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Editor’s eye view on the Cromer double death

12:00 04 December 2012

EDP community editor in north Norfolk  Richard Batson. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

EDP community editor in north Norfolk Richard Batson. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

The mood was as chill as the wintry streets of Cromer as it came to terms with a violent double killing in one of its quiet suburban estates.

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Cheery Christmas trees and lights adorn the town centre as it gears up for the festive season, but the deaths on the outskirts have cast a cloud over the community.

The brutal end for high-profile councillor Keith Johnson and his vivacious wife Andrea left the town stunned and locals shrugging their shoulders as they stopped to chat. People were looking for answers on whatever could have happened to curtail two popular local lives so abruptly. The police statement in the afternoon shed some light on the sequence of events but still did not explain... why?

Those who have met the couple at public and social occasions found them entertaining company.

Just last Wednesday night my wife and I had a long chat with Keith and Andrea at the preview night of the new North Walsham Waitrose supermarket. We discussed American holidays, comparing experiences of San Francisco and Las Vegas. She was wearing an electric blue dress and carrying her high heels, and showed us the Tiffany’s wedding ring Keith bought her in New York as a romantic surprise, and she said she wanted to go back there for an eternity ring.

Mr Johnson sat in the EDP’s office earlier in the day, briefing me about North Norfolk District Council’s bid to give away an unwanted annexe to a community group. He was his usual affable, helpful, open self – qualities that endeared him to those who “did business” with him as a council official, councillor, and football administrator. He seemed a man equally at home talking to people on the touchline of a park football game, as mingling with the well-heeled hunting set.

Early Friday afternoon he happily posed for his picture at the annexe site – the last the EDP would ever take of a man who has regularly appeared in our news and sport pages. Less than 48 hours later he and his wife lay dead.

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