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Daughter asks mourners to light candles in ‘beautiful nod’ to Julia James


By PA News

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The grieving daughter of PCSO Julia James is to lead mourners in lighting candles for her mother on Tuesday evening.

Bethan Coles has asked people to leave candles on their doorsteps as a “beautiful nod” to the police community support officer.

Tuesday marks 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.

PCSO Julia James was found dead in Akholt Wood, close to the Kent hamlet of Snowdown, where she lived (Kent Police/PA)
PCSO Julia James was found dead in Akholt Wood, close to the Kent hamlet of Snowdown, where she lived (Kent Police/PA)

The popular PCSO – described as “fiercely loyal” by her devastated family – died from serious head injuries while out walking her dog.

A local police chief has assured the community that “some of the very best detectives in the land” are working to bring Ms James’s killer to justice.

A minute’s silence in Ms James’s memory will be observed by officers and staff from across Kent Police at 2.30pm on Tuesday.

In a Facebook post, Ms Coles said: “A number of people have asked about holding a vigil for Mum, and whilst I am so grateful for people wanting to remember her, I am very conscious that any gathering would need to be policed (if it was even allowed).

“I’ve discussed this with my family and we are in agreement that we would prefer all police resources to be concentrating on the investigation as there is so much work to be done.”

Instead she suggested people wishing to remember her mother should light a candle for her and leave it on their doorstep.

She added: “This would be a beautiful nod to Mum in a way that doesn’t intrude on the police investigation.”

Police officers search fields close to the Kent hamlet of Snowdown (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Police officers search fields close to the Kent hamlet of Snowdown (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Police in Dover have urged members of the public 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.


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