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Jonathan Wenham wrapped his BMW round a tree while he was over the limit, killing his passenger.
The 40-year-old from Ridgeside Avenue, Brighton, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and making a false claim to obtain insurance and was jailed by a judge at Lewes Crown Court for six and a half years.
Wenham drove his BMW into a tree in Grand Parade, Brighton, in the early hours of January 21st 2011. His passenger, Nicholas Messenger, 28, from South London, died in the crash.
Segeant Paul Wood, of Sussex Police Road Policing Unit, said: "The court has sent a clear message out that drivers who drive dangerously, while over the drink-drive limit will face a lengthy custodial sentence.
"Wenham knew prior to setting off on his journey that he was above the drink-drive limit. This seriously affected his ability to drive which resulted in the collision and tragic loss of Nicholas Messenger's life.
"I hope that out of this tragedy, people will take into account their alcohol consumption from the preceding night before deciding whether to drive."