A DRUG driver who killed an expectant father in a crash after dropping his lighter and trying to pick it up to light a cigarette was jailed.

Delme Marks lost control of his Volkswagen Polo which had his 21-year-old friend Bradley Lukins as a back seat passenger, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Gareth James, prosecuting, said the car left country road and was in mid-air before it crashed down an embankment, landing on its roof.

An ambulance took Mr Lukins to Abergavenny’s Nevill Hall Hospital but he died from his injuries after surgeons had tried to save his life.

The court heard how Mr Lukins’ partner Hannah was pregnant at the time of the crash and has given birth to his son, a baby boy.

South Wales Argus: JAILED: Delme MarksJAILED: Delme Marks

Mr James said Marks, aged 22, of Abertillery Road, Blaina, had smoked cannabis before driving with Mr Lukins and Joshua Morris who was a front seat passenger.

The defendant pleaded guilty to causing careless driving whilst under the influence of drugs in the early hours of Saturday, July 14, 2018.

The crash happened on the B4248 between Blaenavon and Brynmawr after the three had been to a McDonald’s in the Llanfoist area of Abergavenny.

In a moving personal statement read to the court, Mr Lukins’ mother, Mary Troake, said: “Brad was a lovely baby who was content. He was very well-liked by those who knew him.

“He wasn’t an angel, but he had a good heart and was never in any trouble.

“Just before he died, he was in a relationship with a young lady called Hannah.

“She was pregnant and she has given birth to a baby boy.

“Having discovered the news, he and Hannah were looking for places to live.

“He had everything to live for. He had his whole life before him.”

She added: “I miss him more than words can say. His death has left a gaping hole in my heart.

“Delme had been smoking cannabis yet still chose to drive. The accident has changed our lives.

“It has left total carnage and devastation. It is every mother’s worse nightmare.”

When he was being questioned by detectives, the defendant told them he had "taken his eyes off the road for a few seconds".

Mr James said: "He said he should have got Josh to light his cigarette for him."

The court heard how Marks was banned from driving for six months in 2016 for having no insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

Matthew Roberts, mitigating, said: “The defendant apologises for his actions and feels a sense of loss as they were friends.

“He is desperately sorry for what occurred and he accepts full responsibility.

“This is something he will have with him for the rest of his life.”

The Recorder of Cardiff, Judge Eleri Rees, told Marks: “No sentence can reflect the sense of his family’s loss nor can it bring Bradley back his life which was so tragically cut short.

“The guilt of killing your friend will follow you all your life.”

The judge jailed Marks for two years and banned him from driving for six years.