Julia James death: Man, 21, pleads not guilty to murdering police community support officer in Kent

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A man has pleaded not guilty to murdering police community support officer Julia James, who was killed while out walking her dog in April.

Ms James, 53, was found dead with head injuries in Akholt Wood, close to her home in Snowdown, Kent, with her Jack Russell dog Toby by her side.

Her death led to an outpouring of grief in the community she served for many years.

Callum Wheeler, 21, appeared by videolink at Maidstone Crown Court as he denied murdering Ms James.

His trial, previously set for 29 November, will be delayed and a new date set as soon as possible, the court was told.

Wheeler, from Aylesham, was remanded in custody ahead of a further hearing next month.

The discovery of Ms James's body on 27 April sparked a huge murder investigation, with dozens of police officers from all over the country drafted in to comb fields and woodland.

Her dog was later used as part of a police reconstruction as detectives appealed for witnesses.

Ms James's family praised her as "fiercely loyal" and someone who "loved with her whole heart".

In a tribute released by police, they said: "Her loss will be felt by us every moment of every day. She will be so sorely missed.

"As a family we are trying to understand how we will navigate our lives without her, it seems an impossible task."

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