Police staffer found dead in woods in ‘suspicious circumstances’

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A woman who was discovered dead in a field near a sleepy village in Kent on Tuesday had been named as a police community support officer.

The body of serving Kent Police PCSO Julia James, 53, was discovered in Snowdown near Aylesham, Kent, at around 4.10pm on Tuesday, April 27.

Kent Police has confirmed the victim was a woman in her 50s and that she was a PCSO, KentLive reports.

No arrests have been made at this time but detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are conducting inquiries to establish the circumstances.

Her death is being treated as suspicious, officers confirmed.

People in the area have been warned to 'remain vigilant until the full circumstances of the death are established'.

Officers have now launched an appeal for anyone with information about the incident to come forward and contact them.

Assistant Chief Constable of Kent Police Tom Richards said: "Officers are carrying out a number of lines of enquiry to establish the circumstances and people in the Snowdown area will see an increased police presence as a result.

"It saddens me to confirm that the victim was a serving PCSO for Kent Police and whilst there is a full and thorough investigation underway our thoughts also remain with her family, friends and colleagues.

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"It is vitally important that anyone who was in the area on Monday and Tuesday who may have seen something suspicious gets in touch with us.

"We’re particularly keen to speak to those who regularly visit the area who may have seen something out of place and those who drove by who have dashcam footage.

"We would advise people in the area to remain vigilant until the full circumstances of the death are established."

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KentLive's reporter at the scene said: "There is quite a big perimeter in place – five or six police cars parked up on Aylesham Road.

"Appears police are searching land to the west of the Aylesham Road."

Leah Southwell, 18, described the scene as officers arrived on Tuesday.

She said: "The whole road was swarmed with police.

"Last night about 10 o'clock, I looked out my window and there were sirens, blue lights all down my road.

"At around fourish there were two vans, a little van and a squad car, and there was a fire engine as well.

"Nothing ever happens around here.

"It's just shocking to be honest."

A large emergency services presence remains at the scene, with Aylesham Road remaining shut from the junction with Spinney Lane to The Crescent in Snowdown while police conduct their enquiries.

Officers are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 April who may have seen something unusual or suspicious.

They are urged to contact Kent Police on 0800 0514 526. Anyone with video forage can submit it online.

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