A 21-year-old man has been jailed for nine years for causing a fatal crash which claimed the lives of three people in Co Louth last year.

Keith Lennon, with address at Forest Park, Dromintee, in Co Armagh, drove at 225km/h and recorded the speed he was travelling at on a snapchat video.

The two car collision occurred on the N1 at Carrickarnon, Ravensdale, Dundalk, Co Louth, on February 29 2020.

Mary Faxton, 82, and her 58-year-old son Kevin Faxton from Bessbrook in Co Armagh were killed in the crash.

Mary Faxton and her son Kevin were killed in the crash

Bryan Magill, 25, from Newry in Co Down, who was a passenger in the car Lennon was driving also died in the collision.

Bryan Magill was a passenger in Lennon's car

Lennon had pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter. 

In sentencing today, Judge Martina Baxter described the collision as "horrific". She said it was the worst case she has ever heard, with three fatalities and "showing-off" on social media.

Judge Baxter said Keith Lennon had caused terrible losses and people cannot be brought back.

She said the car had been driven at speed and it was a car with a powerful engine which Lennon later admitted he was pushing to its maximum.

Judge Baxter said the message must go out that innocent people are losing their lives on a regular basis as a result of gross negligence, usually on the part of young men.

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She said such driving, such distractions, and such gross negligence will not be accepted.

She described Lennon as reckless, immature, over-confident "showing-off" in this high powered vehicle. The vehicle was essentially a weapon, she added.

In mitigation, she said she was taking into account his guilty plea which prevented a trial, he had no previous convictions and was remorseful.

She sentenced to him ten years in jail for each count of manslaughter, to run concurrently with the final 12 months suspended.

She disqualified him from driving for 20 years.

Speaking after the sentencing, Yvonne Campbell, the daughter of Mary Faxton and sister of Kevin Faxton said no sentence will bring her mother and brother back, 

She said her family have to live the rest of their lives with the grief and pain this man has brought upon them by his reckless driving and use of a mobile phone.

She thanked the gardaí and the prosecution for their work on the case.

Francis Harte, a member of the Magill family, said they continue to live a never ending nightmare. 

He thanked the emergency services who attended the scene and the gardaí for their hard work on the case.

He said Bryan was a cherished son, a loving brother and faithful friend to many.

"Nothing can bring Bryan back, the very least he deserves is that justice be served. He will never be forgotten," he said.

At a sentencing hearing earlier this month Dundalk Circuit Court heard how Keith Lennon was uninsured at the time of the crash. None of the occupants were wearing seatbelts.

Snapchat videos taken by Lennon at 2.04am and 2.06am showed the speedometer at 140mph, the court heard.

Sgt Freda McCague of Dundalk Garda Station told the court that speed was the equivalent of 225km/h, 105km/h above the speed limit.

Lennon was not insured on the car, it had three bald tyres and the MOT, or vehicle worthiness certificate, had expired, the court heard.

After the crash, Lennon left the scene but presented himself at Dundalk Garda Station the following day.

The court heard Lennon had been driving a powerful three litre Audi car and one of the deceased, Mr Magill, was a passenger.

Mary and Kevin Faxton in a Peugeot 108 car that was struck from behind by the Audi as both cars were travelling north on the N1 dual carriageway.

The court heard how Mary Faxton had suffered from depression and her son Kevin often brought her out for a spin at night to "settle her".

In a victim impact statement read to the court on behalf of the Faxton family, Yvonne Campbell, Mary's daughter, and sister of Kevin, said her family is heartbroken.

"No words can explain the pain and grief" she said.

Ms Campbell said the family's life changed forever on 29 February last year and they "wish they could turn back time".

"We were robbed of the years we could have had with them and no one can take away the pain", she said.

In her victim impact statement from his family, Mr Magill's mother said said that no parent should see their child leave home in a coffin.

She said Lennon will get visits in prison but she will be visiting her son in a graveyard.

Lennon's mother told the court that her son understood what he had done and was "so sorry".

She said she had supported her son entering the guilty pleas and going into custody.