Man appears in court charged with murder of PCSO Julia James

By Caroline Davies

A 21-year-old man charged with the murder of PCSO Julia James has been remanded in custody after appearing in court.

Callum Wheeler, from Aylesham, Kent, appeared in person at Medway magistrates court, where he was remanded to appear at Maidstone crown court on Thursday 13 May.

Wearing a grey jumper and flanked by two security officers in the dock, Wheeler spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address.

He was arrested on Friday and charged on Monday.

James, 53, was found dead in Akholt Wood a few hundred yards from her home in the hamlet of Snowdown, near Aylesham, on 27 April. She was off duty and walking her jack russell, Toby.

A postmortem established she died from significant head injuries.

Tributes to the mother and grandmother described her as “fiercely loyal” and a “pillar of the community”.

The assistant chief constable Tom Richards said no further arrests were currently anticipated. Speaking at a press conference held at the same time as the court hearing, he said it had been a “hugely challenging” fortnight since the death of James.

“Today we continue to appeal for witnesses. I am confident that there were people in the area at the time that we want to speak to,” he said.

He said police are not “actively” seeking any further suspects in connection with the death. “I am keeping all options open, it’s a huge step forward in the investigation, a breakthrough, that we have arrested somebody,” he said. He added: “We are not at this stage looking actively to make any further arrests.”