A motorcyclist has become paraplegic after being hit by a car which veered across double white lines on the A5 in the heart of Snowdonia.

It led to Darren Smith, aged 47, a quantity surveyor of Abergele, being airlifted to a trauma unit at Stoke-on-Trent with injuries described at Caernarfon crown court on Friday as devastating.

Dean Howard, aged 26, of Georgetown, Dublin, a truck driver, who had been working in Vancouver, Canada, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was jailed for 18 months. He wept in the dock throughout the hearing.

"No-one knows what the future will hold for Mr Smith," remarked Judge Huw Rees.

The crash happened on April 21 in Nant Ffrancon Pass, between Bethesda and Capel Curig. Judge Rees said : "It's a case with devastating consequences in human terms. "

He had been told that Mr Smith had fractures to the neck, spine, ribs and pelvic area among other injuries and was paralysed from the chest down. At first he was in a critical condition and placed in an induced coma, but was now stable but not well enough to be transferred to a spinal rehabilitation unit at Oswestry where a specialist could make an expert prognosis.

Ember-Jade Wong, prosecuting, said another motorist had said the motor cycle was being ridden "perfectly normally" before Howard's hired Ford Focus clipped wing mirrors with an approaching car then crossed the double white lines with all four wheels.

In an impact statement read to the court Mr Smith's ex-partner Joanna Smith, mother of his three children, said he was a "fantastic" father who doted on them. The family's whole world had been turned upside down.

His sister Zoe Castle said in the witness box : "The road was a dangerous road and there were double white lines in the centre. He's destroyed our brother's life and our lives."

Defence barrister John Marsh said : "It's a tragedy of enormous proportions. Everyone is a loser."

Howard was riding at 45mph with his fiancée on their way from ZipWorld at Bethesda to another attraction at Blaenau Ffestiniog. They had flown from Dublin to Liverpool airport where they had hired the car. Howard, a hard worker, and considered to be kind and caring, was adored by his family. He was fully insured and it was a small consolation that the company would meet the costs of what happened.

Mr Marsh said Howard's main focus had been with Mr Smith's family. "He and his fiancée stood with the victim and talked to him while he lay critically injured in the road, trying to keep him awake."

The judge said Howard had held a full licence since 2010, driving 30,000 miles a year. Judge Rees told him : "You fully accepted that after the impact with the mirrors you panicked, braked, froze and didn't take evasive action."

He added : "I'm prepared to accept without hesitation that you have been markedly affected and are acutely aware of the extent of the injuries and the consequences for Mr Smith and his family.

"I accept you had been a safe and competent driver hitherto. This was a momentary lapse of judgement - but a serious lapse of judgement."

Howard was banned from driving for three years and nine months.