Julia James’s dog tested for DNA clues as police continue to hunt PCSO’s killer

Laura Sharman and Barney Davis
·3-min read
<p>PCSO Julia James in the clothes she was wearing on the day she died</p>

PCSO Julia James in the clothes she was wearing on the day she died

Police have tested murdered PCSO colleague Julia James’s dog for any vital DNA evidence left behind from her killer, officers have revealed. 

It came as detectives investigating the murder released a photo of her walking her beloved Jack Russell Toby in the clothes she was last seen wearing.

The mother-of-two, 53, is pictured walking while wearing a bright blue raincoat, blue jeans and dark brown wellies.

Watch: Julia James - New image released of murdered PCSO in clothes she was last wearing

She had been working at home that day before taking a walk towards Akholt Wood in Snowdown, Kent.

Fingertip searches continue in the area, but no motives or suspects have been identified, police said.

Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards said Ms James’ dog had been tested for any possible DNA evidence by forensic officers.

“We’ve got a very considerable forensic strategy and it does include the dog”, he told a press conference on Wednesday.

Julia James had been working at home before taking a walk towards Akholt WoodPA
Julia James had been working at home before taking a walk towards Akholt WoodPA

“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.

“I don’t know, therefore, if it’s someone who is regularly in the area.

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

Kent Police
Kent Police

It comes after officers carried out road stops to ask whether motorists had been in the area last Tuesday when the PCSO was attacked on a country footpath.

She was discovered just before 4pm next to Akholt Wood with blunt force trauma injuries to her head. 

On Tuesday night, Ms James’ daughter invited the nation to light a candle on their doorstep to mark one-week since her death. 

Bethan Coles shared a photograph of a candle burning on her doorstep alongside a photograph of her mum and said “there are no goodbyes for us, wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.

The family have started a social media campaign #justiceforjulia to help keep the murder investigation in the public eye.

A lit candle marks one week since the death of PCSO Julia James, at her family home in SnowdownPA
A lit candle marks one week since the death of PCSO Julia James, at her family home in SnowdownPA

A minute’s silence was also held in Julia’s memory by Kent Police staff at 2.30pm on Tuesday.

Road checks were carried out in the area between 12.30pm and 6.30pm.

Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards added: “PCSO Julia James was a much-loved member of the policing family and we are all shocked and devastated by her death. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with her family and friends.

“I would like to reassure them and everyone else that we are leaving no stone unturned in investigating what happened to Julia and bringing whoever was responsible to justice.”

Ms James was discovered alongside her Jack Russell and police are revisiting a series of dognapping incidents in the area.

The National Crime Agency have also provided specialist advice on forensic search techniques.

Patrick James, the son of PCSO Julia James, looks at floral tributes left near her family home in SnowdownPA
Patrick James, the son of PCSO Julia James, looks at floral tributes left near her family home in SnowdownPA

Officers continue to appeal for information and are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area on April 26 and 27 who may have seen something unusual or suspicious.

A tent has been set up in Market Square, Aylesham, for anyone with information or concerns to stop by and speak to an officer.

ACC Richards added: “My thanks go to the significant number of people who have spoken to us and provided information to date. If you think you might know something and have not already spoken to us then please do get in touch, no matter how insignificant you might think it is. Sometimes the smallest pieces of information lead to the biggest breakthroughs.

“We understand why people living in the Snowdown area and further afield may feel uncertain about their own safety following Julia’s death, and we continue to advise people to remain vigilant until the full circumstances are established.”

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