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Julia James: Kent PCSO's daughter urges people to light candles on doorsteps at 7pm a week after Snowdown murder

Candles will be lit on doorsteps this evening in memory of Julia James a week on from her brutal killing.

The PCSO and grandmother was found dead on the edge of woodland near her home in Snowdown - a quiet hamlet near Canterbury - last Tuesday, sparking a major murder investigation.

Julia James was found dead last Tuesday
Julia James was found dead last Tuesday

Mrs James' daughter, Bethan Coles, is now inviting people to light candles at 7pm tonight.

The call comes after another relative blasted what she says is a "lack of huge outrage" surrounding Mrs James' death.

In a post that has been liked and shared thousands of times on Facebook, Mrs Coles wrote: "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.

"I’ve been thinking perhaps we could ask those who wish to remember Mum to light a candle for her and leave it on their doorstep.

Julia James
Julia James

"This would be a beautiful nod to Mum in a way that doesn’t intrude on the police investigation."

Mum-of-two Mrs James, 53, was found dead with serious injuries on the edge of Ackholt Wood in Snowdown shortly after 4pm last Tuesday, with her Jack Russell Toby unharmed by her side.

She had been out walking the dog along a track when she was attacked, suffering fatal blunt force injuries.

New advice has now been issued to the public in the wake of the brutal killing, with no arrests made nor suspects identified by detectives.

Dover Chief Inspector Dab Carter said: "We understand if people are feeling uncertain at the moment about their safety following the death of PCSO Julia James in Snowdown.

"Remain cautious, vigilant and aware of your surroundings when you are out and about.

Police searching for clues in the hunt for the killer of Julia James. Picture UKNIP
Police searching for clues in the hunt for the killer of Julia James. Picture UKNIP

"Remember to keep your phone on you and charged, plan your route and tell someone where you are going and how long you will be".

No arrests have been made nor any suspect identified, so police are keeping an open mind.

Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards revealed at a press conference last week that police are leaving open the possibility Mrs James was attacked by a complete stranger, although stressed they were extremely rare, or that the suspect may have met Mrs James – who previously worked in Ashford and Tenterden – through her job.

Just weeks before Julia's death, dog walkers had been warned to be vigilant after an attempted dog-napping in the village.

None of her possessions had been taken and her beloved Jack Russell was by her side, unharmed.

Floral tributes have been laid in Aylesham village square in tribute to Mrs James
Floral tributes have been laid in Aylesham village square in tribute to Mrs James

As the search for Mrs James' killer continues, the hashtags #JusticeForJulia and #FindJuliasKiller have been trending on social media.

Over the weekend, family friend Nicola Spean shared a video showing people how they can help by putting a frame with the police appeal information line on their Facebook profile pictures.

In a post she said: "Please can all my friends share the posts re: Julia and please add this frame to your profile photo.

"Someone out there knows something. Someone will be noticing, or had noticed, changes in behaviour, something not quite right, something they cannot put their finger on.

"The person who did this is walking on our streets, is in our/your town. Please spread the news and if you think of anything please contact Kent Police. It is vital."

Julia James loved her job as a PCSO (46807290)
Julia James loved her job as a PCSO (46807290)

To use the frame on your picture, go to your profile and press the edit icon next to your photo, click add frame, search 'Justice for Julia', and then click save.

Some of the tributes from those using the hashtags have compared Mrs James' death to that of Sarah Everard who was killed after walking home through south London on March 4, but asked why there hasn't been the same level of national outrage.

The 33-year-old's body was found in Hoad's Wood behind the disused Great Chart Golf and Leisure complex near Ashford six days later.

One Twitter user said: "Julia lived a few miles from me. Same age. Another woman who was just walking home who never got there. Is it her age? Is it her job?

"I don't understand why people aren't going crazy about this. I knew of her professionally. Her killer is unknown. #JusticeForJulia."

Officers searching for clues in the Julia James murder investigation. Picture: UKNIP
Officers searching for clues in the Julia James murder investigation. Picture: UKNIP

Another said: "Let's make sure #JuliaJames murder is more visible on social media.

"Just because she was older than #SarahEverard and didn't live in London, she was still a woman murdered whilst out walking alone. #JusticeForJulia."

Writing in The Times, author India Knight shared those sentiments, adding: "Where is the outcry? Where is the huge vigil? Will the Duchess of Cambridge come with a posy?

"There isn’t a sliding scale. These lives were equally precious. They were equally meaningful. They are equally deserving of our grief."

Mrs James' cousin, Samantha Griffin took to Facebook to write: "Where is the uproar about my beautiful cousin? Where is the huge outrage and pouring of despair? Where are the vigils and protests about her murder?

"She was walking her dog, near her home. That's all...and somebody must know something about what happened.

Police in Snowdown last week. Picture: UKNIP
Police in Snowdown last week. Picture: UKNIP

"The person who did this is walking our streets and your communities. So let's stand up and make sure we swamp social media with her beautiful face in the hope that we can get information or the vile human who did this decides to hold their hands up!

"Our family, her friends and colleagues will not rest."

Mrs James' uncle Michael Turnbull has also paid tribute and pleaded with the public to help find her attacker, whom he has described as a 'worthless excuse for human being'.

Mrs James joined Kent Police in 2008 as a crime reduction PCSO in east Kent and throughout her career served the local community. Most recently Julia supported victims of domestic abuse in the Vulnerability Investigation Team, based at Canterbury police station.

Her family describe her as "fiercely loyal" and someone who "loved with her whole heart".

Floral tributes in Aylesham for Julia James
Floral tributes in Aylesham for Julia James

Speaking publicly for the first time on Friday, they 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."

Police presence in Aylesham remains high while investigations continue.

The force posted on Twitter urging anyone who has concerns or information to speak to officers while they are in the community.

Police are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area on Monday and Tuesday who may have seen something unusual or suspicious.

They are urged to contact Kent Police on 0800 0514526.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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