Man, 21, charged with murder of PCSO Julia James

·3-min read

Watch: Man charged with murder of PCSO Julia James

A 21-year-old man from Kent has been charged with the murder of PCSO Julia James, whose body was found on the edge of woodland a fortnight ago.

Callum Wheeler, from the village of Aylesham, was arrested on Friday night by detectives investigating the murder.

He was held over the weekend and on Sunday police were granted a further extension to continue questioning him.

But in a statement issued on Monday night, Kent Police said Mr Wheeler had now been charged with murder and would appear before Medway Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning.

Callum Wheeler is led away from court on Tuesday morning before being remanded into custody  - Pixel8000/BBC
Callum Wheeler is led away from court on Tuesday morning before being remanded into custody - Pixel8000/BBC

In a statement, a spokesman for the force said: “Detectives investigating the death of Police Community Support Officer Julia James, have charged Callum Wheeler, 21, from Aylesham with her murder. 

"Julia, 53, was found deceased next to Akholt Wood in Snowdown just before 4pm on Tuesday, 27 April, 2021. Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate arrested the 21-year-old on Friday, 7 May, 2021. 

"On Monday, 10 May, 2021, the Crown Prosecution Service authorised a charge of murder. Mr Wheeler remains in custody and is due to appear via video link at Medway Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, 11 May, 2021."

Mr Wheeler was born in South London in March 2000 but moved to the Aylesham area of Kent with his parents and two older brothers several years ago.

Police officers searched a field in Aylesham, Kent, on Monday as the murder investigation into the death of PCSO Julia James continues - Michael Drummond/PA
Police officers searched a field in Aylesham, Kent, on Monday as the murder investigation into the death of PCSO Julia James continues - Michael Drummond/PA

The murder investigation has been one of the largest conducted by the force for many years with hundreds of detectives working around the clock, supported by colleagues from other force areas and specialists from the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Mrs James, a married mother of two, joined Kent Police in 2007 and worked with the domestic violence support unit.

On Tuesday, April 27, she had been working from home alone and had taken her Jack Russell terrier, Toby, out for a walk in the afternoon when she was allegedly attacked and killed.

Her body was found by members of the public just after 4pm. She had sustained severe head injuries.

Since the discovery of her body, Kent Police have appealed for help from members of the public and on Friday issued an image of a man they wished to speak to in connection with the murder.

Police officers searching a field off Ratling Road in Aylesham, Kent - Michael Drummond/PA
Police officers searching a field off Ratling Road in Aylesham, Kent - Michael Drummond/PA
Forensic officers at an address in Aylesham, Kent, on Saturday - Steve Parsons/PA
Forensic officers at an address in Aylesham, Kent, on Saturday - Steve Parsons/PA

Later that evening they confirmed they had arrested a British national in his 20s in the Canterbury area.

On Saturday, forensics officers and specialist search teams were seen entering a house in Aylesham, a short distance from where Mrs James lived.

The death of Mrs James, who was a popular and well-liked member of the community, sent shock waves through the local population.

It led police to warn locals to always let people know when they were venturing out alone and to keep a fully charged mobile phone with them at all times.

Flowers left in memory of PCSO Julia James in Aylesham - Gareth Fuller/PA
Flowers left in memory of PCSO Julia James in Aylesham - Gareth Fuller/PA
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