The trial has opened of a lorry driver accused of dangerous driving causing the death of four-year-old Jade O'Reilly in a road crash near Adare, Co Limerick.

Vincent Ryan, 56, from Dunemer Drive in Lusk, Co Dublin has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Limerick Circuit Court heard today that the lorry being driven by Mr Ryan - originally from Rivervalley in Swords - crashed into the rear of an Opel Astra car just outside Adare village on 22 July, 2002.

The child was a back seat passenger in the car being driven by her grandmother Connie O'Reilly.

It was one of three cars occupied by O'Reilly relatives travelling in convoy back to Dublin from a holiday in Killarney, Co Kerry.

Jade's grand-uncle Noel Morgan, who was travelling ahead of them, told the court he heard 'an awful whack' and could see a car with its front two wheels in the air.

He said the rear of the car was crushed up nearly onto the driver's seat. Initially he thought Jade's grandmother, and his mother, who was also a passenger in the car, had been killed.

Mr Morgan said the accused had a mobile phone in his hand as he got out of his vehicle, but he could not say if the lorry driver was using it.

The court heard Mr Morgan told him 'you've killed my family', and the driver replied that he could not stop, the road was greasy.

The trial, which is due to hear from 15 witnesses, is expected to take two days.