Man, 21, charged with murder of PCSO Julia James

Julia James was found dead near her home on April 27 (Picture: SWNS; PA)

A 21-year-old man has been charged with the murder of police community support officer Julia James.

Callum Wheeler, from Aylesham, was charged on Monday night, confirmed Kent Police.

He was arrested on Friday and is due to appear via videolink at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Detectives were granted a 36-hour extension to further question him, lasting until Monday evening.

Ms James was found dead in Akholt Wood near her home in Snowdown, Kent, on April 27.

The 53-year-old died of serious head injuries while out walking with her dog Toby. He was found unharmed by her side.

Ms James’ heartbroken family paid tribute to the mother, describing her as ‘fiercely loyal’ person who ‘loved with her whole heart’.

Police officers were seen searching a field off Ratling Road in Aylesham, Kent on Monday (Picture: PA)
The PCSO was described as ‘fiercely loyal’ and well respected in the community (Picture: PA)
Police and forensics teams searched a property in Aylesham on Saturday (Picture: Kent Online/SWNS)

A large police presence from several forces were today seen searching a field in Aylesham – less than two miles from Ms James’ home in the hamlet of Snowdown.

Officers used poles to search through undergrowth, while a row of houses nearby was cordoned off and a forensic van was seen driving away from the scene.

Crimestoppers last week announced it is offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information about Ms James’s death.

Ms James was a popular community officer who worked with local domestic violence and abuse charity Rising Sun.

Chief executive Fran Ellis described the mother as ‘kind, caring and generous’.

PCSO Julia James, pictured in 2013. An inquiry is underway after a serving Police Community Support Officer was found dead in woodland.

The mother was described as having a smile that ‘lit up the room’ (Picture: SWNS)

Ms Ellis said: ‘She was a devoted supporter and advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and would go above and beyond for anyone.

‘I was lucky to meet Julia shortly after joining Rising Sun at the Canterbury DA Forum which she attended regularly to help improve responses to survivors across services.

‘She was warm, friendly and I knew immediately that I could go to her for anything.

‘Her smile was so genuine, lit up the room and made me feel really welcome. This is how she was every time we met, and how I will remember her.’

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