

He was also disqualified from driving for one year.

The Herald: Paul MowatPaul Mowat (Image: Spindrift)The court heard today that Mowat held Emma's hand after the collision to comfort her.

Gareth Reid, defending, said: "When he became aware of something being wrong, he pulled his vehicle to a stop and went to Emma’s aid.

"He held her hand and reassured her that emergency services were on the way.

"He has been haunted by this incident and that he was unable to assist.

"His mental health has deteriorated significantly and he will have to live with what happened that day for the rest of his life. He is a hardworking man who has been deeply affected by this incident."

Mowat gave up his job following Emma's death and his physical health has deteriorated due to the criminal proceedings against him, it was heard.

Mr Reid added: "He's been a professional driver for nearly 40 years. He’s held a car licence for even longer. This is the first time he’s been involved in any road traffic matter.

"He's truly sorry for what occurred. He profusely apologises to Emma's family."

It was heard that the older-style HGVs, which Mowat was driving at the time, are currently being phased out and replaced with more modern vehicles where the driver's seat is positioned lower.

"This is not an excuse at all, but it explains the positioning of Mr Mowat," Mr Reid added. 

"He admitted he did not see Emma." 

A number of character references were put forward including from a relative and a family friend who has been a police officer for more than 20 years.

It was revealed that "these paint a picture of a decent, supportive and kind man who has had a huge positive impact on the lives of others".

At the previous hearing, Emma's heartbroken parents Rose and John watched the last moments of their daughter's life when several clips of CCTV and dashcam footage were played in court.

The Herald: John and Rose pictured with Emma in the weeks before her deathJohn and Rose pictured with Emma in the weeks before her death (Image: Supplied)We previously reported that the couple "felt obligated" to. 

Rose said: "It's our parental duty to be there because it is the last few months of our daughter’s life. We knew it would be tough, but I have to say, since the accident, we've just mentally been having scenes go around in our heads.

“For us, it was just really important to be there and set that record straight for ourselves.”

The court previously heard that Emma had placed herself in a vulnerable position.

She had moved into lane one and passed Mowat’s lorry on its nearside and stopped.

Mowat began moving forward, and Emma followed around two seconds after, looking right, towards the lorry.

He turned left and the lorry’s bumper connected with the offside pannier rack of Emma’s bike, causing her to fall off.

She was dragged under the lorry for around 53 metres.

A driver behind Mowat had begun flashing his lights and sounding his horn to alert him to stop after realising what happened.

Mowat stopped his lorry in lane two.

Witnesses rushed to assist, some of which heard Mowat state “I didn’t see her”.

He was later found to have had his view obstructed by a reversing camera, dirty mirrors and windscreen. He had also partially blocked the cycle safe zone.

999 operators were called, and a member of the public prevented any more traffic from entering the area until police arrived.

When a paramedic attended, he noted Emma to be breathing but not conscious.

After specialist treatment, she was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, where she was sadly pronounced dead at 11.25am.

Mowat pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, meaning a trial and the need for distressing evidence being heard was avoided.

The Herald: EmmaEmma (Image: Supplied)Emma, originally from France, was on her way to Mackintosh School of Architecture at the time.

She had moved to Glasgow just four months before to study and had quickly settled in.

On the first anniversary of Emma’s passing, Rose and John shared their devastation of losing their only child.

“She had just found her path, and she was so happy,” Rose said.

“What we found amazing is that she quickly wanted to find roots in the community in Glasgow. She loved her neighbourhood; there was a community centre close to where she lived in Shawlands.

“She had joined Langside Library. Among the other cards in her wallet was Glad Rags – she was into second-hand clothing.”

Rose went on to say: "She will always be our baby girl; we cry every day.

“I often think of how the world might be had she lived." 

A victim impact statement from the couple was put forward ahead of today's hearing. 

"They are evocative of the loss and despair they feel, still, at the death of their only child," Sheriff Jackson said.

"Both parents remind the court that with Emma’s death, they lose out on so much more, such as her constant companionship and the promise of grandchildren - being just two examples.

"These statements describe a quite extraordinary woman. A renaissance woman. A lover of Robert Burns and Munros and all things Scottish. A woman of social conscience and responsibility. A woman conscious of the need to protect our world and our environment. A woman of unimaginable promise." 

He added: "Plainly, nothing that the court can do is able to compensate for or lessen that loss, but I am grateful for the opportunity of learning more about her too short, but already full and well-lived life."