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'Disbelief' over couple shot dead

Neighbours and colleagues of a council leader and his wife found shot dead outside their home have spoken of their shock and disbelief.

North Norfolk District Council leader Keith Johnson, 58, and his wife Andrea, 44, were found dead outside their bungalow in a village at 2.50pm on Sunday.

Police were called to the property in Compit Hills, Roughton, near Cromer, after reports of gunshots. It is believed Mr Johnson shot his wife before turning the gun on himself.

Members and staff at the council gathered at the authority's Cromer headquarters where deputy leader Tom FitzPatrick read a brief statement.

He said: "I am sure that councillors and officers alike will share the deep sense of loss that I and the rest of the cabinet feel at this terrible news and will join me in sending our condolences to the families of Keith and Andrea. In the circumstances I am sure that you will all understand that I have decided to postpone the formal business of cabinet this morning as a mark of respect to a great friend and colleague."

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said he knew the couple well and was "deeply shocked" by the news. He added: "I've known Keith for some years through his work on the council, we've always been on very good terms despite the fact I'm Lib Dem and he was a Conservative.

"I didn't know Andrea beyond seeing them both at civic events but she was always good for a friendly chat. I share the community's sense of disbelief and my heart goes out to all of their family and friends."

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Guy said that four shotguns belonging to Mrs Johnson were registered to the address. It appears that one of these was used by Mr Johnson in the incident. Mrs Johnson was found in a neighbour's garden while Mr Johnson was found outside their bungalow.

The shootings happened outside the house and there was a gap of a few minutes between Mrs Johnson being shot and Mr Johnson's death.

Mr Guy said: "We are working through a number of lines of inquiry and, as yet, we have not spoken to anybody who witnessed the incident itself. It is not clear what the motive was but neither Mr or Mrs Johnson had any previous contact with the police. If anybody has any information about the incident itself or any possible reason for it, we would urge them to come forward."


From Belfast Telegraph