Man arrested in hunt for PCSO Julia James’s killer



Detectives hunting the killer of PCSO Julia James have arrested a man in his 20s, they revealed on Saturday.

The arrest came 11 days after Mrs James, 53, was found bludgeoned to death in woodland near her home in Snowdown, Kent, on April 27, shortly after leaving the house with her Jack Russell dog.   

It emerged on Saturday evening that a woman from Canterbury claimed her daughter recognised the man in the photograph, which had been posted on the force’s Facebook page.

Her comment was spotted by Mrs James’s daughter, Bethan Coles, 31, a police officer, who wrote: “Please go to police if you have any information. We would be so grateful x”. 

The woman, who did not want to be named, later posted to say that she had been contacted by officers.

A Kent Police spokesman said: “Officers investigating the death of Julia James have arrested a man in connection with her murder.

“A man in his 20s from the Canterbury area was arrested at 9.30pm on Friday 7 May 2021, and remains in custody.”

The man held by police is understood to be a British national. A house in the former mining town of Aylesham, close to the scene of the killing, was later seen taped off by police, with forensics officers undertaking a search of the property in Sunshine Corner Avenue.

Officers with clipboards were seen going door to door, speaking to people living in surrounding houses on the new build estate, close to the outskirts of the village.

Kent Police repeated their appeal for any information that might help them in their hunt for Mrs James’ killer, with the force so far unable to establish what the motive for the attack was.

Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards said: “We continue to urge anyone with information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, to contact us.

“If you were in the Snowdown area between 1pm and 4.30pm on Tuesday 27 April please contact us. This includes anyone local who may have seen something out of place at the time, or who came across someone who made them feel uneasy – such as feeling compelled to cross the road or change the route they were walking.”

The arrest came after Kent Police said they were no longer seeking information about a man following the release of an image by the force.

Officers had released a photograph on Friday of a man they said could be of “crucial importance” to the investigation.

But later in the day the force said the man had been identified and they were no longer appealing for information about him.

ACC Richards said: “I can confirm we have identified the man in the photo and we no longer need the media to run his image, nor do we need further information about him at this time.

“Despite identifying this individual, we are still keen to hear from those who have information that may help us.”

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