A DRINK-DRIVER who killed her partner and seriously injured her colleague in a horrific crash has been jailed.

Robyn Smith was more than three times the legal limit for alcohol when she crashed on the A23 at Warninglid on December 16.

The 30-year-old carer ignored advice not to drive after her office Christmas party, because she didn't want to wait an hour for a taxi.

Her partner Adi Pieptea died, while her colleague Ellisha Adams was left with horrendous, life-changing injuries after the car smashed into a parked lorry in a lay-by.

Miss Adams now requires full-time care because of the brain damage she suffered.

She admitted causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Lewes Crown Court, where Judge Christine Laing QC jailed her for four years and four months.

The Argus:

Robyn Smith was jailed at Lewes Crown Court

Mr Pieptea had been considering marriage with Smith before the horror crash, the court was told.

His sister Petruta Ionesca said he was a "gentle" and "caring" man who had arrived in the UK from Romania when he was 28.

His death has "shattered" her family and left her mother "in pieces".

She said: "Words cannot describe the pain we feel when we think of him. He had a great future ahead of him, and it was cruelly taken away."

Meanwhile Ellisha Adams' mother Anne said the crash was devastating.

In court she described being woken up by police at her door in the early hours, then taken to the hospital past the crash scene, not knowing if her daughter was still alive.

The Argus:

The crash scene at the A23, Warninglid

She said: "Upon arrival, we were told by doctors in no uncertain terms that she had horrific head and facial injuries, and she was unlikely to survive the next 24 hours.

“We saw her with a blanket over her face. When they removed it, Ellisha was unrecognisable. She no longer had any contours or shape to her face, she could have been anybody.

“There were no recognisable features and no resemblance to the beautiful Ellie we had known and loved. That will haunt us for the rest of our lives."

Ellisha had been working two jobs, as a dementia carer and at a barber shop, as she hoped to open her own business.

But she has endured facial reconstruction after nearly a year in hospital, and is a "shadow" of her former self.

Mrs Adams praised the "most incredible, professional, and caring" NHS staff and emergency services for saving her daughter's life.

Now though she is left with sleeping and eating disorders, and is unable to comprehend what happened. She requires constant supervision.

"It is doubtful she will ever be able to lead a normal adult life ever again," Mrs Adams said.

Judge Laing QC said the minimum term for the offence was seven years, and because of Smith's early guilty pleas, she was entitled to one third off her sentence.