• Wed. Sep 21st, 2022

London woman who faked death: To dodge prosecution for prison driving offenses

ByElla E. Kidwell

Mar 2, 2022

A woman who faked her own death to dodge prosecution for driving offenses has been jailed for eight months.

Zoe Bernard, 38, was already banned from driving when she was arrested for reckless driving and failing to stop in Kilburn, north London, in November 2020.

She posed as her sister Shanice in phone calls to police between December 15, 2020 and January 27, 2021.

In an attempt to trick them, Bernard told the police that “Zoe” was sick and later died.

She then applied for a death certificate at Westminster Register Office to bolster her claim, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Judge Martin Beddoe has jailed Bernard, of Kensington, west London, for eight months, half of which she will serve after previously pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.

“This offense was clearly the result of some degree of thought and planning on your part,” Judge Beddoe said on Wednesday.

“I am fully convinced that it was an effort on your part to mislead the police.

“You already had a terrible driving record and you knew full well what a mess you were in.

“You have undertaken to pervert the course of justice.

“You tried to convince the police that you were dying and that you were dead. To reinforce this lie, you tried to get a death certificate.

The court heard Bernard had a string of previous convictions and was jailed in October 2019 for drunk driving and driving with disqualification.

When she was arrested by the police in November 2020, she gave her name as Kyesha Bernard, then during the investigation, “Shanice” called the police claiming that “Zoe” had been sick and then died .

An online request was made for a death certificate but it was not issued as no deaths were on the register.

Prosecutor Gregor McKinley said: “This is our case, the defendant was contacting the police posing as his sister and making this request to the registry office.”

Bernard was taken to the Criminal Court in December last year and imposed a six-month curfew after being found guilty of driving without insurance, failing to stop, driving with disqualification and reckless driving.

His lawyer Margo Munro Kerr said his client had physical and mental health issues and suffered a series of tragedies, including the loss of his uncle and eldest daughter in the Grenfell Tower fire.

“These are the actions of a very sick person in a way that is going to hurt themselves more than anyone else,” she said.

“It’s such a weird way to act. It was so obvious that the police would find out it was a lie. It wasn’t rational.”