A DRINK-driver who caused the death of a pedestrian returning home from a Christmas party has been jailed for five years.

Keith McCardle, 51, consumed four alcoholic drinks in the hours before getting behind the wheel of his Land Rover Freelander 4X4 on December 8, 2012.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard he was more than one-and-a-half times over the legal drink-driving limit when he lost control of the vehicle.

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It mounted the pavement and struck father-of-two Gavin Fulton, 43, who was heading to his home in Edinburgh's Claremont Bank.

Moments after the collision, McCardle got out of his car and told a passer-by: "I killed him. I hit the guy and he's dead."

After the verdict, the victim's father Bill,73, appealed for people to stop drink-driving.

Speaking outside court ­yesterday, Mr Fulton said: ­"Tragedies like the one we're enduring start with somebody believing that they're super-human and immune to the effects of alcohol and are fit to drive their car when they are not. Suddenly they crash their car and kill an innocent person and in that second that person is gone, their life is finished and they cannot be replaced.

"The victim's family is ripped apart forever, unlike the offender's sentence that ends in a defined time allowing another life to be planned and enjoyed.

"These offenders have ­absolutely no respect for the right of others to live a safe life. If you're aware of anybody about to drive after drinking alcohol please do everything in your power to stop them."

Judge Lord Doherty told McCardle he had no option but to send him to prison. He was also banned from driving for eight years.

Lord Doherty added: "In my opinion your culpability is substantial because you decided to take the risk of driving when you knew you had consumed the quantities of alcohol which you had."

McCardle, of Musselburgh, East Lothian, pleaded guilty at a hearing last month to causing Mr Fulton's death by dangerous driving.

Sentence had been deferred for the court to obtain reports about his character.

At the hearing, prosecutor Leanne Cross told the court ­McCardle had four alcoholic drinks on a night out in Edinburgh's Bennets Bar. At about 1am, he left the pub and started driving to Dundas Street.

Ms Cross added: "The witnesses travelling behind him saw the Freelander zig-zag and swerve across the road in an erratic manner and out of control."

She described how the vehicle crossed onto the opposite carriageway before mounting the pavement and striking Mr Fulton.

Defence advocate Tony ­Lenehan said yesterday his client was genuinely remorseful for getting behind the wheel of his car drunk.

He added his client had started drinking heavily after the death of his brother David, who was fatally assaulted in a Musselburgh bar two years ago.