A driver convicted of causing the crash that killed his girlfriend in Co Meath three years ago has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Following a trial in July, 30-year-old Kenneth Darby, with an address at Ashfield, Clonard, Co Meath, had been found guilty of dangerous driving causing the death of 25-year-old Jenna-Eve Smyth on 18 June 2016 at Kilmurray, on the old N4, between Kinnegad and Enfield.

Trim Circuit Court heard the defendant's car, a silver 04 Volkswagen 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 05 Renault Megane.

Ms 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.

She said it "then went like a snake left and right three times as if the driver was trying to take control of the car".

Paramedics who attended the scene told the court the defendant had been able to talk when taken from his car, but the victim had been unresponsive.

In a later 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.

Darby 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.

Gardaí 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, the forensic collision investigator, said he concluded the crash was due to driver error as Darby had lost control of the vehicle.

Handing down sentence, Judge Martina Baxter offered her sympathy to the victim's family and said speeding causes accidents.

"It is well publicised in the media the dangers of driving with speed. No one can claim ignorance," she said.

She also noted neither Darby or Ms Smyth were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.

Judge Baxter said the driver had an obligation to ensure the occupants of the car were wearing seatbelts.

Taking into account mitigating factors, Judge Baxter said Darby had accepted the verdict and had shown remorse for what happened.

She also noted that he had made himself available to be charged.

Judge Baxter said from the testimonials handed into the court, including one from his local GAA club, Darby is a hard-working man who has contributed to his local community.

She said he had qualified as a social worker and had a young child, who was born last August.

Jenna-Eve Smyth

However, Judge Baxter said she also noted the permanent loss to the Smyth family as a result of the crash and the tragic knock-on effect it has had on the family.

A sentencing hearing last month heard victim impact statements on behalf of three of Ms Smyth's sisters.

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.

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

She added that she believed if her sister was still alive her mother would be too.