A FORMER soldier who drove his car into doormen working at a Bournemouth nightclub has been jailed.

Shailem Dodson's car mounted the pavement outside Halo and ploughed into Rafael Zanin.

Police investigating the crash said it was "an absolute miracle" Mr Zanin, 32, escaped with just cuts and bruises.

The defendant, of Gunville Down Road in Blandford, went on trial accused of attempted murder earlier this month. He was cleared of the charge, as well as of an alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm with itent.

However, the 20-year-old admitted dangerous driving, drink driving and assault by beating.

Today, he returned to Winchester Crown Court to be sentenced to 16 months in prison, as well as a three-year driving ban.

Dodson had been kicked out of Halo at around 1.50am on Tuesday, December 12 last year after complaints were made about his behaviour.

The defendant, who had been drinking beers and shots, flew into a rage and punched doorman Darren Peterson after he was asked to leave.

He was restrained and sent on his way when it was believed he had calmed down.

However, Dodson returned to his Vauxhall Corsa, which he had left at the Winter Gardens car park, and drove back to the club at around 2.30am.

He was then seen driving the car towards the nightclub before mounting the pavement, crashing through metal barriers outside the venue and colliding with Mr Zanin at speed.

The car then hit a lamppost and Dodson got out and attempted to run away.

Passing members of the public who saw the crash crashed and restrained the defendant until police arrived.

When he was later breathalysed, Dodson had 57 micrograms of alcohol in breath. The limit is 35.

Back calculations suggested he had 88mg of alcohol in his breath at the time of the collision.

Detective Constable Laura McQueen, of Bournemouth CID, said: "It is an absolute miracle that the victim only sustained minor injuries and I wish to praise the actions of the members of the public and other door staff who were able to restrain Dodson so he could be arrested. I would also like to thank those who provided statements and attended court to give evidence.

"Dodson made the reckless decision to get behind the wheel after he had been drinking. He was clearly not in a fit state to drive and his actions could have resulted in far more serious or even fatal consequences."