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Driver Jailed For Two Years For Causing Crash That Killed Westmeath Girlfriend

Jenna-eve Smyth died in the crash in June 2016.

A driver convicted of causing the crash that killed his Westmeath girlfriend in Co. Meath three years ago has been jailed for two and a half years at Trim Circuit Court today.

Kenneth Darby (29), with an address at Ashfield, Clonard, Co. Meath, who had pleaded not guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing the death of Jenna-eve Smyth (25) on 18th June 2016 at Kilmurray, Enfield on the Kinnegad-Enfield road, was convicted following a trial earlier this year.

During that trial, the court heard the defendant's car, a silver 04 VW Bora had rounded a gentle sweeping bend in a snake-like motion and had been on the wrong side of the road when it crashed sideways into the front of an oncoming black 05 Renault Megane.

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

The court heard that neither occupant in the defendant's car had been wearing seat belts and a forensic collision investigator concluded the crash was due to driver error as Kenneth Darby had lost control of the vehicle.

In a statement to gardaí, 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 but did not remember picking her up at her home and only remembered waking up in hospital.

Addressing the court after the 'guilty' verdict, the victim's father, Des Smyth, said Jenna-eve had been working in the family's shop in Mullingar at the time of her death

"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.

A later hearing 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, who described her as an energetic, vibrant and lovable person who had a smile for everyone and had only seen the good in people.

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

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

Defence barrister Damien Colgan SC told the court his client accepted the verdict of the jury and had instructed him to apologise on his behalf and express his remorse to the Smyth family for their pain and suffering.

His client was in a new relationship and had become a father in August the lawyer added.

The court heard the defendant was held in high regard as a social care worker helping vulnerable adults live as normal a life as possible.

Offering her sympathy to the victim's family on their double loss at today's sentence hearing, Judge Martina Baxter said she accepted Darby's remorse was genuine.

The judge said the dangers of speeding and not wearing seatbelts were well publicised and there had been an obligation on Darby to have ensured his passenger was wearing one.

The judge added that, as the road had been wet, there had also been an obligation on the defendant to drive safely.

Judge Baxter sentenced Darby to three years with the final six months suspended and time allowed for the weeks he has spent in custody.

The judge also disqualified Darby from driving for ten years.

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