Julia James: Murdered PCSO’s family ‘won’t feel safe’ until they find out what happened

The family of a police community support officer (PCSO) murdered in a Kent village say they won’t feel safe until they find out what happened.

Detectives continue to investigate the killing of Julia James, whose body was found in Akholt Wood, Snowdown, near Dover, on Tuesday afternoon.

Large parts of the hamlet and its surrounding fields remain cordoned off, but police have yet to make any arrests.

The 53-year-old was reportedly found with head injuries after taking her dog for a walk.

Mary Bossen, who lives nearby and is a cousin of Ms James, said the family is "devastated".

"It’s just so horrible isn’t it?" she told Sky News outside her house, which overlooks the crime scene.

"We all walk our dogs along there. It’s just terrible.

"Until we find out what happened, you’re not going to feel safe, are you?"

Dozens of forensic specialists in white suits could be seen working outside a tent in a field just 200 metres from where Ms James is believed to have lived.

Uniformed officers carried out fingertip searches in undergrowth nearby, while sniffer dogs were used to scour hedgerows.

"She loved people," Ms Bossen said of her cousin.

"She was a right people-person and she liked helping people."

Ms James became a PCSO in 2007 and was reportedly aiming to become a full police officer soon.

"She loved her work," a neighbour called Leah told Sky News.

"She couldn’t wait to advance to an actual police officer. She used to talk about it all the time.

"She always looked out for everybody. And if you needed some help, she’d be there trying to help you through it."

A uniformed police officer remained outside a property in Snowdown on Thursday – believed to be Ms James’s.

"It’s really scary something like this could happen," said Leah, who lives on the same street.

"She was a really close person to our community and as a PCSO did help a lot of us."

Flowers have been left for the local PSCO in nearby Aylesham, with a note from "the Guys in Blue" saying: "Your Duty is Done. Take it easy for now we will take it from here!"

Ms James used to live to Aylesham, where her former neighbour, who declined to give her name, described her as a "lovely lady".

"I don’t know how anyone could do it to her? She’d never done no harm to no one," she added.

Police are pursuing "a number of lines of inquiry" and are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area on Monday and Tuesday who may have seen something unusual or suspicious.

Anyone with information should contact Kent Police on 0800 0514 526. Anyone with video footage can submit it online at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/4601020121F07-PO1.

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