THREE young dads were killed when they crashed into a lorry after drinking heavily for several hours, an inquest heard.

Unlicenced driver Alex Davidson, 19, was behind the wheel when he died alongside pals Robert Bambridge, 24, and Dayne Thomas, also 19, in August.

Mr Davidson and Mr Thomas were of Cwmbran, and Mr Bambridge of Pontypool.

An inquest heard they had all been drinking for up to nine hours at the flat of friend Brandon Driscoll before getting in the car.

It was also said they had been smoking cannabis.

The three men left the flat in Pontypool, and got into Mr Davidson's Ford Focus car to go to a nightclub 20 miles away in Cardiff.

Mr Driscoll said: "I was tired and too drunk to join them and I told Alex not to drive because it was dangerous after drinking all evening, and I was concerned. But he said he was fine and nothing would happen."

The inquest heard the car was travelling at 50mph on the wrong side of the road when it hit the 20-tonne Mercedes Benz lorry in Llanedeyrn, Cardiff.

The hearing was told Mr Davidson only held a provisional licence and was uninsured and driving unlawfully.

Coroner Graeme Hughes concluded the three men died from a road traffic collision contributed to by alcohol and drugs.

Dad-of-one Mr Bambridge was described as a "kind-hearted" dad.

His family said following his death: "Our Robert, the most kind-hearted, free spirit you could ever meet.

"Robert lived for his daughter and was at his happiest when they were together walking in the mountains and playing in the swimming pool."

Mr Thomas' family, meanwhile, paid the following tribute to him: “Dayne was known for his white floppy hair, loud voice, wicked sense of humour and quick wit.

"His bonkers personality infected everybody he came into contact with."

And the family of Mr Davidson called him "a happy loving person and an amazing dad".

"Alex had no enemies and was loved by all," they added.

The HGV driver was not seriously hurt and no arrests were made.