A drink driver is facing jail for a crash in which he left a world-renowned fitness guru with horrific injuries to his legs and body.

Pensioner Stephen Evans was four times over the limit when he mowed down cyclist Jean-Pierre de Villiers on a main road outside Combe Martin on May 22 last year and failed to stop.

Mr de Villiers was on a 1,000 mile charity ride from John O’Groats to Lands End and suffered two shattered legs, a fractured arm, punctured lung and internal injuries.

He was airlifted to hospital and spent 15 days in intensive care.

He was unable to run his business as an international motivational speaker and life coach for months while he struggled to regain fitness.

Former professional cyclist Mr de Villiers, aged 37, came face to face with the driver who injured him during an emotional courtroom confrontation which left both men in tears.

JP read out a Victim Personal Statement in which he told Mr Evans that he forgave him and wanted him to overcome the demons that led him to alcoholism.

The statement detailed the huge effect which the crash had on him and his wife Julia, who had to suspend her own design business to look after him.

He said it was sheer frustration to go from being a highly fit athlete to being on crutches for weeks and enduring hours of agonising physiotherapy.

He said: “There are so many questions. I have thought about why it happened. I have no memory of the collision but as well as my injuries to remind me, I wake up at night with the smell of intensive care in my head.

“I have been asked what I feel about the driver. I feel nothing other than not wanting him to be on the road. I have zero animosity or negativity towards him.

“I forgave him straight away. I even feel sorry for him. For me, this was a life changing experience, but I am grateful to be alive.

“Mr Evans, I want you to know I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. There are consequences and repercussions for what you did to me.

“I really hope that whatever happens to you, you can use the time to heal whatever you need to heal and that you come out of this a better and stronger man. I forgive you.”

The judge allowed Evans to reply from the dock. He sobbed as he said: “I wish you the best. I never went out to hurt anyone. I wish it was the other way round. I would not be here and you would not be here.”

“I pray for you most days, I pray hard. What you said got to me. I would have thought you would have a lot of animosity. I never meant to harm you, I am very, very sorry.”

Evans, aged 69, of Wilder Place, Ilfracombe, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, drink driving, driving while disqualified and uninsured, and failing to stop.

He changed his plea on what was supposed to be the second day of his trial at Exeter Crown Court. He was brought to court by the police on Monday after allegedly getting drunk on a train, falling asleep, and missing his stop.

Judge David Evans remanded Evans in custody and told him a prison sentence is inevitable. He ordered a probation pre-sentence report.

The accident happened on the A399 just outside Combe Martin after Evans took his wife’s Ford Focus car and drove it in Cross Street and the Kiln car park before joining the main road.

Mr de Villiers spent nine weeks in hospital in Plymouth and Coventry after being injured eight days into the charity ride which he was doing with friend Callum O’Brien to raise money for Macmillan Cancer support and the Addie Brady Foundation.

He documented his slow road to recovery in posts on Instagram and Facebook, including some showing him in intensive care and taking his first steps.