December 11 2013 Latest news:
By STEVE DOWNES
Friday, December 21, 2012
A tragic Cromer couple were driven away for a joint burial this afternoon following a solemn funeral held in the wake of their double shotgun death.
More than 600 people packed into Cromer Parish Church for the thanksgiving service for the lives of Keith and Andrea Johnson.
The couple died on December 2, when Mr Johnson, 58, is believed to have shot his 44-year-old wife on their neighbour’s driveway at Compit Hills, near Cromer, before turning the gun on himself.
The sombre service was briefly held up when Mr Johnson’s brother Trevor was taken ill with chest pains. An ambulance eventually arrived to take him to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Earlier, a single bell tolled in Cromer town centre at lunchtime and a smattering of pre-Christmas shoppers stopped in their tracks as the cortege of two hearses and two cars edged slowly through the streets, behind funeral director and friend of the couple Les Amis.
The coffins - first Andrea, then Keith - were carried through the front door of the parish church where the couple were married on May 1 2004.
Mr Johnson was the leader of North Norfolk District Council and a member of Cromer Town Council for 28 years - including seven as mayor.
Mourners turning up for the funeral included representatives of local councils, including the chairman of NNDC Peter Moore, along with a cross section of the local community from carnival organisers to lifeboatmen.
The service was taken by the vicar of Cromer the Rev Canon Dr David Court, who also conducted their wedding. Beforehand he said local people were still shocked and struggling to come to terms with the deaths.
Dr Court was supported by the Rev Simon Lawrence, vicar of Sutton Parish Church, where Mrs Johnson’s parents John and Janice are members.
Dr Court remembered Andrea as full of life, bubbly and vibrant, while Keith was gentle and calm, while they were both well dressed and enjoyed their roles in the community.
Dr Court was also impressed by the way the families’ wish to have a joint funeral when it would have been “so easy to let bitterness take hold”.
Mr and Mrs Chadwick, who live near Stalham, said they had “no animosity” towards their son-in-law after the “spur of the moment” incident.