A senior police officer has hailed the death of a father in a hit-and-run as "one of the worst cases of dangerous driving that I have seen at my time in the force".
Allan Hale, 39, was captured on CCTV ordering six bottles of wine at a pub in Wardley when he got behind the wheel of his silver Mercedes Benz C-class on the evening of April 8 this year.
He started driving towards his home in Gateshead but just after midnight that evening he mounted the kerb on Victoria Road West, Hebburn, and collided with 56-year-old Gavin Bolam.
Motorist admits killing Hebburn dad Gavin Bolam
Hale then fled the scene in his Mercedes before he was spotted driving erratically across the road on metal rims. He was arrested a short time later.
Mr Bolam was pronounced dead in hospital.
Today, Hale, of Appleby Gardens, Gateshead, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for six years. He has also been banned from driving for six years.
This ban will start on his release from prison.
Chief Inspector Dave Guthrie, of the Operations Department, said: "This is one of the worst cases of dangerous driving that I have seen at my time in the force and I am glad Hale is now behind bars.
Danger driver jailed for six years over hit-and-run death of Gavin Bolam
"Numerous witnesses and CCTV footage shows the offender sharing half a dozen bottles of wine at a pub in Hebburn and to even contemplate getting behind the wheel is despicable in itself.
"To then mow down an innocent member of the public and leave them to die in the street is both cowardly and inhumane.
"Gavin's family will never be able to get over this loss and we hope they have been able to get some comfort from the fact that the person who killed a loving father-of-two is now behind bars.
"They have shown incredible bravery throughout the investigation and should be commended. Hopefully this case acts as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of driving whilst under the influence."
Family's despair over loss of beloved dad
Following sentencing today, Mr Bolam's daughter Kelly said she would never want another family to face the "despair" that she and her family had experienced in recent months.
She said: "On April 9 my world was ripped apart when I received a phone call to say that my dad had been killed in a hit and run collision.
"Today, the man responsible for my dad's death was sentenced to serve a prison term. No amount of time given would ever make up for the fact that my dad is no longer with us.
"But that is not what today was about. This sentencing is about holding an individual responsible for his actions which have resulted in him taking another man's life.
"We would never want another family to face the despair that the last few months have presented with us. I do hope my dad's story reaches as many people as possible as a message about the severity of the situation in which you place yourself in if you drink and drive.
"We are all aware of how alcohol impairs our judgement. If you choose to drive under the influence you are knowingly putting the lives of yourself and others at risk.
"Please don't put yourself in that situation. Do not be the person responsible for a father never going home to his two daughters again.
"There are no words to describe that trauma we have had to face. Equally, we will never be able offer enough words of thanks to those who have supported us through this awful time.
"Our most sincere thanks to PC Steve Hackett and Sergeant Lee Butler for their time and dedication to getting us a conviction.
"To PC Karl Boxshall and PC Sharon Cobb our Family Liaison Officers. Their unwavering support throughout this process has been invaluable.
"And finally the biggest thanks to our extended family and all of our friends. There are too many of you to name individually but you all know who you are. For the care and endless words of kindness, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
"After today, we as a family would ask that we are left to try and recover from our devastating loss in private."
If a member of the public suspects anyone of dangerous driving then they should contact the Op Dragoon team by ringing the 101 non-emergency number. Always dial 999 in an emergency.