A DRINK-driving soldier who killed a cyclist in a hit-and-run has been jailed.

Nicholas Cutmore, 24, was on his way to Salisbury from a pub in Tidworth in his red Suzuki Swift when he “ploughed with speed” into the back of 65-year-old David Gunson.

Cutmore, formerly of the Royal Welsh Regiment, claimed he had been dazzled by oncoming headlights before he hit Mr Gunson on the A338 on December 22, 2016.

He flagged down other drivers before he ran from the scene “in a cowardly fashion” to avoid police discovering that had been drinking.

Grandfather-of-nine Mr Gunson had been hit with such force that he was “catapulted” over Cutmore’s windscreen and was left lying on the road.

Mr Gunson, a guard for South West Trains, died the next day at Southampton General Hospital.

Cutmore denied causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed limit, but was convicted by a jury at Salisbury Crown Court on Monday.

At his sentencing on Tuesday, the court heard that Cutmore had been drunk before he left his barracks.

He then drove to The Ram pub, in Tidworth, where he drank five pints of Fosters and three Jägerbombs.

Because he fled the scene and did not hand himself in until the next day, Cutmore was not tested for alcohol at the time of the crash.

But during the trial, a doctor said it was likely he would have had had 155mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, almost twice the legal limit.

Defending, David Reid said Cutmore felt "genuine and heartfelt remorse".

“The effects of his actions that night will stay with Mr Cutmore for a very long time," he said.

Cutmore has also offered his car to Wiltshire Police to be used as a teaching aid to show others the consequences of drink-driving.

The court heard that Cutmore had been discharged from the Army in August 2017 and had been supported by his pregnant girlfriend throughout the trial.

Judge Andrew Barnett said Mr Gunson’s family were suffering, adding: “Quite plainly to me this is something they are going to have to live with for the rest of their lives.”

Judge Barnett said Cutmore had previous convictions for drink driving and being drunk and disorderly.

His actions had been “irresponsible” and it had clearly been careless driving, the judge added.

“No sentence that I pass can bring Mr Gunson back or soothe the grief of his family.

“You rue the day that you got into that car and caused the havoc that you did.”

Cutmore, of Lowa Road, Tidworth, was jailed for six years and banned from driving for nine years.