AN uninsured driver — described as a “menace on the road” — has been jailed for ploughing into and killing a popular town centre pub regular.

Prolific criminal Safvan Patel, aged 27, smashed into Jack Hindley in a hired Vauxhall Vectra car, throwing him 30 metres along the street and several feet into the air.

Mr Hindley, aged 61, who had been on crutches, was crossing Moor Lane in Bolton town centre after leaving The Albion pub at 11.45pm on June 4, 2011.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The defendant, from Blackburn, had been driving between 39mph and 45mph in a 30mph zone, according to experts.

Patel drove away from the scene, but later confessed to police he was the driver after returning to the scene for a second time.

Robert Golinski, prosecuting, said: “He was thrown into the air and propelled forward.

“He was thrown in the air. He travelled over 30 metres from where the defendant’s car struck him to where he came to rest.”

Patel initially drove away from the scene, then returned twice before confessing to police that he was the driver.

The court heard yesterday that when Patel was arrested he was found to have been drinking but was not over the limit.

Patel was due to stand trial for the crime on Wednesday, October 10, but the case was adjourned because, while awaiting trial, he broke both his legs when he crashed a stolen BMW estate car into two police cars in Blackburn.

After this crash, he smelled strongly of alcohol, slurred his words and had to be rescued by firefighters. A bottle of vodka was found in the footwell of the car.

He was later “abusive, aggressive and threatening” to police, the court heard.

Patel has a catalogue of previous convictions including for drugs and has been sentenced for driving while disqualified and for driving without insurance at least eight times.

Andrew Alty, defending, said: “This is a fairly tragic story. Patel was doing well. He has a decent family who are law abiding.”

Patel who is also serving a 22-week jail term for possession with intent to supply class B drugs appeared in court via video link from prison.

He pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, dangerous driving, failing to provide a specimen, driving with no licence and two counts of driving with no insurance.

Judge Timothy Stead, said: “Not only are you a menace on the road and a danger to others, which was tragically demonstrated by the death of Jack Hindley, but it can’t sensibly be said that you have very much care at all for anybody else or the law.”

He was jailed for two years and nine months and banned from driving for five years.

Mr Hindley, of Bromwich Street, The Haulgh, was a regular and popular character in town centre pubs.

His friends rallied together to pay for his funeral after his death.