Home Kent News Gutted friends pay tribute to ‘smiley’ PCSO as police launch murder probe

Gutted friends pay tribute to ‘smiley’ PCSO as police launch murder probe

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Original article from Kent Live

Tributes have been pouring in for a Kent PCSO whose body was found on a woodland path on Tuesday (April 27).

53-year-old Julia James, who has been described as "one of the nicest people you could ever meet", was a serving Kent Police community support officer.

The force has advised people in Aylesham, near Dover, to remain vigilant’ as officers continue with their enquiries today (April 28).

News first broke late on Tuesday evening when police and forensics teams descended on the small Kent village nestled between Dover and Canterbury.

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After Kent Police today confirmed the body found was that of Julia James, friends have rushed to pay tribute to the popular PCSO online.

One friend commented: “Julia was one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet. Rest in peace, dear friend.

"She had a great sense of humour. I have fond memories of the time we worked together. Absolutely gutted for her family."

Another added: “She was such a lovely warm friendly lady who enjoyed a bit of fun and loved her family.

"We had planned drinks in the garden when the weather was warmer. I shall raise a glass to her. Absolutely gutted."

PCSO Julia James, 53, was found dead yesterday in Aylesham, where police are treating her death as "suspicious"

A third said: “She was such a beautiful person inside and out with a good heart.”

And a fourth added: "Absolutely devastating news. It was a pleasure to have known and worked with Julia."

Kent Police's investigations are still continuing, with the force now treating Julia's death as murder.

Pictures taken on Wednesday afternoon showed search teams scanning through woodland as they continued their search for answers following the death of one of their own.

A police officer stands watch by a Kent Police van near the scene of the incident in Aylesham

Assistant Chief Constable at Kent Police, Tom Richards said: “It saddens me to confirm that the victim was a serving PCSO for Kent Police and whilst there is a full and thorough investigation underway our thoughts remain with her family, friends and colleagues."

Julia's body was found in Akholt Wood, which sits between Aylesham and Snowdown.

'Close-knit community'

People living in the tiny hamlet of Snowdown have also been paying respects to someone who was very much part of their tight knit community.

Several police vehicles can be seen along Aylesham Road

Michael Bates, a local resident, told KentLive: "It's a very family friendly, close-knit community, everybody tends to look out for everybody else, having children neighbours will keep a close eye on them.

"To be honest with you I haven't really processed it, obviously we've just found out today. It's a shock.

"She was always friendly, because it is so small everybody is like that."

Linda Keen, councillor for Aylesham, Eythorne and Shepherdswell, added: "It's absolutely dreadful news and a tragedy for the woman, her family and the local community who must be in shock.

"This sort of incident is very atypical for Aylesham and doesn't really happen here.

"I'm sure the police will do absolutely everything they can to establish what has happened."

You can keep up to date with all the latest developments here.

Original Article