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Court Hears Of Double Tragedy For Mullingar Family

Trim Circuit Court has been hearing the victim impact statement from relatives of a Westmeath woman who died in June 2016.

A grieving mother would be alive today if not for her daughter being killed in a crash near Kinnegad three years ago.

Trim Circuit Court has been hearing the victim impact statement from relatives of Jenna-eve Smyth, who worked at the family business in Mullingar until her death.

Following a trial in July Kenneth Darby (30) with an address at Ashfield Clonard Co Meath had been found guilty of dangerous driving causing the death his girlfriend Jenna-eve Smyth (25) on 18th June 2016 at Kilmurray Enfield on the Kinnegad - Enfield road.

The trial had heard the defendant's car, a silver Bora had rounded a gentle sweeping bend and had been on the wrong side of the road when it crashed sideways into the front of an oncoming black Megane that night

The victim Jenna-eve Smyth had been the front seat passenger in the defendant's car.

Emer France Alhadri who was driving the Megane at the time told the trial the defendant's car was halfway over the white line when it came round the bend very fast and 'then went like a snake left and right three times as if the driver was trying to take control of the car'.

She said she thought the other car was going to tumble on top of her and she was going to die.

The court heard the defendant had been able to talk when taken from his car but the victim had been unresponsive.

In a later statement to gardai Darby said he had collected Ms Smyth from her work in Mullingar earlier that evening and dropped her home to Killucan to get ready for a night out in Enfield.

He said he returned home and was to collect her later.

He said he did not remember picking her up at her home and only remembered waking up in hospital.

He said he could not understand why he had been going in the Kinnegad direction at the time of the crash as he should have been driving in the Enfield direction.

Gardai who examined the scene and the two cars involved told the court the road where the crash occurred had been wet and greasy on the night following recent rain and neither car had been mechanically defective.

The court heard that neither occupant in the defendant's car had been wearing seat belts.

Garda Thomas Brennan a forensic collision investigator said he concluded the crash was due to driver error as Darby had lost control of the vehicle.

After the  jury of seven men and five women returned the 'guilty' verdict the victim's father Des Smyth addressed the court.

Mr Smyth said that Jenna-eve had been working in the family's shop in Mullingar at the time of her death.

He said that after she had secured her university degree she insisted on working in the family business with him to get the money to study for a master's degree.

'We were inseparable and travelled to work together. We used say the Rosary in the car on our way in each morning', he said.

Mr Smyth said his daughter knew all the customers by name.

'She stole everyone's heart and was the most lovable little girl anyone could think of. I still think she is going to come running down that hall but I know that's not going to happen', he said.

He added that the family would never get over her death.

A resumed hearing of the case yesterday was told the victim's mother Breda had twice suffered strokes following the fatal collision and then a fatal heart attack just weeks after the trial.

Victim impact statements were read to the hearing by state prosecutor Carl Hanahoe BL on behalf of three of Jenna-eve Smyth's sisters.

Carla Smyth described Jenna-eve as an energetic, vibrant and lovable person who had made a lasting impression on everyone she met.

The impact on her mother of the crash and the trial could not be overstated she said.

'I believe if Jenna-eve was still alive mum would be too', she said.

Hazel Smyth said Jenna-eve had been full of generosity and modesty and had only seen the good in people.

'Customers coming into the family business still speak fondly of her', she said.

The memory of having to go to Connolly hospital on the night of the crash, hearing her mother wailing and her father sobbing and being told nothing could be done for her sister still haunted her she added.

Heather Smyth said she had to come home from Australia and go straight to the morgue after hearing of the crash and since the incident had been diagnosed with depression which had been exaccerbated by her mother's death .

Defence barrister Damien Colgan SC (for Kenneth Darby) said his client accepted the verdict of the jury and had instructed him to apologise and express his remorse to the Smyth family for their pain and suffering.

Judge Martina Baxter offered her sympathy to the victim's family and remanded the defendant in custody for sentence on 27th Nov.

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