PCSO Julia James was allegedly murdered while walking her dog and her body was found in Akholt Wood in Snowdown, Kent – Callum Wheeler pleaded not guilty to his murder
A 21-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to the murder of PCSO Julia James while walking her dog back in April.
Callum Wheeler, 21, of Aylesham, Kent, denied the charge at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday.
He was charged with mother-to-two murders 13 days after her body was found near Akholt Wood in Snowdown, Kent on April 27.
On the day of the attack, James had left her house in the village around 3pm to take her Jack Russell Toby for a walk after a day working from home.
The grandmother-of-one who had worked for Kent Police since 2008 was found dead an hour later.
An autopsy showed she died of significant head injuries.
Her body was discovered by a member of the public around 6 p.m.
KMG / SWNS.COM)
PCSO James’ death prompted a huge police search in which officers fell on the village of Snowdown to search for clues.
Locals were also tested and motorists stopped as Kent police stepped up the chase.
The incident also led to an outpouring of emotion in the local community, where the support officer was described as popular by colleagues.
Numerous tributes were also left behind, including by her family, who described her as “fiercely loyal”.
PCSO James’ daughter Bethan Coles has been particularly vocal about the search on Facebook, urging people to come forward.
Kent Police previously said the man they had arrested was a British citizen.
The arrest came after several appeals, including the release of a picture of the clothes PCSO James was wearing when she died.
A family greeting issued by Kent Police on April 30 reads: “There are no words that can adequately describe the void left in our lives at the death of our mother.
“She was so much to so many people: a wife, mother, daughter, nanny, sister and a friend.
“Mom was wildly loyal, she loved with all her heart, and nothing was too much trouble for the people she cared about.”
They added: “Her loss will be felt by us every moment every day. She will be missed so much.
“As a family, we try to understand how we will navigate our lives without her, it seems like an impossible task.”
There have also been tributes on social media, including personal statements by her son Patrick Davis and daughter Bethan Coles.
Colleagues from Kent Police have also written messages, including one officially released by the force.
And other PCSO Kelly Adsia who visited the scene said on May 1 PCSO James was a “ray of sunshine”.
“We are just completely in shock and completely numb and can not calculate it at all,” she said of the police family.
Various politicians and officials have also sent messages, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Tweeting at 7pm, he said: “Tonight we remember PCSO Julia James. My thoughts are with her friends and family.