Daughter of murdered PCSO Julia James, 53, shares poignant photo of her mother

The daughter of murdered PCSO Julia James has shared a poignant photo of her mother, as police probe whether her killing had a potential sexual motive, or if the attack was revenge for her work as an officer.

Bethan Coles posted the image of the two of them smiling on Facebook, with a message urging friends to 'Help us find #justiceforjulia'.

The family has paid an emotional tribute to the 'fiercely loyal' officer, whose death in a quiet Kent hamlet has sparked a huge response in the hunt for her killer. 

Detectives are probing if she died in a 'sexually-motivated' attack where she was killed from 'blunt force injuries' - after it emerged a flasher had made an indecent exposure weeks earlier.

Kent Police confirmed it was 'an important line of enquiry' as they revealed Julia, 53, had died of 'significant head injuries'. 

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Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards would not reveal whether the body was fully clothed when discovered but said: 'There are number of potential motives and I'd be lying if I didn't consider [a sex attack] as one of them.'

Another theory being explored is that her death was revenge for her police work in the Canterbury area, in which she specialised in domestic violence.

In a poignant statement last night, Julia's family said: 'There are no words to adequately describe the void left in our lives by the death of our mum.

'She was so much to so many people; a wife, mother, daughter, nanny, sister and a friend.

'Mum was fiercely loyal, she loved with her whole heart and nothing was too much trouble for the people she cared about.

'She had a beautiful smile and was always quick to laugh, she was so naturally funny with a brilliant sense of humour.

'It's difficult to describe a person in a few sentences, to describe who they truly were is impossible, but the people who knew her will know how kind she was and how she would bring so much fun and life to a room.

'Her loss will be felt by us every moment of every day. She will be so sorely missed. As a family we are trying to understand how we will navigate our lives without her, it seems an impossible task.

'We would like to thank everybody who has messaged and left flowers, the outpouring of love and support from friends, the local community and our policing family has been enormous.

'After meeting with the police we have every confidence that they are doing everything within their power to find the person responsible and I urge everybody who may have any information, however small or insignificant to contact the police. You could be helping us get justice for Julia.'

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Bethan Coles posted the image of her and her mother smiling on Facebook, with a message urging friends to 'Help us find #justiceforjulia'

Bethan Coles posted the image of her and her mother smiling on Facebook, with a message urging friends to 'Help us find #justiceforjulia'

Police Community Support Officers look at flowers left in memory of PCSO Julia James in Aylesham, Kent, whose body was discovered at Akholt Wood on Tuesday

Police Community Support Officers look at flowers left in memory of PCSO Julia James in Aylesham, Kent, whose body was discovered at Akholt Wood on Tuesday

Police officers search a field close to the hamlet of Snowdown, near Aylesham, East Kent, where the body of PCSO Julia James was discovered

Police officers search a field close to the hamlet of Snowdown, near Aylesham, East Kent, where the body of PCSO Julia James was discovered

Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards would not reveal whether the body was fully clothed when discovered but said: 'There are number of potential motives and I'd be lying if I didn't consider [a sex attack] as one of them'

Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards would not reveal whether the body was fully clothed when discovered but said: 'There are number of potential motives and I'd be lying if I didn't consider [a sex attack] as one of them'

Dozens of flowers have been left near the scene of the shocking attack, as tributes continue to pour in for the 'fiercely loyal' officer

Dozens of flowers have been left near the scene of the shocking attack, as tributes continue to pour in for the 'fiercely loyal' officer

Julia had finished her shift and headed out from home with her Jack Russell at around 3pm on Tuesday - her body, with her loyal dog sat next to it, was found at 4pm

Julia had finished her shift and headed out from home with her Jack Russell at around 3pm on Tuesday - her body, with her loyal dog sat next to it, was found at 4pm

The police worker was found on a path at the edge of a field behind her house at 4pm in neighbouring Snowdown on Tuesday afternoon with her faithful Jack Russell, Toby, by her side.

Police are treating her death as murder and fear she may have been killed by a random stranger. Officers investigating the tragedy have been made aware of another potential incident earlier this month

ACC Richards said she died from 'blunt forces injuries' after she was hit repeatedly over the head by a heavy implement.

The officer leading the investigation said: 'We do not at this stage have any identified suspects. We are keeping all options open while we fully investigate the circumstances of this matter and try to understand exactly what happened. We do not at this stage understand the motive for the attack.

'I would like to appeal for witnesses. If anybody saw anything suspicious or strange on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week we are very, very anxious to speak to them.'

Earlier Tim Smith, deputy chief constable of Kent Police, said: 'I can confirm that we have launched a murder investigation, we have hundreds of officers working on that investigation.

'I can't go into a lot of detail for perhaps very obvious reasons, but it is fair to say there are a number of different lines of inquiry, we are working very hard to identify a motive. It is right to say we have got no clear suspects at this time.

'We have huge teams of very specialist officers working on this to try to get to the bottom of this.'

Asked if police had been able to rule out if the murder could have been sexually motivated, he replied: 'That will be an important line of enquiry, I am not able to say either way at this stage. We are keeping a very open mind about the motive.

'At this time I think we can say as much as Julia died from significant head injuries.'

'We recognised with such a crime of this nature there will be a lot of speculation, I am not able to say at this stage what we think have motivated this crime. At this stage it would be wrong for me to speculate at this stage.

'The advice I would give people is to make sure they know what has happened. You have asked the question about stranger attacks, that remains a possibility, so I would want people in that area to know that and make decisions about their everyday lives and how they live it,' he added to BBC Radio Kent.

The comments came as it emerged there had been a 'flasher' in the village but it had not been reported. One woman told The Times: 'The victim was shocked she didn't want take much notice. She didn't take it further.' 

And it came the day after it was revealed that a female dog walker was confronted by a prowler in a van one mile away from where the murder happened.

The woman is said to have been accosted by a man in a white transit vehicle as she walked along a quiet path in the village of Nonnington, Kent, two weeks ago.  She managed to distract him before fleeing and shouting out for help.

It is also understood PCSOs patrolling the village near Canterbury have warned women out walking their dogs to 'veer from their normal route' and avoid the woodland areas after their colleague's death. 

Hundreds of police are scouring the crime scene for clues, with colleagues of the murdered PCSO paying tribute to their fallen comrade, promising her: 'Your duty is done. We will take it from here'.

The message from the 'guys in blue' was among a growing number of flowers, cards and candles left for her, in her home village of Snowdown, where she was attacked on a footpath while walking her dog after finishing her shift 48 hours ago. 

As Kent Police investigate the murder of one of their own, it has emerged: 

Detectives piece together Julia James final movements in the hour before she was murdered after leaving her home with her dog. She is believed to have been working from home and just finished for the day. There have been no arrests; Officers continue to search woodland for clues as hunt for Julia's killer continue. Police are also going door-to-door and have visited a traveller site close to crime scene in hunt for witnesses; Julia's married her husband Paul, a hypnotherapist, in 2017. She has two children – a daughter who also works for the police and a 23-year-old son – as well as an infant grandson. Her ex-partner Wayne also admits it could be something to do with her work in the domestic violence unit. He added: 'It immediately reminded me of what happened with Lin and Megan Russell in Chillenden, which is just 2.5miles away'; 

Julia's family have released this new picture of her along with a statement paying tribute to her and appealing for witnesses

Julia's family have released this new picture of her along with a statement paying tribute to her and appealing for witnesses

Julia James, a serving PCSO for Kent Police for 15 years, starting under her maiden name Ghost, was found dead on a secluded footpath in Snowdown, near Dover, at 4pm on Tuesday with locals fearing that a 'nutter is on the loose'

Julia James, a serving PCSO for Kent Police for 15 years, starting under her maiden name Ghost, was found dead on a secluded footpath in Snowdown, near Dover, at 4pm on Tuesday with locals fearing that a 'nutter is on the loose'

Police hunting for her killer also left flowers thanking her for her 'duty' and promising they would 'take it from here'

Another tribute promised her she would 'never be forgotten'

Police hunting for her killer also left flowers thanking her for her 'duty' and promising they would 'take it from here'. Another tribute promised her she would 'never be forgotten'

 

Mourners, including police officers and PCSOs, have left flowers commemoration wheel for those associated with Snowdown Colliery in the historic village green and at the entrance to a bridleway where Julia took her final journey

Mourners, including police officers and PCSOs, have left flowers commemoration wheel for those associated with Snowdown Colliery in the historic village green and at the entrance to a bridleway where Julia took her final journey

These forensics officer were seen taking away items from the scene including what appears to be a blue bag or an item of clothing

These forensics officer were seen taking away items from the scene including what appears to be a blue bag or an item of clothing

Huge numbers of forensics teams and rank-and-file officers are out in the fields around her home looking for evidence and a murder weapon, including a team on the left with a metal detector, suggesting that they could be hunting for a weapon like a hammer or a knife

Huge numbers of forensics teams and rank-and-file officers are out in the fields around her home looking for evidence and a murder weapon, including a team on the left with a metal detector, suggesting that they could be hunting for a weapon like a hammer or a knife

Julia, pictured with her hypnotherapist husband Paul, worked in the Kent Police domestic violence team and had been commended for bravery after chasing a  shoplifter in her 15 year police career

Mrs James's ex-partner Wayne Davis revealed how their son Patrick broke the news of her death to their family

Julia, pictured with her hypnotherapist husband Paul, worked in the Kent Police domestic violence team and had been commended for bravery after chasing a  shoplifter in her 15 year police career. Mrs James's ex-partner Wayne Davis (right) revealed how their son Patrick broke the news of her death to their family, calling her 'the love of my life'

PCSO's murder has chilling echoes of notorious Chillenden killings: Body was found less than three miles from spot where mother and daughter were bludgeoned to death 25 years ago 

The body of murdered PSCO Julia James, 53, was found on Tuesday on a path at the edge of Akholt Wood in Snowdown, near Aylesham in Kent. 

This is just two and a half miles from Cherry Garden Lane in the neighbouring village of Chillenden, where Lin Russell, 45, was murdered alongside her six-year-old daughter Megan in July 1996.

Ms James was attacked while out walking her dog, with police warning the public to be vigilant over fears she could have been targeted by a random attacker, while Dr Russell and her two daughters were walking home from a swimming competition. 

Wayne Davis, who was with Mrs James for 13 years before their split in 2009, drew a comparison between both tragedies. 

'It immediately reminded me of what happened with Lin and Megan Russell in Chillenden, which is just 2.5miles away,' he said. 

Lin Russell, 45, and her daughter Megan, six were murdered in Kent in 1996

Lin Russell, 45, and her daughter Megan, six were murdered in Kent in 1996

Michael Stone was later convicted of murdering Dr Russell and Megan on July 9, 1996.

Stone tied them up before blindfolding them and beating them to death with a hammer. Megan's sister Josie, then nine, survived the brutal attack, leaving her traumatised and unable to speak for a whole year. 

Stone also killed the family dog, Lucy. Meanwhile, mother-of-two Ms James' Jack Russell terrier stayed with her body until it was found lying on a path

Stone was handed three life sentences for the attack

Stone was handed three life sentences for the attack 

The random attack shocked the nation and sparked one of the biggest manhunts in British police history, with Stone, then 37, arrested more than a year later and charged.  

He was given three life sentences being found guilty at two trials - he also lost an appeal. The basis of his conviction was a confession to a fellow prisoner. 

Josie went on to rebuild her life after the tragedy, and in 2009 graduated from Coleg Menai in Bangor with a degree in graphic design. She started a greeting card business before moving on to producing textile landscapes, which now sell for up to £500 each. 

Stone has always protested his innocence and insisted Milly Dowler's killer Levi Bellfield was to blame. He lost his latest bid to have his conviction overturned in 2019. 

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Julia's former partner also told MailOnline he fears the 'love of his life' may have been killed due to her job helping victims of domestic violence, with dozens of her police colleagues now carrying out fingertip searches on the route she had taken before she died. 

Mrs James' neighbours are said to be 'scared' that a dangerous 'nutter is on the loose' as it emerged she may have been killed by a random attacker with locals admitting they are now too 'terrified' to walk their own dogs after the married mother-of-two died.

Residents of Snowdown, near Dover, have been urged to be vigilant after Mrs James, who had worked as a PCSO for nearly 15 years and had been commended for bravery for chasing down a shoplifter, was found dead. 

Kent Police have not revealed if they have found a murder weapon, but with van after van of officers arriving to search paths, hedges and woodland, it suggests not. A specialist dog unit has also been brought in to aid search teams in the trees next to where Julia was found dead and later a team of men with metal detectors arrived, suggesting they are looking for a hidden metallic item like a hammer or knife.  

As officers sealed off fields and footpaths in the area, mourners left flowers on the commemoration wheel for Snowdown's historic colliery and at the entrance to a bridleway where Julia took her final journey.

One from colleagues had a note which read: 'PCSO Julia James. Your duty is done. Take it easy for now we will take it from here! Thinking of your family at this time. From the guys in blue xx' Another bouquet was left by a friend Becki with a note calling her 'the kindest person I've ever met', and thanking her for always making her laugh. 

Referring to locals' claims that a female dog walker was confronted by a prowler in a van, a spokesman for Kent Police said: 'This is a live investigation and we continue to carry out enquiries to establish the circumstances. 

'We will not be commenting or speculating on any individual lines of enquiry at this time.'

The small hamlet of Snowdown, a former mining community halfway between Canterbury and Dover, are deep in grief and shock today, and many are also fearful. 

Charles Woodgate, who represents Aylesham, Eythorne and Shepherdswell on Dover District Council, said: 'People in the village are scared there was some crazy nutter in the woods who is now on the loose. They fear it was a stranger who killed Julia and hopefully the police catch them quickly.'

Wayne Davis, who was with Julia for

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