A young motorist who was warned not to drive after drinking 12 pints of strong lager said he did not see a man he knocked down and killed as he crossed a road, a judge was told.

Robert Meacham, (21), ran off after hitting Adrian Darby and when he was breathalysed one-and-a-half hours later he was between two and three times over the drink-drive limit, Stafford Crown Court heard.

Meacham, of Melbourne Road, Heath Hayes, Cannock, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving due to excess alcohol and failing to stop after an accident. He was jailed for four-and-a-half years and banned from driving for five years.

Gery Bermingham, prosecuting, said Mr Darby, aged 38, of Hednesford Road, Heath Hayes, was walking behind his girlfriend when he was hit by Meacham's car in October last year.

"People who saw the accident said Meacham was driving too fast for wet road conditions. They heard a thump and saw a body flying in the air for some distance. There was an horrendous bang and Mr Darby skidded across the road," he said.

"It was suggested by people at a pub that he should not drive but he got into his car and drove off.

"He told the police he did not stop because he knew he would be over the limit. He said: 'I did not see him. He stepped out. I did not know what I had hit'."

Andrew Baker, defending, said: "He is a well-liked young man, shy and unassuming. The aggravating feature of this case is that he had been warned not to drive.

"It is quite apparent he did not see Mr Darby. He panicked and ran off and did not know what had occurred. His car was horrendously damaged and when he realised what had happened he gave himself up to the police."

Judge Paul Glenn told Meacham: "You had been drinking strong lager. You were unsteady on your feet and your eyes were glazed and your speech slurred.

"You were seen to stagger from a pub to the car park and it was queried whether you should be driving. That was a warning."