A DRINK driver who fell asleep at the wheel has been jailed for seven years for killing a Hampshire man on the M3.

Steven Anderson was more than twice the alcohol limit when he smashed into the back of a Vauxhall Vectra driven by Andrew Greest, 55, from Gosport.

He shunted Mr Greest's car off the southbound M3 north of Winchester, forcing it down an embankment where it overturned, inflicting fatal injuries.

Anderson, 44, a deep sea diver, from Poole, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving on December 15 last year.

Winchester Crown Court heard Anderson had been working as a diver on an oil rig in the North Sea. Having taken leave and returning home from Aberdeen, he had consumed alcohol whilst waiting for a delayed flight to London, and during the flight itself.

On arrival at Heathrow, Anderson picked up his Vauxhall Insignia, and left the airport bound for Poole. In his evidence to police, Anderson spoke of feeling tired, but carried on driving.

South of Basingstoke, the M3 narrowed from three lanes to two and it was at this point that Anderson fell asleep. He woke to find the rear of Mr Greest's vehicle so close that he barely had time to brake.

Anderson lost control of the Insignia, which went off the carriageway and partially down the embankment, but he escaped without injury.

When a blood sample was taken in hospital, Anderson's blood was analysed and found to be nearly twice the legal limit for drinking and driving.

Due to the time delay between the collision and the time of the test a back calculation was carried out revealing that at the time of the crash, Anderson would have had a reading of 219 mg/100ml and 233mg at the time he collected the car. The limit for alcohol in blood is 80 mg/100 ml.

Officers welcomed the sentence which also included a ten-year driving ban.

Inspector Richard Parsons, said: “The tragic consequences of this case highlight the dangers of driving whilst tired and under the influence of alcohol and should serve as a reminder to members of the public to consider their actions before getting behind the wheel of the car.”