Rabbi injured two while helping woman park car in Golders Green
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Rabbi injured two while helping woman park car in Golders Green

Court hears how Ralph Berisch accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake, leading to his car flying into the window of a pharmacy before hitting two pedestrians

A rabbi who was trying to help a woman park her car seriously injured two pedestrians because he hit the accelerator rather than the brake, a court has heard.

Ralph Berisch, 75, offered to help a woman he knew park her Jaguar on 28 March 2018 but said he got the pedals mixed up as the car mounted the pavement in Golders Green.

It quickly reached 20 mph in speed before flying into the window of a pharmacy, but not before mowing down victims David Richards and Simon Elkouby. Richards is a kosher butcher who was returning from his child’s nursery at the time.

The judge at Harrow Crown Court was shown CCTV of the horrific incident, with 79-year old Elkouby, who walks with a stick, unable to get out of the way. Richards, 44, was hit from behind after hearing “loud revving noises” and suffered 13 leg fractures.

Berisch, whose trial continues, denies causing serious injury by dangerous driving, telling the court: “I put the car in drive, I don’t know what happened. It took off, I couldn’t control it.”

Richards said: “I thought I was going to die and at the last second it swerved into a pharmacy. I realised my leg was broken and everything was blurry. I know the rabbi behind the wheel. He is a good man it was one hundred per cent and accident and he will be suffering. It has affected my life, but I’m happy to be alive.”

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