Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Read the Words and Blame the Victim!

O.J. Simpson is selling a videotape that he claims reveals "his side" of his murder case - and it's sparking a storm of controversy around America.

Simpson's pushing the tape for $29.95. But here for ENQUIRER readers are key word-for-word excerpts from what O.J. has to say on the tape - and an analysis of evidence that refutes his claims.

Questioned by interviewer Ross Becker at O.J.'s Rockingham home, the convicted wife-beater actually denies that Nicole Simpson was terrified when she made the now famous 911 call in 1993 - after O.J. broke down her door. The former football great even claims HE was the battered spouse.

O.J.: "That is a problem that when I am free to speak, I plan to speak to women's groups. Battery is just not a one-way street. I think it is more an attitude than anything. Just because it doesn't hurt when someone hits you, when someone slaps you in front of people, it is abusive to you - all that constitutes battery."

This is a "ridiculous" comment frequently made by abusers, said Dr. Lynn M. Appleton, associate professor of sociology at Florida Atlantic University and an expert on domestic violence.

"It distorts the reality of violence between men and women in a very serious way. In our culture men learn how to be violent.
"Batterers generally believe that the victim had it coming. That is what O.J. is doing - it's very common behaviour to blame the battering on the battered person."

O.J., staring straight into the camera, also states: "Go to all the people who ever lived with Nicole and I. Go to all her friends. Go to Nicole's words."

All right, let's go to Nicole's words, O.J.

In her secret diary - revealed in The ENQUIRER last October, Nicole catalogs numerous incidents of abuse at the hands of Simpson, writing:
"Beat me so bad...  Smashed my car w/ Baseball bat... Ripped all clothes off me... Called Mother Whore hit me while F----- me... Beat me on bed kept hitting me until police came... threw me against wall threw me on floor..."

The National Enquirer
March 5 1996

Nicole Brown Simpson... The Story Continues!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Blame the Victim! The Story of Nicole Brown Simpson Continues...

A tormented Nicole Brown poured her heart out to O.J. Simpson in a series of secret love letters that STAR is revealing for the first time.
In the haunting collection, written in the years between the couple's 1992 divorce and her murder last year, Nicole tells the man who abused and beat her that "I know nobody will ever love me the way that you do."

"Nicole wrote them as a form of therapy for herself," a source tells STAR. "She was trying to work through her feelings - good and bad - for O.J., and she just needed to put some things down on paper."

But counseling experts said Nicole's heartbreaking attempts to rationalize the abuse - and even convince Simpson that many of their problems were her fault - were classic signs of the battered woman syndrome.

In one of the poignant letters - found by her sister Dominique when she was clearing out Nicole's belongings from her Bundy Drive home - Nicole even tells Simpson that she likes it when he loses his temper and explodes in rage.

"I know that we have had our fights, our tough and rocky times," she writes, according to the source who saw the letters. "But I have to be honest and admit that it's a turn-on when you get angry, because it shows how much you care about me."

Joy Brown, a top clinical psychologist who hosts a daily radio advice show, says Nicole's reaction to Simpson's abuse is typical of battered women. "Both parties blame the victim," Brown says.

"She says to herself: 'No one has ever treated me this way before, so it must be me. I must be doing something that irritates him,' So she has identified with the aggressor.

"Oddly enough, that's not an uncommon phenomenon for a woman to identify with her abuser.
"He says: 'You make me do this. It's your fault. It's because I love you so much.' Because a woman wants so much to hear that the man loves her, she often accepts this.

"She winds up saying she's sorry for all the pain she's caused him. Yet he's the one causing her pain," Brown adds.

She says a surprising number of women put up with this kind of treatment. "Women want very much to be loved and we think the violence is just an  aberration. The contrast between what the man seems like when he hits us and what he's like the next day is really dramatic!

"It's usually kind of an obsessive relationship to begin with, an intense, intimate relationship. He says: 'I can't live without you, I want to be with you all the time. I can't bear to see you around anybody else.' It's very flattering, very seductive. In the beginning, it sounds really cool.

"And even when the man starts becoming a little violent, the woman makes a trade-off in her own mind. She tells herself he's being possessive because he loves her so much."

"And very often, the first time the man hits the woman, he is so remorseful, with promises it will never happen again. This is often followed by a long spell of being particularly attentive and loving. She gets soothed into thinking this will never happen again. And, of course, if it happens once, it will certainly happen again.

"They are really so apologetic. And because she really cares about the guy and he seems to be offering so much, the victim can really get sucked in."

Star Magazine
November 7 1995

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Nicole Brown Simpson's Impossible Dream...

Despite all of Nicole Simpson's suffering, she still hoped to transform O.J. into a kind and loving man - and that's the impossible dream of every battered woman, reveal experts.

After reading Nicole's heart-wrenching diary, respected Los Angeles attorney Melanie Lomax - who's counseled hundreds of battered women - told the ENQUIRER:

"Where her optimism came from, I don't know.
"Given the terror and brutality, I find it difficult to understand why she decided to marry him.
"Nicole talks about O.J. striking her while they're having sex, smashing her car windshield with a baseball bat, throwing her out of the house and chasing and beating her until the police came..."

"But Nicole hoped to turn O.J. around. She saw herself as good for him."

Nicole wrote about behavior that's found in most abusive relationships - including substance abuse, threats and attacks followed by promises that "it won't happen again," noted Lomax.

It's obvious that O.J. still hasn't changed, say experts.
His recent offer to meet with battered women infuriated Tammy Bruce, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women.

"He's not talking about getting therapy. He's not talking about talking to other men who batter," said Bruce.

"He's always been able to go the woman he battered and charm and win her back. Now that she (Nicole) is dead, he wants to go to others. It is classic batterer behavior."

The National Enquirer
October 31 1995

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Poignant Legacy of Nicole Brown Simpson's Diary...

Nicole Simpson seemed to have it all - beauty, wealth, a famous husband and great children. 
But beneath the glamor was an ugly secret: She suffered the same anguish, despair and fear felt by other abused wives across the nation every day.

After reading the diary, respected Los Angeles attorney Melanie Lomax was near tears. Lomax, who's counseled hundreds of battered women, told The ENQUIRER:

"These entries are tragic and moving. They show Nicole felt trapped in this horribly abusive relationship - but kept hoping that somehow, some way, she'd be able to change O.J. She had a rescuer's complex.
"This is a common characteristic of battered women. And there are many others in the diary.

"For example Nicole tried desperately to be perfect because that's what O.J. demanded. He wanted a Barbie Doll who always had her hair combed right, never left her shoes around and didn't even gain weight when she was pregnant!

It made me take a look at my life with you - my wonderful life with the Superstar, that wonderful man O.J. Simpson, the father of my kids - that husband of that terribly insecure girl - the girl with no self esteem or self worth - she must be all those things to with a guy like that. And certainly no one would be envious of that life...
Nicole Brown Simpson

"It's significant that Nicole talks of losing her self-esteem, or how her confidence was destroyed by O.J. when she didn't become the model of perfection he wanted.

"But hope springs eternal. Nicole kept thinking about the great times in between the abuse. She wanted to keep the marriage together for the sake of their children."

The National Enquirer
October 25 1995

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The National Enquirer and the Story of Nicole Brown Simpson...

Like the Anita Hill testimony and the trials of William Kennedy Smith, Mike Tyson, Lorena Bobbitt, the Menendez brothers and Susan Smith, the Simpson trial had become another national battle-by-proxy for unresolved social conflicts: racial and sexual injustice; the meaning of rape, sexual harassment, child abuse and domestic violence; and the moral questions raised by victimization, victim hood, bystander denial and public accountability.

For more than a year, images from the courtroom aroused denial and obsession. In trailers, apartments and houses across the country, Enquiring minds--most of them female, few of them wealthy and 20% of them African American--wanted to know; so did readers of the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times--most of them white and middle-class, and a slim majority of them male.

It was a trial that raised uncomfortable questions about class, sex and race--questions the mainstream press often seemed too embarrassed to acknowledge, much less answer. In a county so broke that it almost had to close some of its public health clinics, the case asked about the justice money can buy. In a landscape where people feel anonymous and neighbor-less, it murmured about the insulating power of being well-known. 

At a time when every shared assumption between men and women is up for renegotiation, it was about a marriage in which a rich black daddy paid the bills and a white mommy stayed home and got hit.

To cover such a story, idols had to be pulled from pedestals. Reporters were forced to enter a world where the line between public and private life blurred, the social face revealed its intimate shadow, sex was involved and male-on-female violence lay at the heart of the matter. It was the landscape where the National Enquirer functions best.

Reporters at the tabloid never felt the Simpson story, the one that began long before the double murders, was too trashy to cover. Last year, when Enquirer reporters got to the townhouse on South Bundy shortly after coroners' deputies, they were already armed with sources and leads: In 1989, O.J. Simpson's conviction for wife-beating had barely rated a mention in most newspapers, but the Enquirer, ever mindful of its 67% female readership, gave it a full page: O.J. Simpson Charged With Wife-Beating--the Shocking Details!

When the Simpsons divorced two years later, Enquirer reporters read the court filings. By 1993, their articles make it clear that they were wired into a network of "insiders" among the Simpsons' friends, and they covered the couple's brief reconciliation. 

If other newspapers had taken the Simpsons' violent marriage as seriously as the Enquirer did, said Dr. Joyce Brothers in one story, Nicole Brown Simpson might well be alive today.

After the killings, the Enquirer wasted no time running stories about O.J.'s athletic career or quotes from bewildered business associates who'd never seen him angry. Its first eight-page spread had details as accurate and seemingly trivial as Nicole's trip out for ice cream the night of her murder and as telling as her statements that she was battered and feared that O.J. was stalking her and would kill her. 

"Nobody exists in a vacuum," says Perel. "Whatever you do, somebody knows about it. And yes, we will pay for interesting, correct information."

Within a month of the slayings, the Enquirer reported that not only had Simpson bought a knife, he had also been trained--for a now-shelved NBC-TV drama called "Frogmen"--to slit a human throat and muffle screams. Its reporters found Nicole's housekeeper before police did and paid her $18,000 for an interview. (She said that Simpson, after terrifying and hurting his former wife, would sometimes send her flowers.)

In November, 1994, months ahead of any other news organization and after DNA tests were completed, the Enquirer accurately reported that blood found in Simpson's white Bronco was a match with Ron Goldman's and Nicole Brown Simpson's. Later, it printed photographs of Simpson wearing a tight pair of gloves similar to the now-famous Aris Lights.

All through the year, I read the Enquirer's stories in the checkout line. Some were ridiculous--photographs of prosecutor Marcia Clark sunbathing on a St.-Tropez beach--many others were unabashedly pro-woman and pro-victim. 

One story quoted members of Nicole's therapy group who said a "nightmare therapist" had told Nicole that her body language made O.J. want to hit her; its reporters got psychologists to talk about why athletes seem prone to domestic violence, and published advice for battered women.

Single issues like Nicole's Secret Life occasionally boosted circulation above its average of 3.3 million, but even the biggest Simpson blockbusters never brought the Enquirer close to the 6 million in sales achieved by the 1977 issue that featured a photo of Elvis in his coffin. Nevertheless, the stories brought unheard-of attention from the mainstream press. 

Last December, New York Times reporter David Margolick--a graduate of Stanford University Law School who had covered the William Kennedy Smith and Lorena Bobbitt trials--paid the Enquirer the ultimate compliment by citing its astonishing report that a jail guard had overheard O.J. Simpson blurt out, "I did it!" to minister and former football player Roosevelt Grier.

"It was from a source that had proven itself reliable in the Simpson case, and I'd be doing my readers a disservice if I didn't mention it," Margolick told themedia critic for the Washington Post. "We can all pretend this publication doesn't exist and isn't beating us, but that's not doing anybody any favors."

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Violence of the Worst Order!

Shortly before sundown on the October day O.J. Simpson was acquitted, David Perel, senior editor of the National Enquirer, walked out of the tabloid's headquarters in Lantana, Fla., and went home for Yom Kippur.

He stayed home the next day for the traditional period of reflection and atonement--his first quiet day since the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman: He spent hours lying face down on his bed thinking about a woman who would not see her children grow up.

He thought about racial division in the country. By evening, he had lapsed into a state of sadness and mental and physical exhaustion. The Enquirer's special collector's trial issue was on its way to the printer. Cops Fear Goldman's Dad Will Kill O.J. 14 pages of Great Stories and Photos
The story was over, or so it seemed.

When Perel staggered back to work that Thursday, reporter Alan Butterfield, who had been trying for months to procure Nicole Brown Simpson's diaries, told him he might be able to get them after all. By Sunday, through means Perel won't discuss but that may have involved large sums of money, Butterfield did just that. Perel took them home and showed them to his wife. She began reading them and halfway through burst into tears. 

On Monday, Perel and Butterfield put together a five-page section of excerpts. The research department checked the facts, the rewrite desk did its work and the libel lawyer who often flies in from Washington, D.C., went through the issue with a fine-tooth comb.

The following day, the text and photographs were bouncing off satellites to printing presses in New York, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Texas and Northern California. And Nicole Brown Simpson's deer-in-the-headlights eyes once again stared from the racks of 250,000 checkout counters. The edition made its way, mostly in women's hands, into more than 3 million homes.

O.J. beat the holy hell out of me and we lied at the X-ray lab Diary Reveals: Gun-Wielding O.J. Told Nicole to Abort Justin. Inside the mind of a battered, tortured woman.

 Radio stations that a year ago would never have deigned to mention the tabloid's name read from the diaries verbatim. Newspapers cited them. "Anyone would be proud to run this," said Perel at the time. "This is not 'domestic discord.' This is violence of the worst order. It puts a lot of things in context, and it's selling through the roof."

If the O.J. story ever dies, it won't be the National Enquirer that drives the stake through its heart. After a trial that had sullied almost everyone associated with it, the Enquirer's reputation was still being enhanced. In the 16 months between the discovery of the bodies on South Bundy and the acquittal, it had broken enough O.J. stories to be cited by the New York Times for "aggressiveness and accuracy." 

The Columbia Journalism Review had called Perel and his boss, Executive Editor Steve Coz, "the Woodward and Bernstein of tabloid journalism."

Trial reporters at America's leading newspapers had ordered subscriptions or hidden copies in their grocery bags and read them secretly at home. It had been featured on "Nightline" and in Time magazine. It had gained thousands of new readers. And I was one of them.

I have been a newspaper reporter for more than 16 years and, until the trial began, I thought of the Enquirer as an impeccable source for news of space-alien abductions and Liz Taylor's latest surgery. My mind changed in August, 1994, when I picked up Nicole's Secret Life and read the first perceptive analysis I'd seen of her life of violence and intimidation.

It was a time when many journalists were still using the lukewarm phrase domestic discord or avoiding the subject altogether. Not the Enquirer. 
Amid erotic photographs of Nicole Brown Simpson wrapped in a silver fox coat, the Enquirer reported that during their marriage, O.J. Simpson had beaten Nicole and locked her overnight in his wine cellar. He had also paid her sister's college tuition, employed her father at a Hertz franchise and hired her cousin and his wife as his gardener and housekeeper.

"The bottom line," wrote Julia Coates-Dozier Why Nicole Couldn't Get Away From O.J  "is that Nicole suffered in silence for years as O.J.'s punching bag because her family was tied to her husband's purse strings."

I wanted to know why the Enquirer was running stories I wanted to read. I wanted to know how it managed to cover a story of gender conflict and sexual crime for a mostly female readership while beating the pants off the mainstream press.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Remembering Nicole Brown Simpson...

Nicole's own death at 35 was "almost a release" after she'd suffered for years at the hands of a husband who treated her like dirt, a family insider told The ENQUIRER.

"She called the police not just eight times, as has been reported - she actually called them 30 times!"
"O.J. also trashed their house twice during violent rages - causing thousands of dollars in damages. He smashed picture frames, overturned furniture and punched holes in the walls."

During one of those terrifying explosions, the muscular former football star "blacked both of Nicole's eyes and threatened to break her arms," a friend of the blonde beauty told The ENQUIRER.

One of O.J.'s cruelest tactics was to break Nicole's will by holding her prisoner at their $3.2 million mansion in the exclusive Brentwood section, the family insider disclosed. 

"On some occasions he shoved her into the wine cellar and locked the solid door. She'd sit there, huddled in terror; for hours at a time until he'd finally let her out."

Another time O.J. "was so out of control that Nicole had to lock herself in a bathroom and family members had to rescue her," revealed a family friend.

After each violent outburst, O.J. begged his wife for forgiveness and promised he's never touch her again. For the children's sake she always took him back - but he always attacked her again, said the family insider.

"Nicole constantly wore sunglasses and heavy makeup to hide her black eyes from her family and friends. She didn't want to burden them with the suffering she was going through. Like most abused women she clung to the hope that one day O.J. would stop.

"Once she told a friend: 'I'll do anything to keep this family together; but I don't know how much longer I can take the beatings.'"

O.J. was in full control of Nicole's life, said her friend. "If he didn't like what she wearing, she'd change clothes to please him. She confessed to friends that she felt completely overwhelmed and not even her most private thoughts felt like her own.
"She said that even her own words felt strange as they came out of her mouth."

Pals noticed an ominous change in Nicole's personality during her marriage to O.J. Once bubbly and outgoing, she became distant and evasive - leaving pals to suspect that all wasn't well.

"She became known for suddenly canceling dates with girlfriends, and she became a no-show at parties," said her friend.

Nicole wanted to leave O.J., but she had tremendous loyalty to her children. She was obsessed with being a perfect mother and wanted her kids to grow up around their father in a stable home, according to sources.
"Nicole's kids were her life, the center of her existence," said her friend.

The National Enquirer
August 9 1994

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Andrea Johnson... In Memoriam

A respected council leader was a “monster” who hid behind his “precious chain of office” to sexually, physically and mentally abuse his wife - before shooting her dead when she tried to leave him.

That was the verdict of the family of Andrea Johnson at the end of the inquest today into her death and that of her husband Keith on December 2 last year.

The hearing at Thorpe Road in Norwich heard how Mr Johnson, 58, shot his wife with her shotgun at close range on a neighbour’s driveway at Compits Hills near Cromer, before walking into the back garden of their home to shoot himself.

Mr Johnson was the leader of North Norfolk District Council and formerly Cromer’s mayor for seven years. He was also a long-serving Norfolk FA committee member.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong, who recorded a verdict of unlawful killing for Mrs Johnson and suicide for Mr Johnson, said it was a “desperate double tragedy”, and added: “No-one other than Keith is directly to blame for this.”

After the hearing, Mrs Johnson’s parent John and Janice Chadwick from near Stalham, and her sister and brother-in-law Sharon and Kevin Thorpe stood beside victim support officer Rick Munns as he read statements from them and on behalf of Mrs Johnson’s brother, Brian Chadwick, who lives in America.

In December, they had all stood alongside Mr Johnson’s family at a joint funeral for the couple at Cromer Parish Church, having vowed to forgive Mr Johnson his “moment of madness”.

But evidence in a domestic violence homicide report, which lifted the lid on a string of attacks by Mr Johnson on his wife, altered their view of the double death.

Mr and Mrs Chadwick’s statement said: “We, the family of Andrea, are devastated by her tragic death. She was such a beautiful, loving, bubbly character, dearly loved and sadly missed.

“As a family we would like to say thank you to our family liaison / victim support team / local church and community for all their tremendous support and help in the last nine months.

“Also, we would like to say thank you to Gaynor Mears from the Domestic Homicide Review for her in-depth report into the abuse, physical and sexual, that Andrea suffered at the hands of her husband Keith.

“With this report being published we hope others will stand to gain from it and the public will see Keith’s Jekyll and Hyde character which led to Andrea’s murder.

“We feel for Keith’s family, as they are victims too. Finally we want to thank the Coroner, Mr Armstrong, for his handling of the case. Please now respect our family wishes to be left alone to grieve for the loss of Andrea.”

 Brian Chadwick’s statement said: “Andrea was beautiful, intelligent, fun loving and adventurous. Her bubbly personality lit up rooms and warmed hearts. She was my big sister, and I was her “Little Buddy”. She will be remembered to my children and forever missed by all of us.

“I am deeply saddened that Andrea suffered in silence through more than a decade of abuse at the hands of that monster, Keith Johnson — a man who we trusted and let into our lives.

“He was controlling, as well as physically, verbally and sexually abusive and when my sister tried to leave him, he killed her for it. People now know the real man behind his precious chain of office. This is not a man who deserved your respect.

“I’m devastated that I failed to recognise and act upon the signs of abuse and as such, I failed my sister. We British feel that what happens behind closed doors is between a husband and wife and not our place to intervene.

“We just look the other way. As long as this attitude persists, more women will become victims of domestic violence, just like my sister.”

Mr and Mrs Thorpe and their children Zoe, Lauren and Jack’s statement said: “Andrea, our darling big sister/Aunty Andy, how missed you are.

“You were subjected to over a decade of long term systematic physical/mental and sexual abuse. We wish we had known that you were suffering so we could have helped you.

“You were such a happy, bubbly, beautiful, but sadly vulnerable woman who was let down by bad medical practise and some so-called friends, people who should have known better.

“We need to acknowledge that just because you hold a position of power in public doesn't mean you are trustworthy and a genuinely nice person. Keith Johnson, the face of Cromer, was nothing more than a monster. The domestic violence report from the Home Office says it all.

“Andrea you will live on in peace in our hearts and memories forever. Please can you respect us and leave us to grieve our treasured big sister/Aunt.”

The Harrowing Diary of a Murder Victim... Remembering Andrea Johnson!

Here are some of the quotes from the diary as she recorded her life with her partner then husband from 2000 to 2012, along with excerpts from the domestic violence homicide review into her death:

2002 - “He’s sending me round the bend...Whatever I say he turns around, we’re going down hill. Don’t know what to do - lived together a long time. Will be like a divorce.”

July 2002 - “Still send me round the bend with mental games,” and “Keith and I are fine and so much in love.”

March 3 2003 - “Keeps having paddy about nothing. He’s driving me insane. I don’t deserve it. If it wasn’t for the finance and the cats I would have gone by now.” 

The report says that on May 1 2004 “on the day of her marriage she told a family member that she wondered if she was doing the right thing as she was seeing someone else. The marriage went ahead. 

Some have commented that Mr Johnson liked having Mrs Johnson on his arm in public because she was young and attractive; informally it has been commented that she was seen as his trophy wife.”

April 11 2009 - “Keith was ****** off, knocked me to the ground - bruised back.”

2009 - Having just booked a holiday, Mrs Johnson writes: “Happy and excited, what a lucky woman - yummy life!”

November 2 2010 - “Have cancelled work tomorrow. Keith too happy hitting me. He has gone off in one hell of a mood. Said I deserved being hit. Have rung in sick.”

February 2011 - “He seems to have gone mad. Swearing and cursing like I’ve never heard - I’m frightened.”

July 2 2011 - “Keith just had a hissy fit, thru phone at me and then tried to swear at me.”

August 9 2011 - On the night that Mrs Johnson telephoned police to report a violent attack on her, she wrote: “Keith has assaulted me. Hit me a lot. He went to town. He is full of drink so I’m not gonna run him down, we are both under the influence so we are both bad.”

From a 'Dream Wedding' to a Nightmare Death... Remembering Andrea Johnson

Signing the register after their “dream” church wedding in 2004, Keith and Andrea Johnson are a picture of happiness.

And just four days ago, the couple were talking of returning to New York to buy an eternity ring to go with the wedding ring he bought for her in the Big Apple.

But within 48 hours, Mr Johnson took one of his wife’s shotguns, murdered her in their neighbour's garden - then walked to their back garden and shot himself dead.

Today, as the Cromer and Norfolk communities try to make sense of their sudden and explosive deaths, there is just one question - “why?”

● Why did this apparently affable pillar of society suddenly snap?

● Why did a larger-than-life, seemingly happy couple’s marriage end in such a shocking outbreak of violence?

Yesterday, the Rev Canon Dr David Court, vicar of Cromer, who married Mr and Mrs Johnson on May 1 2004, recalled that they were the first divorced couple that he had conducted a service for at the parish church.

He said: “They were both really excited. They were the first couple I had married who had been married before. They were so thankful that they could have the service in the church, which they had never thought possible.”

He recalled a “wonderful reception” at Cromer Hall, the home of landowner Benji Cabbell-Manners, with “drinks on the lawn” amid a “fabulous atmosphere”.

Mr Court, who said there would be an opportunity for people to light a candle in the couple’s memory in the parish church prayer chapel, was surprised and perplexed at what had happened.

He said: “Keith was the right kind of local councillor who was in in not for party political reasons but because he wanted to contribute to the town.
“Andrea was somebody who totally supported him and was by his side at all the big events.”

Mr Johnson, who became leader of North Norfolk District Council earlier this year, was in his usual jovial mood on Friday when posing for EDP pictures to advertise the offloading of the NNDC annexe.

On Wednesday evening, the couple were in fine form as they laughed and chatted to other guests at a reception ahead of the opening of Waitrose at North Walsham.

A media briefing was held by DCI Andy Guy at Cromer police station yesterday afternoon, during which he was able to answer many of the questions about how the double death happened - but not why.

He said: “We are not seeking anybody else in connection with these offences. We believe Mr Johnson shot his wife and took his own life in the rear garden of his home address.”

He said Mrs Johnson, 44, was a registered holder of four shotguns, one of which was used to kill her before Mr Johnson went into his back garden at 39 Compit Hills and shot himself.
But he said mystery remained over why the double killing happened, and urged members of the public to make contact with any information.

Yesterday, there was an eerie silence at the close where the popular couple died.

Mrs Johnson’s Porsche Boxster was parked on the couple’s front lawn, with Mr Johnson’s Mercedes E220 on the driveway.

Derek Houlston, who lives with David Bailey in a bungalow behind the Johnsons, said: “We took the dog out on Saturday morning and saw Keith at the bottom of the road doing his paper round.

“I said ‘morning, Keith’, and he looked so down and miserable. It was not like him - he usually had some banter.
“It’s so sad when something like this happens. It makes me ask ‘why’?”

A near neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said her husband had heard a single shot ring out at about 2.50pm on Sunday. She said: “I didn’t find out what happened until this morning. They were quiet, friendly people. I’m feeling awful today.”

A Campaign for Change... Remembering Andrea Johnson

The domestic violence homicide review into the shotgun death of Andrea Johnson at the hands of her husband Keith contains a series of recommendations, designed to minimise the chance of a repeat of such an incident.

 They include:

That there is a national review of the firearms (amendment) act 1997 relating to applications for shotguns, to tighten up the criteria for granting a shotgun certificate - including a requirement to have a medical, and the checking of records and risk assessments of members of the household of applicants
Mandatory training for all health professionals about domestic abuse

That all health agencies and GP practices develop domestic abuse policies and protocols within one year, outlining the responsibilities of staff to understand and respond to the needs of domestic abuse victims - including that when an individual is regularly accompanied by a partner, relative or carer, a policy should be in place to make available an opportunity for individuals to be seen alone

That the director of public health and a leading practitioner for the county clinical commissioning groups provide leadership to drive forward a multi-agency domestic abuse strategy for Norfolk by June 2014

Information about domestic abuse, helplines and routes to support should be provided for victims, family members, friends and work colleagues in a variety of locations by January 2014

Where a victim is found to be under the influence of alcohol or other substances at the time of investigating alleged domestic abuse, a call should be made the following day to provide advice when the perpetrator is not present.

'Domestic Abuse DOES Happen Here!' Remembering Andrea Johnson...

A vivacious Norfolk woman was shot dead by her husband after years of violence - helped in part by a “domestic abuse does not happen here” attitude in their community.

That is the shocking claim made in the report into the death of Andrea Johnson, who in December 2012 was shot on her neighbour’s driveway by council leader husband Keith, who then killed himself with the same gun in their back garden.

The domestic violence homicide review lifts the lid on the Johnsons’ marriage, which saw Mr Johnson often resorting to violence and verbal abuse, according to Mrs Johnson’s private diary, discovered after her death.

The stormy relationship ended on December 2 last year, when Mr Johnson shot his wife in the chest with her own, legally-held shotgun before turning the gun on himself.
It came when Mr Johnson called his wife home for a meeting a couple of days after throwing her out of their home at Compit Hills on the edge of Cromer, prompting her to move in with a man with whom she was in a relationship.

While no blame was apportioned to anyone except Mr Johnson for his wife’s death, one of the contributors to the report said domestic violence was “everybody’s business” as she urged people to learn how to spot the signs.

Laura McGillivray, chief executive of Norwich City Council and a member of the panel that drew up the domestic violence homicide review, said: “This case was a terrible shock to so many people. But how many people had contact with them and would have had an idea what was going on?

“Domestic violence can happen to anyone and it is everybody’s business.”

Gaynor Mears, who chaired the Norfolk County Community Safety Partnership and penned the domestic violence homicide review, said: “People have this stereotype of the sort of victim who suffers domestic abuse.
 “But it’s far from the case. What’s more difficult is that it’s much harder for people in these sorts of cases because they have much more to lose.”

Ms Mears said Mr Johnson’s “public persona” as a former Cromer mayor, leader of North Norfolk District Council and a council member of Norfolk County FA for 13 years may have made it “unthinkable that he was abusing” his wife.

 She said: “The information available to agencies at the time of the fatal incident would not have enabled them to predict the terrible event which led to Mrs Johnson’s death.

“That she had experienced domestic abuse for many years at the hands of her husband was unknown to them. His public persona and high standing in the community may also have made it unthinkable that he was abusing her in the privacy of their own home, and indeed there is still incredulity in some quarters that he shot her and then took his own life.

“One of the main lessons to be learnt by professionals from this case is the need to suspend all disbelief that a person who is high profile and seen as doing good in their community cannot be a perpetrator of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse takes place in all strata of society.”

She added: “No-one thought a man such as her husband with influential connections, a high profile in his local area for doing good, and dedicated to working for his community would be a perpetrator of domestic abuse in private, therefore would she be believed?

“They lived in an area in which some had a ‘domestic abuse does not happen here’ approach.”

Remembering Andrea Johnson...

 He was the jocular council leader who had a cheery word for everybody and was one of north Norfolk’s most prominent figures. But today - in news that will come as a shock to many people - we can reveal a shadow of domestic violence that hung over Keith Johnson’s life.

For while Mr Johnson, 58, and his vivacious 44-year-old wife Andrea were the life and soul of events in and around their Cromer home town, her private diaries, discovered after their death, revealed that he “changed like the devil”.

The poignant diary entries tell of a drink-fuelled catalogue of violent attacks and mental abuse during their 18-year “open” relationship, which saw both embark on long affairs.

And they lift the lid on her long struggle with mental illness, which culminated in November 2006 in an attempted suicide that was headed off when her parents John and Janice Chadwick popped in to visit her.

Mrs Johnson confided to her diary for years that she wanted to leave her husband, even before they were married in 2004.

 But when the relationship finally broke up at the end of 2012, Mr Johnson called her back to their house for a meeting and shot her in the chest with the shotgun that she owned for clay pigeon shooting - before turning the gun on himself in their back garden.

The sad story is told in detail in a 37-page domestic violence homicide review, published by Norfolk County Community Safety Partnership at the end of today’s inquest.

The statutory report, which was completed in June before being cleared by the Home Office, was written by independent advisor and consultant Gaynor Mears after a detailed review by a host of people from local agencies.

The report’s aim was to establish the facts of the case - and to discover whether any lessons could be learnt to head off a similar incident in the future.

But, unlike in some reports, no finger of blame is pointed at any agencies that had contact with the couple.

Ms Mears, who chaired the Norfolk County Community Safety Partnership and penned the domestic violence homicide review into the death of Mrs Johnson, said: “The only person culpable in this is the person who pulled the trigger.

“What the agencies knew at the time wouldn't have enabled them to predict what happened. If agencies had shared any blame, I would not have pulled any punches.”

The report said:

Mrs Johnson had regular contact with her GP and other health professionals as she sought treatment for mental illness. But the presence of her husband at most of the appointments meant she “could not disclose” about domestic abuse “even had she wanted to”.

Police were called to the family home at Compit Hills, near Cromer, on one occasion when an allegation was made of domestic abuse. But when they arrived, Mr Johnson denied that a call had been made and Mrs Johnson did not want to make a complaint.

Mrs Johnson disclosed to some friends that she had been abused by her husband for “some years”, but the information was not passed on to police.

Ms Mears made a series of recommendations to police and health officials, in a bid to educate more people about the signs of domestic abuse.

But even Mrs Johnson’s close relatives were apparently unaware of the cycle of abuse that was being carried out - a truth illustrated by how her parents John and Janice Chadwick readily forgave their son-in-law after the double death and agreed to a joint funeral last December.

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