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Death of serving PCSO found in Woodland being treated as murder
28 April 2021, 13:13 | Updated: 28 April 2021, 19:41
A murder inquiry has been launched after the body of a female Police Community Support Officer was found on the footpath of a quiet hamlet in Kent.
No arrests have yet been made following the death of 53-year-old Julia James, whose body was found in Akholt Wood.
The loss has shocked the tiny nearby hamlet of Snowdown, where Ms James is believed to have lived with her husband.
Home Secretary Priti Patel expressed her "sincere condolences" to Ms James' friends, family and colleagues.
Police officers were seen around the quiet cluster of homes on Wednesday afternoon as the investigation continued.
Not far away, by a field, a white tent could be seen with police officers standing nearby.
Local resident John Miller, 72, said: "I can't believe it's true to be honest, everyone feels safe round here.
"(I'm) gutted, gutted for the family and whoever it is I hope they catch them and they get put away for life."
He added that he knew Ms James' family, whom he described as "very close", and said what happened was a "hell of a loss".
In Snowdown, a police officer was standing guard outside the home where Ms James is believed to have lived, while another officer was seen in the garden.
Assistant Chief Constable of Kent Police Tom Richards said: "Officers are carrying out a number of lines of enquiry to establish the circumstances and people in the Snowdown area will see an increased police presence as a result.
"It saddens me to confirm that the victim was a serving PCSO for Kent Police and whilst there is a full and thorough investigation underway our thoughts also remain with her family, friends and colleagues."
He added: "It is vitally important that anyone who was in the area on Monday and Tuesday who may have seen something suspicious gets in touch with us.
"We're particularly keen to speak to those who regularly visit the area who may have seen something out of place and those who drove by who have dashcam footage.
"We would advise anyone in the area to remain vigilant until the full circumstances of the death are established."
Officers are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 April who may have seen something unusual or suspicious.
They are urged to contact Kent Police on 0800 0514 526.
Anyone with video forage can submit it online https://mipp.police.uk/operation/4601020121F07-PO1