Julia James killing: PCSO's head injuries were 'among the worst' that pathologist had seen and 'completely unsurvivable'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

A pathologist has told how the head injuries sustained by police community support officer Julia James were "completely unsurvivable" and "among the worst" he had seen.

The PCSO was killed in April last year as she walked her Jack Russell in fields and woodland near the back of her home in Snowdown, Kent. Callum Wheeler, 22, is on trial accused of her murder.

Consultant forensic pathologist Dr Olaf Biedrzycki told jurors that Mrs James, 53, was "subjected to a very violent and sustained assault to the head" with a heavy object - alleged to be a metal railway jack.

He said that after carrying out many years of post-mortem examinations, the head injuries sustained by Mrs James were "among the worst that I've seen".

"The injuries were completely unsurvivable even with immediate medical intervention," he said. "Her death would've been very, very quick."

Asked by prosecutor Alison Morgan QC whether the injuries could have been made by the metal railway jack allegedly seized from Wheeler's home, Dr Biedrzycki responded "yes".

Bloodstains matching the DNA of Mrs James were also found on items seized from the defendant's home, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

Mrs James's DNA was detected on a pair of Wheeler's muddy black Nike trainers and on the jack allegedly used by him to bludgeon the victim to death, the trial was told.

In details provided by forensic scientist Stephen Paddock, the court heard that pieces of adhesive from the jack were found in Mrs James's hair and Wheeler's DNA was also found on her jacket and white vest.

The expert concluded the bar "had been used to assault Julia James", prosecutor Alison Morgan QC told jurors.

Read more from Sky News:

Jurors retrace final steps of PCSO killed on dog walk
PCSO 'subjected to brutal and fatal attack' in Kent woods

The court was also shown footage of Wheeler's arrest, in which the 22-year-old was seen acting aggressively and shouting profanities.

Body-worn camera footage showed the defendant shouting "f*** off" from inside his bedroom, which he had barricaded himself into as officers tried to force open the door.

After the officers managed to enter his room and handcuff him, he told them: "I didn't do it. Yous are f****** dead, trust me."

PC Ben Redpath, one of the officers who was at the scene, told the court that Wheeler had later said to a custody officer at Maidstone police station: "Sometimes I do things I cannot control."

On Wednesday, the court was shown a photograph of Wheeler carrying the alleged weapon in a bag the day after Mrs James's death.

He was seen walking in fields near Aylesham, Kent, in a picture taken by gamekeeper Gavin Tucker who worked for a nearby farm and had thought Wheeler was "suspicious".

Wheeler admits killing Mrs James but denies murder. The trial continues.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting