David Crome: Suffolk solicitor and judge stood for Parliament

Solicitor and Norwich Crown Court Recorder David Crome, who has died peacefully at his Beccles home aged 73, enjoyed a judicial appointment of a life time – two years in the Solomon Islands.

On impulse, the former Lowestoft solicitor applied for a post in Fiji in late 1980. Then to his surprise, he was asked to become principal judicial officer for the Solomon Islands in the western Pacific.

During his sabbatical from his then Lowestoft firm, he had to learn to speak 'pidgin English,' which was then spoken in some of the more remote islands.

Joined later on the 'great adventure' by his wife, it was also shared by his teenage daughters during the school holidays.

But there were some drawbacks, not least the torrential rainfall.

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In Gizo, it averaged 330 inches, mostly between December and March when it sometimes rained for days. In contrast in Lowestoft it averaged 26 inches.

And once after a two-day trial, held in the open, he had to return in a canoe, with the prosecutor, court clerk and convicted prisoner!

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David Robert Crome, who specialised in licensing, criminal and commercial work, moved to Lowestoft in 1960 after working in Norwich and London. He joined a local firm, partly because his parents were living nearby.

A lay preacher, initially with Gunton Baptist Church, he became founder chairman of Oulton Broad Liberal Association in 1965.

He stood twice as a Liberal candidate for the 1966 and 1970 general elections, polling 4,513 and 4,737 votes and losing his deposits.

He joined the Conservatives in April 1977, partly in protest at the conduct of the then Liberal leader, Jeremy Thorpe.

In July 1990, he retired from private practice and was appointed chairman of the Industrial Tribunals for the Eastern Region, which involved presiding over hearings of cases involving unfair dismissal, sex and racial discrimination and also hearing health and safety appeals. He also sat as an assistant recorder in crown and county courts on the South East Circuit.

Always passionate about music, he was a keen member of Beccles Choral Society and also performed with the Blythburgh Musical Society and earlier with the Lowestoft Musical Society.

He was a lay preacher for many years but his other great loves included cars.

And he had just overseen the restoration of an E-type Jaguar, the latest in a series of classics, but another task had to remain unfinished, completion of a model railway.

He married Sandra in 1963 and they have three daughters, Ruth, Helen and Wendy, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A thanksgiving service will be held on Tuesday, November 15 at 1pm at Beccles Baptist Church.

Michael Pollitt

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