Murdered PCSO Julia James’ dog tested for DNA evidence as police release new image

Murdered PCSO Julia James walking her Jack Russell Toby and wearing a light blue waterproof coat, blue jeans and dark coloured Wellington style brown boots - the same clothes she had on when last seen before her murder (Kent Police)

The dog of a murdered police community officer may provide crucial evidence as the search for her killer continues.

Julia James 53, was found with serious head injuries on 27 April in Akholt Wood in Snowdown, Kent where she was walking her Jack Russell, Toby.

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Searches continue in the area but Kent Police said no suspects or motives have been identified.

New image released of murdered PCSO

Police also released a new image yesterday of Ms James in the clothes she was last wearing.

The picture shows the PCSO with her Jack Russell while wearing a light blue waterproof coat, blue jeans and dark Wellington-style brown boots.

Police said it was the same clothing, apart from the gloves, which she wore on Tuesday April 27, the day she was killed.

‘No motives, no suspects’

The photograph was released as Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards told journalists the force still has no idea what the motive for her murder was, and no suspect.

He told reporters at Folkestone police station that eight days on: “I do not know the motive of this attack.

“I do not know if it’s somebody she knew.

“I do not know if it’s a stranger attack, of course that possibility is particularly frightening to local residents.”

He said he wants to hear from people who were in the location on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of last week.

“We’re genuinely interested in any information.

“If anybody has got any concerns, any suspicions, we really want to hear about it,” he said.

ACC Richards would not be drawn on the results of any forensic enquiries but said: “We've got a very considerable forensic strategy and it does include the dog."

‘Fiercely loyal’

Ms James, who was a popular community support officer, was found dead in Akholt Wood, close to her family home, in the village of Snowdown, Kent.

The PCSO, described as “fiercely loyal” by her family, died from serious head injuries while out walking her dog.

Mr Richards said the public have provided hundreds of pieces of information to investigators, but would not comment specifically on one report that she may have been followed the day before she was murdered.

Investigators are hoping to establish the route the killer may have taken to and from the crime scene.

What police have said

Mr Richards said: “We’re hoping that this image of Julia wearing what she wore before her death will help jog people’s memory.

“We want to hear from people who think they saw her walking Toby on that day and we also want to speak to people who were in the area that afternoon.

“Perhaps you were going for a run, walking your own dog, driving through or farming your land.

“We want to hear from anyone who was in the area or who saw Julia. Any and all information is welcomed and our detectives will decide what is relevant to their investigation.

“We’ve had some fantastic support already from the local community and we’re incredibly grateful for their compassion and patience whilst we carry out our inquiries.

“Whilst we will not be telling people what they can and can’t do, we are urging people to be vigilant and to be aware of their surroundings.”