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Julia James: Man found guilty of murdering off-duty PCSO as she walked dog in woods near her home

A person has been found guilty of murdering PCSO Julia James as she walked her dog in the Kent countryside near her home.

Callum Wheeler, 22, from Aylesham, Kent, admitted killing the off-duty police neighborhood help officer on the primary day of his trial at Canterbury Crown Court however denied homicide.

However, a jury convicted him of the cost after only one hour and 10 minutes of deliberations on Monday. He will likely be sentenced at a later date.

Wheeler didn’t react when the guilty verdict was delivered at Canterbury Crown Court.

When requested to face to listen to the decision, he didn’t stand himself however was as an alternative held up by members of workers in the dock.

Before retiring to deliberate their verdict on Monday, the jury was advised how Wheeler was an “angry, violent, strange, highly sexualised man”.

The trial beforehand heard how a household out strolling near Ackholt Wood on 27 April 2021 found Ms James’s physique after they noticed her Jack Russell Toby operating round together with his lead nonetheless connected however no proprietor.

The 53-year-old was mendacity face down and unresponsive with severe head accidents on the sting of a farmer’s discipline near the woodland.

Jurors heard how knowledge from her Apple smartwatch helped piece collectively her remaining actions as she took her common route by means of woods near the again of her home in Snowdown, Kent, earlier than her heartrate out of the blue spiked and she ran off the woodland path.

Gamekeeper Gavin Tucker captured this picture of Wheeler strolling by means of fields near Aylesham, Kent, carrying a blue holdall with what prosecutors declare was the weapon used to kill PCSO Julia James

(Gavin Tucker/CPS)

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC advised the court docket coronary heart rate and strolling velocity knowledge and the very fact the sufferer had a fractured left wrist indicated it was possible she was chased by her attacker after which fell both from the primary blow from her attacker or by tripping.

The trial was proven {a photograph} taken the day after Ms James’s loss of life by Gavin Tucker, a gamekeeper who labored for a close-by farm, which confirmed Wheeler carrying a blue holdall with an extended object coated with provider baggage poking out of it.

The prosecution advised the court docket the merchandise was a steel railway jack seized from the defendant’s room which had been used to bludgeon Ms James.

A Home Office pathologist who carried out the autopsy examination of Ms James’s physique concluded she was “subjected to a very violent and sustained assault to the head” with a heavy object.

Wheeler bludgeoned James to loss of life with a steel railway jack as she walked her dog

(Kent Police)

Dr Olaf Biedrzycki advised the court docket Ms James’s head and brain accidents would have been “completely unsurvivable even with immediate medical intervention” and had been “among the worst” he had ever seen.

Before retiring to deliberate their verdict on Monday, the jury was advised how Wheeler was an “angry, violent, strange, highly sexualised man”.

The steel railway jack seized from Wheeler’s bed room

(Kent Police/PA)

In summing up, Ms Morgan advised jurors “rape” was “plainly” on Wheeler’s thoughts and he “intended to cause her at least really serious harm”.

The prosecutor added that Wheeler “planned this attack over many days and weeks”.

She stated: “He toured around the area on numerous occasions and on occasions with the weapon looking for the moment to strike.

“He knew those woods. He knew people walked dogs in those woods. He knew if he waited for the right moment there would be a lone female passing when nobody else was around.

Wheeler told police ‘yous are f****** dead’ after they turned up to arrest him

(CPS)

“He had planned this attack and how he would carry it out. This is not some spontaneous attack of rage. This was an ambush where the defendant intended to surprise the victim.”

Pointing to the search historical past found on Wheeler’s laptop computer which confirmed he visited quite a few pornographic web sites and Googled the phrase “rape” two days earlier than the assault, Ms Morgan stated: “That was what the prosecution say was plainly on his mind when he was armed and ready to commit an attack of that nature.”

A autopsy examination of Ms James’s physique found no indicators of “sustained or violent sexual assault”, nevertheless the pathologist who carried it out stated “the lack of such injuries would not necessarily rule this out”.

James’s bodd was found on the sting of Ackholt Wood near her home in Snowdown, Kent

(SWNS)

Jurors beforehand heard Wheeler’s DNA was found on the left breast of Ms James’s white vest prime, which she was carrying beneath a jumper and a raincoat.

Addressing jurors for the primary time in his closing speech on Monday, Oliver Blunt QC, defending Wheeler, stated he was 21 on the time of the offence and had no earlier convictions or cautions recorded towards him.

He advised the court docket Wheeler’s behaviour earlier than and after the killing didn’t make sense, and that the railway jack was unwieldy and troublesome to hide as a weapon.

Describing the assault, Mr Blunt stated: “This appears to be a completely motiveless, random, senseless, inexplicable incident.”

He advised the jury they need to determine: “Did Mr Wheeler have the clarity of purpose on 27 April to form the intent to kill or do serious harm, or was it simply a question of doing some harm at the very least?”

He additionally argued there was no proof of sexual assault, together with on Ms James’s decrease clothes.

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