Tributes paid to 'murdered' PSCO 'found in woods with her dog'

Neighbours have paid tribute to a female PCSO who police believe was murdered, after her body was found in woodlands in Kent.

Julia James, a serving PCSO, was found dead in suspicious circumstances in a quiet hamlet in Ackholt Wood in Snowdown near Aylesham, shortly after 4pm on Tuesday.

The 53-year-old was found in an area she was known to regularly walk her dog.

Detectives have now confirmed the mother-of-two's death is being treated as murder.

Several fields in the area have been sealed off, with one officer saying it was a 'very big crime scene'. (SWNS)
Several fields in the area have been sealed off. (SWNS)

No arrests have been made, but detectives are conducting inquiries to establish the circumstances, Kent Police said.

They previously confirmed her death was being treated as suspicious but it has since been upgraded to a murder inquiry.

Paying tribute to Mrs James, a neighbour today said: "She was warm and friendly, had a great sense of humour and loved dogs. She was just a lovely person.

"We were going to arrange a drink after the pandemic when the weather got nice but sadly that chance has been taken from us.

"It's quite unnerving to know that's happened in a sleepy hamlet. It makes your blood run cold."

Julia James was found in an area she was known to regularly walk her dog. (SWNS)
Julia James was found in an area she was known to regularly walk her dog. (SWNS)

Leah Southwell, 18, who lives in the area, added: "She was one of the most lovely people I ever met. When I saw her out she would speak for hours.

"My thoughts go out to the family. I feel absolutely heartbroken for them."

Following her death, neighbour Ben Sandowe, 23, added: "She would always look out for everyone and was very friendly. She was always looking out for people and was a really, really nice lady.

Detectives have confirmed the Julia James' death is being treated as murder. (SWNS)
Detectives have confirmed the Julia James' death is being treated as murder. (SWNS)

"Aylesham has a reputation that people don't like the police but they let her in."

Several fields in the area have been sealed off while police conduct inquiries.

In 2010 Mrs James and a colleague were commended for their bravery after chasing down and stopping a man suspected of shoplifting in Ashford shopping centre.