Julia James: Police identify man who 'could be key' in PCSO murder probe

7 May 2021, 11:39 | Updated: 8 May 2021, 10:02

Police have identified the man who 'could be key' in the PCSO Julia James murder probe
Police have identified the man who 'could be key' in the PCSO Julia James murder probe. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Police have identified a man who they say could be of "crucial importance" in the investigation into the murder of PCSO Julia James.

The popular community support officer was found dead in Akholt Wood near her home in Snowdown, Kent, on Tuesday 27 April.

A post-mortem examination revealed the 53-year-old died from significant head injuries.

Kent Police released a photo earlier on Friday of a man they said could be of "crucial importance" to the investigation.

But the force said the man has now been identified and they are no longer appealing for information about him.

Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards said: "I can confirm we have identified the man in the photo and we no longer need the media to run his image, nor do we need further information about him at this time.

"It remains that we still need to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time between 1pm and 4.30 pm on Tuesday
27 April 2021, as well as anyone local who may have seen something out of place at the time or who came across someone who made them feel uneasy - such as feeling compelled to cross the road or change the route they were walking.

"Despite identifying this individual, we are still keen to hear from those who have information that may help us."

At a briefing in Folkestone earlier on Friday, Mr Richards told reporters that police have yet to establish a motive for Ms James' murder.

The force said on Thursday that it was broadening the search area to include "a number of other locations" in addition to the woodland where she was found.

Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £10,000 for anonymous information that leads to her killer being convicted.

Ms James, described as "fiercely loyal" by her family, died from serious head injuries while out walking her dog.

On Wednesday, police issued an image of the PCSO in the clothes she was wearing before she was killed.

The picture shows Ms James walking her Jack Russell, Toby, while wearing a light blue waterproof coat, blue jeans and dark Wellington-style brown boots.

Police said it was the same clothing, apart from the gloves, which she wore on the day she died.