Julia James: Kent Police in 'deep shock' at PCSO death, chief constable says

Kent Police is in "deep shock" over the death of PCSO Julia James, the force's top police officer has said.

It's now a week since the 53-year-old’s body was found in Akholt Wood, close to her home in the village of Snowdown, near Dover in Kent.

The force has said it will be carrying out vehicle checks in the area as it tries to track down more witnesses.

Speaking after visiting flowers left in tribute to the PCSO, Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said “we will find who did this.”

But he reiterated messages shared this weekend about vigilance, warning the public need to be “very careful about going out alone”.

  • Chief Constable Alan Pughsley talks with ITV News Meridian reporter Kit Bradshaw

The local community are continuing to lay flowers and other tributes left for Julia James in Aylesham, just a few miles from where her body was found.

Speaking after visiting these tributes, Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said it was "great to see so many tributes remembering" her.

"You can imagine that the force are in deep shock with regards to what's happened to Julia," he said, adding that the force will "do all we can to find whoever did this to bring them to justice."

But with no suspect identified, the Chief Constable reiterated warnings to local people that they need to be "very vigilant" and "very careful about going out alone."

Police in Dover have spread a similar message to members of the public over the weekend, urging them to be “cautious, vigilant and aware of your surroundings” while out and about.

At a press conference on Friday, Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards declined to rule out that Ms James was killed by a stranger, someone she came across during her work, someone trying to steal her dog, or as part of a sexual assault.

Mr Richards would not comment on any potential murder weapon and also declined to say whether detectives had found signs of a struggle.