A trial date has been set for a man charged with the murder of PCSO Julia James.
Ms James was found dead in Akholt Wood, close to her home in Snowdown, Kent, on April 27, with her Jack Russell, called Toby, by her side.
Callum Wheeler, 21, from Aylesham, is accused of inflicting serious head injuries on the 53-year-old.
He appeared via video link from Belmarsh prison for the 12-minute hearing at Maidstone Crown Court today wearing a grey T-shirt and grey trousers with a black face-mask.
Wheeler spoke only spoke to confirm his name and that he could hear the judge. No members of Ms James’ family were in court on Thursday.
Prosecutor Martin Yale told the court: “Mr Wheeler is charged with the murder of Julia James on the 27th of April of this year.”
He said that “a number of forensic inquiries” remain outstanding in relation to the case, including an iron bar.
Mr Yale described the attack on Ms James as “extremely violent” and Judge Philip Statman said he recognised that the case was “high profile”.
Judge Statman set a trial date for November 29, with a plea and trial preparation hearing on June 8.
No plea was entered to the murder charge and no application for bail was made by Wheeler’s counsel, Lesley Manley.
The judge remanded the defendant in custody and said: “There being no application for bail, in the circumstances, having looked at all the matters, it is right and proper the defendant should remain in custody.”
Kent Police are still appealing for witnesses in the case and earlier this week created a reconstruction of Ms James’ last known movements, featuring Toby the dog and an actress wearing identical clothing.
Additional reporting by PA