Tory councillor ‘shoots dead his cancer sufferer wife before blasting himself in muder suicide horror’

December 3, 2012 | by | 0 Comments
Tory councillor Keith Johnson, who is thought to have shot dead his wife then killed himself

Tory councillor Keith Johnson, who is thought to have shot dead his wife then killed himself

A respected Tory councillor is thought to have shot dead his cancer battle wife before turning the weapon on himself in a murder-suicide horror at their quiet bungalow.

Police were called to the sleepy Compit Hills estate in Roughton, near Cromer, Norfolk on Sunday afternoon after neighbours heard shots.

They found the body of Andrea Johnson, 44, lying in her front garden and that of her husband Keith, 58, in a nearby back garden. Both had suffered gunshot wounds.

An air ambulance and ambulance raced to the scene but were unable to save the couple and.

Police today said they were not looking for anybody else in connection with the incident.

Officers were investigating fears former leader of North Norfolk District Council Mr Johnson gunned down his wife then turned the weapon on himself.

The rural community was still stunned double death left, which came only a year after Mrs Johnson beat cancer of the spine.

Close neighbour Hilda Reardon, 72, said she thought Mrs Johnson had gone on a celebration cruise with her husband this year after conquering the illness.

She told SWNS: “Andrea was very ill until fairly recently, I think she was suffering with cancer, she was practically house bound for almost two years and people didn’t think she would pull through.

“Her parents would often visit in that time – she was incredibly poorly.

Police stand guard outside the bungalow in Cromer, Norfolk where Keith Johnson is thought to have shot dead his wife and himself

Police stand guard outside the bungalow in Cromer, Norfolk where Keith Johnson is thought to have shot dead his wife and himself

 

“Keith was always very supportive of her, you could see how desperate he was for her to get better.

“Then finally in the last year or so, I forget when exactly, her health took a turn for the better and they both went on a cruise to celebrate.

“They seemed very happy and very much in love, I never heard them argue. What ever has happened is truly tragic. I am completely in shocked.”

The neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I think it was some sort of cancer of the spine Andrea was suffering from.”

Neighbours also reported unusually erratic behaviour from Cllr Johnson during his regular Saturday morning paper round.

The former councillor was seen making his deliveries in shorts despite the sub-zero temperatures outside.

Jean Cheesman, 72, who lived in the house behind the Johnsons, said Keith had been a “little out of sorts.”

Mr Johnson's black Porsche remains parked on the couple's front garden as police investigate the deaths

Mr Johnson’s black Porsche remains parked on the couple’s front garden as police investigate the deaths

A police officer stands in the back garden of the couple's home, where Mr Johnson's body was found

A police officer stands in the back garden of the couple’s home, where Mr Johnson’s body was found

 

She said: “He delivered me my paper most days and we would always have a little bit of chit-chat on the door step, pulling each others legs.

“On saturday he turned up on my door with the news paper and he was wearing shorts and I said to him it’s too cold for shorts this time of year, we don’t want you to get poorly.

“I thought it was a little out of character given the temperature outside, and I wondered if he was a little out of sorts.

“He said another woman had said the same thing, smiled and went about his business.

“The next thing I knew the helicopter was landing behind my house and police were every where – its terrible.”

Another neighbour said Cllr Johnson had seemed “unusually down” when he spoke to him.

He said: “When I spoke to him he seemed down. He was usually a really chatty lively sort of person, but he wasn’t like that.”

Police were called to the couple’s £230,000 bungalow in the quiet Compit Hills housing estate in Roughton, near Cromer, Norfolk, on Sunday after reports of gun shots.

The two neighbouring bungalows adjacent to the house home were immediately sealed off with crime scene tape.

Homeowners were stopped from entering the area while forensic teams scoured the scene but were later allowed back to their homes.

The deaths came just hours after communitarian Cllr Johnson helped launch the local Christmas market he helped organise.

On Friday the jovial former mayor was seen at the opening of a new Waitrose supermarket in the town.

The couple, who married in 2004 after 18 years together, were said to enjoy a lively lifestyle despite Mrs Johnson’s recent illness.

Neighbours said the pair could often be heard enjoying hot tub parties with friends in their garden.

They also regularly holidayed with pals and are understood to have visited the Canary Islands earlier this year.

Mrs Johnson’s Porsche Boxster was still parked on the couple’s front lawn next to Mr Johnson’s Mercedes E220 on the driveway.

Norfolk police said both deaths were thought to have died from gunshot wounds although post-mortem examinations were under way and formal identification would follow.

Detective Superintendent Peter Hornby from Norfolk Police said: “Whilst I understand this is a very shocking incident for the neighbours of the two people involved, I can reassure them that, at this stage, we are not looking for anyone else in connection with it.”

The double death sent shock waves through the town today with friends describing the couple as “prominent and much loved figures” in the community.

One woman, who lives close to the couple, said: “We cannot believe it. It’s so quiet up here. If you thought of any place where this sort of thing would happen, it certainly wouldn’t be here.

“The average age here is very high. I only walked past their house with my daughter about 15 minutes before it all happened.

“It’s so terribly sad.”

Mr Johnson was a Conservative councillor for North Norfolk District Council, former Mayor of Cromer and a familiar face in the local area.

Cllr Johnson was born in Sheringham and attended Sheringham Primary School then Paston Grammar School.

He began his career in local government with Sheringham Urban District Council on 23 October 1972 and continued with North Norfolk District Council and NORSE until his retirement on 24 June 2011 after 39 years service to the public.

He was been a member of Cromer Town Council for 29 years serving as mayor between 1997 and 2004.

He was also a member of Cromer Sports Hall Management Committee, the Civil Parking Enforcement Committee, North Walsham CAB Management Committee, and the Strategic Housing Board.

Cllr Johnson was a football referee for many years and highlights included officiating at the Womens FA Cup Final and refereeing at Carrow Road.

In 1998 he was appointed secretary to the Anglian Combination Football League which provides senior football throughout Norfolk and North Suffolk.

Mrs Johnson worked as a sales assistant at Homebase in Cromer, where staff said they were unable to pay personal tributes

A spokeswoman for the DIY chain said: “It is with great sadness that we heard of our colleague Andrea’s untimely death over the weekend.

“She was a hugely valued member of the Homebase team and will be greatly missed by her colleagues. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”

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