Julia James: Man sought by police in murdered PCSO investigation has been identified

Julia James Credit: Kent Police

A man who was being sought by police as part of the investigation into the murder of PCSO Julia James has been identified.

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

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, April 27, 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.”

Julia James pictured in the same clothes she was wearing on the day she died. Credit: Kent Police

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.

Mr Richards also urged the public to get in touch if they have information.

He said: “Anybody who knows who that man is, we desperately need you to make contact with us and identify who that man is.

“If this person is watching, please contact us, you have crucial information.”

Mr Richards said that any calls to provide information would be handled with “the utmost confidence and sensitivity”.

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.