Published: 07:37, 13 May 2021
| Updated: 16:39, 13 May 2021
A 21-year-old man will stand trial accused of the murder of PCSO Julia James in November - with a motive for the seemingly random attack remaining unclear.
Callum Wheeler leaves Medway Magistrates' Court earlier this week
He appeared before Maidstone Crown Court this morning via prison link from Belmarsh before senior judge Philip Statman and has been remanded in custody to next appear on June 8, with a trial date set for November 29.
He is accused of inflicting serious head injuries on the 53-year-old while she was out walking her Jack Russell, Toby.
Wheeler, who is expected to go on trial for four weeks beginning November 29, spoke only to confirm his name and details.
Prosecutor Martin Yale said that no members of the the victim's family were present.
He told the hearing:"He is charged with the murder of Julia James and there is no application for bail."
Mr Yale said officers were still working on forensic evidence, including an iron bar and officers were also trying to establish a possible motive for the extremely violent and apparently random attack.
Three police officers, including Det Chief Inspector Gavin Moss, involved in the investigation all attended the 18-minute hearing which was delayed after links to the prison were broken.
Wheeler is expected to enter his pleas at the next hearing on June 8, when he will appear in court.
Lesley Manley, defending, said that lawyers were looking at the possibility of a psychiatric report prior to the beginning of the four-week trial
Wheeler was arrested at 9.30pm on Friday night and questioned over the weekend.
He was charged on Monday with the murder of Julia, who worked with the domestic violence unit at Canterbury police station.
A post-mortem investigation revealed she suffered "significant head injuries", sparking a widespread hunt for her killer.
Wheeler's appearance in court comes just over two weeks into a painstaking investigation which has seen Snowdown become a hive of police activity.
Officers have been scouring the area in and around where Julia's body was found by members of the public on the edge of Ackholt Wood.
She had been working from home that day before taking her Jack Russell, Toby, for a walk.
The dog was by her side, unharmed, when she was discovered dead at about 4pm.
Police taped off the scene and have since set up a number of other cordons around the quiet hamlet, which only has about 50 homes.
There is still a large police presence in the area, with a number of tents erected to preserve evidence.
Officers spent days in Sunshine Corner Avenue, where Wheeler's home was first cordoned off on Friday night.
Forensics teams were seen on Monday morning removing bags from the house.
Julia lived about a mile away, in The Crescent, Snowdown. She was a much-loved mum, wife and grandmother.
Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards, from Kent Police, said: “We continue to urge anyone with information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, to contact us.
“If you were in the Snowdown area between 1pm and 4.30pm on Tuesday, April 27, please contact us."
Anyone with information about Julia's death is urged to call police on 0800 0514526.