The uncle of the police community support officer Julia James has urged the public to help find the “monster” who killed her, as the investigation entered its sixth day with no arrests yet made.
Michael Turnball, 65, implored the public to contact Kent police if they had any information that could help catch the perpetrator, who he said had left behind a “family full of broken hearts and sadness”.
“I have loved Julia since the day she was born,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Julia is funny, kind, caring, always saw the good in people and most of all full of love. Julia has been taken from us by some worthless cowardly excuse for a human being. Please share this and let us find this monster before he can cause more grief to another family.”
James, 53, was found dead on Tuesday afternoon on a footpath in Akholt Wood close to her home in the village of Snowdown, near Dover. Her jack russell terrier Toby was found unharmed by her body, and a postmortem found that the officer had been killed by several blows to the head.
James’s daughter Bethan Coles, who is also an officer with Kent police, changed her Facebook profile picture to one of her with her mother. The strapline reads: “Help us find #justiceforjulia” with a number to contact Kent police.
A friend, Tammy Winstone, urged the public to report anything strange or unusual, however insignificant it may seem. She wrote on Facebook on Friday night: “Somewhere out there, living and breathing, is the person that did this. Walking amongst you and your communities. You think this could never happen to you. I’m afraid to tell you that it can.
“Anything you may have seen, heard or even had a gut feeling about. Maybe someone you’ve seen out and about, on a train, on a bus, in a supermarket … Please call it in!”
National Crime Agency investigators have been brought in to help Kent police find the killer. Tom Richards, an assistant chief constable with the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said at a press conference on Friday: “I do not at this stage have an identified suspect. We do not know what the motive for this attack is.”
James was not in uniform when she was killed and police are still considering “all possible” motives. Richards did not rule out James having been killed by a stranger, someone she knew through work, as part of sexual assault, or by someone trying to steal the dog.
Police in Dover have encouraged people to remain vigilant until they have fully established what happened. Locals have been encouraged to speak to community officers patrolling the area if they have information or concerns.
Officers have continued to comb woodlands over the weekend for clues, as family, friends and colleagues lay floral tributes. A floral bouquet left on the village green in in Aylesham from colleagues at the Kent police read: “For our dear colleague Julia, a service so highly regarded. A precious life so tragically taken. We will leave no stone unturned.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Kent police on 0800 0514 526.