IF ever there was a stark warning about the horror of drink driving then the case of Nathan Cope is it.

He is starting a three-year jail term today after killing his best friend while drink driving.

In a classic case of alcohol clouding judgement, he climbed behind the wheel after a wedding celebration even though he’d had enough sense to use taxis earlier in the day.

That decision was a moment of madness which set in train a tragic series of events leading to his best friend’s death when the car smashed into a tree on Wakefield Road near the National Coal Mining Museum.

It is clear that Cope has a conscience and what happened that night will haunt him forever.

But let’s not forget that he also did not have insurance or a driving licence and so clearly these offences showed he had a carefree attitude to the general public.

On the first anniversary of the tragedy, Cope went to Mr Fleming’s graveside with Mr Fleming’s 13-year-old daughter.

That, in itself, is an emotive thought and there must be so many “what ifs’’ in this case.

But what if people didn’t drink and drive?

Then there would be no more senseless deaths like this and no more families needlessly having their lives ruined.