PCSO Julia James murder: Kent police have ‘no suspect, no motive’

Murdered PCSO Julia James ‘died from significant head injuries’

Police ‘keeping a very open mind about the motive’

Emily Goddard@emilysgoddard
Friday 30 April 2021 10:45

A serving police community support officer whose body was found in woodland in Kent on Tuesday died from “significant head injuries”.

Julia James was working from home on Tuesday and was last seen leaving to walk her dog in the afternoon. She was not in uniform.

Her body was found in Akholt Wood, Snowdown, near Dover, later that day.

Police said Ms James died from “significant head injuries” as a result of “blunt trauma” and that they are “working very hard” to identify a motive for the killing.

There was no evidence that any of her possessions were missing and her dog was found unharmed at the scene when police arrived.

People should be “cautious, vigilant, aware of their surroundings”, Kent Police assistant chief constable Tom Richards said on Friday morning.

Tim Smith, Kent Police’s deputy chief constable, said hundreds of officers were on the investigation into her death but there were currently no “clear suspects”.

A murder probe has been launched by police after PCSO Julia James was found dead in a woodland near Dover, in Kent
A murder probe has been launched by police after PCSO Julia James was found dead in a woodland near Dover, in Kent

“We’ve got hundreds of officers working on that investigation while we try to establish exactly what happened to Julia, and more importantly who did this to Julia and why,” he told BBC Radio Kent.

“We’re working very hard to identify a motive and we are working very hard to identify who may have committed this.”

DCC Smith said he was “not able to say either way” if the attack was sexually motivated, adding that police “keeping a very open mind about the motive”.

The death was originally viewed as “suspicious”, but Kent Police confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that it is being treated as murder.

Police forensics investigators close to the scene in Snowdown where the body of Julia James was found

Ms James’s nephew Karl James said his aunt was “just a lovely person” and said her death has been “a real shock”.

Speaking to 5 News, he said: “Obviously it’s been a real shock. I work away, but my wife is here – heavily pregnant – and with young kids, so she’s on edge at the moment too.

“So I’ve come home and just waiting for answers – that’s the worst bit really.”

Floral tributes have been left for Ms James, who had worked for the police for nearly 15 years, in nearby Aylesham.

Officers have appealed for anyone who may have seen something unusual or suspicious in the area on Tuesday or Wednesday to come forward.

They are encouraged to contact Kent Police on 0800 0514 526.