Johnathan Knowles, a 33 year old property developer and son of a property tycoon, was sentenced to seven years in prison as a result of a fatal car crash on September 11 last year.
Knowles has been drinking and taking anti-depressant pills that day, in reaction to going bankrupt the previous day. Starting at Cafe Shore, he then heading to a restaurant in north west London, where he continued to drink.
Also dinning at the establishment was couple Alan Bernard, 53 and his wife Rochelle, 51, accompanied by their friend Penny Michalowski. The three were walking home when Knowles, who stumbled out of the restaurant and into his mother’s Mercedes CLK350, hit them at an estimated 60mph, killing the couple, and injuring Michalowski.
Prosecuter Carolyn Branford-Wood described the incident to the court : “Witnesses heard tires squealing and the car was going ‘snakey’ from side to side”. A witness says he saw “what looked like an explosion of glass” upon impact. Alan Bernard had a severed left leg and was face down on the street, while Rochelle Bernard was found in garden, a few mintues later. Friend Penny Michalowski survived, but her left heel was severely injured.
Knowles’ defense lawyer Ronald Jaffa says he suffers from a mental condition. Still, Judge Samuel Wiggs advised the defendant that “There was no need to get into the car. You must have known you had drunk too much to drive. You were seen weaving and driving as if you were warming up your tires like a Formula 1 driver.”
The Bernards are survived by two sons, Robert and Jamie, and a daughter Natasha, whom was with the couple earlier that evening, ranging in age from 17 to 27.
John Knolwes plead guilty to one charge of grievous bodily harm, failing to provide a breath sample, and two charges of causing death by dangerous driving. Sentenced to seven years, he also has his driving privileges revoked.
– By: Alexandra Koken