7 years’ jail for killing cou­ple

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY JEN­NIFER LIP­MAN

A DRUNK driver has been jailed for seven years for killing a mar­ried cou­ple from Northwood when he lost con­trol of the car and swerved on to the pave­ment.

Alan Bernard, 53, and his 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: “It should have been a happy day. [The Bernards] were mind­ing their own busi­ness, walk­ing home from din­ner, on the pave­ment with their arms linked.

“There was no need[for Knowles] 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 WEEK, all 89-year-old Aaron Biber had in his bar­ber’s shop were some trea­sured 40-year-old ra­zors and combs, piles of news­pa­pers, two vintage bar­ber’s chairs and cas­sette tapes of his favourite wartime songs.

His quiet rou­tine was shat­tered, first by the vi­o­lent ri­ots on Tot­ten­ham High Street, then by a me­dia frenzy sur­round­ing his bat­tered shop, and then by a bar­rage of well-wish­ers, send­ing cheques and fan mail, who raised £35,000 as part of a cam­paign to “Keep Aaron Cut­ting”.

The bro­ken win­dow, door and stolen ket­tle which was the to­tal dam­age done by the ri­ot­ers, cost unin­sured Mr Biber, around £400. But his plight cap­tured the pub­lic’s imag­i­na­tion.

Al­though he once owned a large sa­lon close to Stam­ford Hill, Mr Biber, a mem­ber of Waltham For­est He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion, said he now did next to no trade, claim­ing he came back to work ev­ery day “for the con­ver­sa­tion,” to keep him busy af­ter his wife Dorothy died a year ago. Last week he made the front page of the JC, ap­peared in al­most all the na­tional news­pa­pers, and did a BBC Lon­don in­ter­view.

“Even yes­ter­day I threw two jour­nal­ists out,” he said. “Two from Rus­sia, I’ve had them from Aus­tralia, the Czech Repub­lic, one from Amer­ica. It’s a joke. I want a quiet life. I was mar­ried for 70 years, I don’t want any money, I want my wife back. She was a dar­ling.”

This week even Spurs foot­baller Peter Crouch dropped in for a hair­cut.

Mr Biber said: “I’ve been over­whelmed, I can’t be­lieve it. But I don’t want just to give it away, I want to keep it for peo­ple who are re­ally in trou­ble.”

The ap­peal closed at the week­end. Or­gan­is­ers said they would be work­ing with the lo­cal coun­cil, Mr Biber and his nephew Ed­die Biber, to dis­trib­ute funds to help other busi­nesses and res­i­dents around the bar­ber’s shop.

Bar­ber Aaron Biber and his favourite read­ing ma­te­rial

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