Julia James: Trial date set for man accused of police community support officer’s murder

A trial date has been set for the man accused of murdering of police community support officer Julia James.

Callum Wheeler, 21, from Aylesham, is accused of inflicting serious head injuries on the 53-year-old while she was out walking her dog.

Ms James was found dead in Akholt Wood, close to her home in Snowdown, Kent, on 27 April, with her Jack Russell dog Toby by her side.

Wheeler was arrested last Friday and charged with her murder on Monday, first appearing at Medway Magistrates’ Court the following day.

He appeared via video link from Belmarsh prison for the 12-minute hearing at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday wearing a grey T-shirt and grey trousers with a black face-mask.

Prosecutor Martin Yale told the court “a number of forensic inquiries” remained outstanding in relation to the case, including an iron bar.

No members of Ms James’ family were in court on Thursday.

Police officers sitting in the public gallery included Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Moss from Kent Police – where Ms James had worked.

Judge Philip Statman set a trial date for 29 November.

No plea was entered to the murder charge and no application for bail was made by Wheeler’s counsel, Lesley Manley.

The judge said he recognised the case was “high profile” and remanded the defendant in custody.

“There being no application for bail, in the circumstances, having looked at all the matters, it is right and proper the defendant should remain in custody.”

Kent Police is still appealing for witnesses in the case and earlier this week staged a reconstruction of Ms James’ last known movements, featuring Toby the dog and an actress wearing identical clothing.

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