Driver who killed Northwood couple jailed for seven years

By Jennifer Lipman, August 14, 2011
Alan and Rochelle Bernard

Alan and Rochelle Bernard

A drunk-driver has been sentenced to seven years in jail for killing a married couple from Northwood after he lost control of the car and swerved on to the pavement.

Alan Bernard, 53, and wife Rochelle, 51, died last September when a car crashed into them as they were walking down a road in Dorset. A friend of theirs was seriously injured in the accident.

Jonathan Knowles, 33, was also banned from driving for seven years by a judge at Bournemouth Crown Court for "weaving and driving" as if he were a "Formula 1 driver" before the collision.

The court heard that he had been made bankrupt the previous day and had been drinking that evening, when he chose to drive the short distance to his home.

Police said he was speeding in his mother’s Mercedes at about 60 miles per hour when he crashed. He pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

Judge Samuel Wiggs said in court: “It should have been a happy day. They were minding their own business walking home from dinner on the pavement with their arms linked.

"There was no need to get into the car," he said.

The couple, who had belonged to Northwood United Synagogue, had been staying at their holiday home at the time.

They ran a building business and had three children together during their 28 year marriage.

After their deaths their son James said: "They were a fantastic partnership and represented everything married life and parenting should be about."

Last updated: 4:20pm, August 16 2011