Couple killed by car as they walked home after dinner

By Robyn Rosen, September 17, 2010
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The late Alan and Rochelle Bernard

The late Alan and Rochelle Bernard

A couple from north London died after a car collided with them as they walked "arm in arm" along a road in Dorset.

Alan Bernard, 53, and wife Rochelle, 51, members of Northwood United Synagogue, were declared dead at the scene after a silver Mercedes crashed at 10.35pm on Banks Road in Sandbanks, near Poole, on Saturday.

The pair, who ran Plus Rooms, a building business, had been at their holiday home in Sandbanks with their daughter, Natasha, 17.

Their two sons, 24-year-old Robbie, a law graduate, and 27-year-old James, who works in the family business, were in London when the accident happened.

The couple, who had been married for 28 years, had been out for dinner with their daughter and her friend, who had left the restaurant 10 minutes earlier. The crash happened as the Bernards walked home, linking arms and singing together.

Their daughter's 60-year-old singing coach, who was walking with them, was taken to Poole Hospital with injuries and later released.

Natasha has appeared in several West End productions.

A 33-year-old Poole man has been arrested on suspicion of driving offences and released on bail. Eldest son, James, who has moved back from his home in Watford to the family house to look after his siblings, said: "They were extremely popular people. My father was involved in a Masonic lodge and was a massive Tottenham fan, and my mother was an incredible person. They were a fantastic partnership and represented everything married life and parenting should be about.

"I'm getting married next year and even though I'm incredibly sad they won't be there, I take great comfort from knowing they were at the peak of their lives and hugely in love with each other. They went together and are still together."

Northwood's Rabbi Moshe Freedman said: "We feel totally shocked and devastated. The community has never experienced anything like this.

"They were very valued members of our community. When such a tragedy occurs, it is a tragedy for the entire community. The ripples of this will continue for months and maybe years.

"They had a very wide circle of friends, as do their children, and this has directly affected many families."

The funerals took place on Wednesday at Bushey Cemetery.

Mr Bernard's father, Irving, said: "He was my eldest son and we were very close. I just can't believe it. It's absolutely terrible."

Last updated: 4:21pm, August 16 2011