Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021

Man charged with murder of PCSO pokes tongue out as he leaves court in handcuffs

Callum Wheeler, the man who has been accused of murdering Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Julia James, poked his tongue out as he left court today (May 11).

The 21-year-old was filmed by BBC cameras leaving Medway Magistrates' Court with guards and being led into a prison van behind a gate.

Wheeler was arrested on Friday night (May 7) after the mum-of-two was found dead in Snowdown, Kent on April 27. He was charged with her murder yesterday (May 10).

The 53-year-old's body was discovered in Akholt Wood where she had been walking her dog Toby the evening before.

Wheeler, dressed in a grey tracksuit, appeared at the court and spoke to confirm his name, date of birth, and address during the short hearing.

He was remanded in custody until his next appearance at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday.

When being escorted to the prison van he turned to the cameras stationed outside the court and poked his tongue out as he was led in handcuffs.

Tom Richards, Assistant Chief Constable said the force is not "actively" seeking any further suspects in relation to Ms James' death.

He said it had been a "hugely challenging" two weeks since they opened the investigation.

He told reporters: “As many of you will be aware, yesterday shortly after 10pm detectives … charged a gentleman, Callum Wheeler, a 21-year-old man who lives in Aylesham, with the murder of Julia.

“Today we continue to appeal for witnesses. I am confident that there were people in the area at the time that we want to speak to.”

"I am keeping all options open, it's a huge step forward in the investigation, a breakthrough, that we have arrested somebody.

"I have no information to suggest at this stage that anyone else involved in this offence.

"We are not at this stage looking actively to make any further arrests."

But officers still want to hear from witnesses as police continue to keep "all options open".

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A number of searches have taken place in and around Akholt Wood and snowdown, as well as a home in Aylesham as part of the investigation.

Police say Ms James was bludgeoned to death and suffered severe head injuries.

She was off-duty when she was killed and her dog remained beside her body until she was found, officers previously said.

The mum was described as "fiercely loyal" by her heartbroken family.

Wheeler, from nearby Aylesham, was charged with murder on Monday after detectives were granted more time to question him in connection with the death of the police community support officer.

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