A new man has become acting leader of the Conservatives on North Norfolk District Council in the wake of the death of Keith Johnson and his wife Andrea.

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Mr Johnson’s deputy Tom FitzPatrick agreed to take on the role today after a hastily-convened meeting of the ruling Conservative group.

He said: “It was with great sadness that we received the news of the deaths of Keith and Andrea Johnson.

“Keith was a conscientious colleague, committed public servant and, above all, a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and all those who knew and loved them.

“I have met with my fellow Conservative councillors this afternoon and we have agreed that, as Keith’s deputy, I should become acting group leader while we are all allowed time to grieve and to consider the future. Keith and Andrea were wonderful people and we shall remember them always with affection.”

Mr FitzPatrick will be proposed as the new council leader at full council on December 19.

Mr and Mrs Johnson, aged 58 and 44, were found dead yesterday with gunshots wounds close to their home at Compit Hills, Cromer.

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