Man accused of ‘extremely violent’ murder of PSCO Julia James

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The man accused of killing a PCSO who died following an "extremely violent attack" has appeared in court.

Callum Wheeler, 21, was remanded in custody and given a murder trial date of November 29 over the death of popular Julia James, 53.

The mum-of-two had been walking her Jack Russell pet Toby near her home in Snowdown, Kent, when she was attacked on April 27.

Her body was discovered later the same day by members of the public on a footpath near Ackholt Wood. Her dog was found waiting beside her body.

A post-mortem found she had died of severe head injuries.

Appearing via videolink from HMP Belmarsh at Maidstone Crown Court, Wheeler, from Aylesham, spoke only to confirm his identity.

He was wearing a grey prison issue tracksuit, grey t-shirt and a black Covid mask.

Prosecutor Martin Yale told the court Mrs James died as a result of an "extremely violent" attack.

Wheeler was remanded in custody to appear at a plea and trial and preparation hearing on June 8.

Judge Statman also set a trial date for November 29.

No plea was entered to the murder charge and no application for bail was made by Wheeler's counsel, Lesley Manley, who confirmed there would be a need for a psychiatric assessment of Wheeler.

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."

An actress dressed in a similar blue jacket and black wellies recently recreated the PCSO’s final movements with police hoping the reconstruction would help jog memories and encourage potential witnesses to come forward.

Mrs James's cousin, Sam Griffin, is also organising a series of walks in memory of Julia.

Ms Griffin suggested online that those taking part in the "Walks for Julia" might wear something blue or blue ribbons, in recognition of her role in the police force.

One of Mrs James' major roles had been working with the Vulnerability Investigation Team at Canterbury police station, helping survivors seek help from abusive relationships.

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