The cousin of murdered Kent Police PCSO Julia James has asked where the ‘huge outrage’ and ‘pouring of despair’ is after Julia’s body was found next to Akholt Wood in the Aylesham Road area just before 16:00 hours on Tuesday 27th April 2021. Julia has been out walking her dog when she was attacked.
In a post on Twitter, Sam Griffin said:
‘Where is the uproar about my beautiful cousin? Where is the huge outrage and pouring of despair? Where are the vigils and protests about her murder? She was walking her dog, near her home, thats all and somebody must know something!’.
A post-mortem examination was carried out on Thursday, 29 April and revealed Julia had died from significant head injuries. No arrests have yet been made.
Just over two months ago, Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, went missing after leaving a friend’s house near Clapham Common to walk home.
On 9th March, Wayne Couzens, a Metropolitan Police officer with the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Group, was arrested in Deal, Kent.
Initially, Couzens was arrested on suspicion of Sarah’s kidnapping and later on suspicion of her murder.
On 10th March, Sarah’s remains were discovered in woodland near Ashford, Kent.
Couzens was charged with kidnapping and murder two days later, following identification of the remains as those of Sarah.
Following the death of Sarah, candlelit vigils were held around the country as was widely reported in the mainstream media.
One such vigil held in Clapham Common on 13th March resulted in several police officers being injured, including one female police officer who was punched in the face, and police cars being damaged after a group called ‘Sisters Uncut’ called on their followers to meet at Clapham Common.
Sisters Uncut describe themselves as a: ‘feminist group taking direct action for domestic + sexual violence services since 2014’.
Before her tragic death, PCSO Julia James supported victims of domestic abuse in the Vulnerability Investigation Team, based at Canterbury police station.
In a tweet published on 13th March, which has since been deleted, a spokesperson for ‘Sisters Uncut’ said:
‘Meet at 6pm at the bandstand on Clapham Common. Bring flowers, candles, artwork, your sadness, banners, tissues, an umbrella, a face mask, and of course, all your rage’.
In the days since Julia’s death, the same group has not referenced Julia’s death in dozens of tweets that have instead centred on the ‘Kill The Bill’ protests.
However, the original organisers of the Clapham Common vigil, that was to be held for Sarah on 13th March and was arranged by ‘Reclaim These Streets’ – but was cancelled after consultation with the Met Police – tweeted on 30th April:
‘PCSO Julia James’ murder is heartbreaking – our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues. She was just walking her dog – a tragic reminder that women aren’t safe in our public spaces. We cannot allow the issue of women’s safety to be forgotten’.
In the wake of Julia’s death, the hashtag #justiceforjulia has been trending on social media.
Calls have been made to hold a vigil for Julia. But Julia’s daughter, Bethan Coles, has instead asked people to hold a silent vigil for her beloved mum.
In a post shared on social media, Ms Coles said:
‘I’m so grateful for people sharing posts for #justiceforjulia.
‘A number of people have asked about holding a vigil for Mum, and whilst I am so grateful for people wanting to remember her, I am very conscious that any gathering would need to be policed (if it was even allowed), I’ve discussed this with my family and we are all in agreement that we would prefer all police resources to be concentrating on the investigation as there is so much work to be done.
‘I’ve been thinking perhaps we could ask those who wish to remember Mum to light a candle for her and leave it on their doorstep. This would be a beautiful nod to Mum in a way that doesn’t intrude on the police investigation.
‘Tomorrow marks a week since we lost Mum. At 7pm I will light a candle for her. #justiceforjulia’.
Julia, 53, joined Kent Police in 2008 as a crime reduction PCSO in east Kent and served the local community throughout her career.
A statement from Julia’s family read:
‘There are no words to adequately describe the void left in our lives by the death of our mum.
‘She was so much to so many people; a wife, mother, daughter, nanny, sister and a friend.
‘Mum was fiercely loyal, she loved with her whole heart and nothing was too much trouble for the people she cared about.
‘She had a beautiful smile and was always quick to laugh, she was so naturally funny with a brilliant sense of humour.
‘It’s difficult to describe a person in a few sentences, to describe who they truly were is impossible, but the people who knew her will know how kind she was and how she would bring so much fun and life to a room.
‘Her loss will be felt by us every moment of every day. She will be so sorely missed. As a family we are trying to understand how we will navigate our lives without her, it seems an impossible task.
‘We would like to thank everybody who has messaged and left flowers, the outpouring of love and support from friends, the local community and our policing family has been enormous.
‘After meeting with the police we have every confidence that they are doing everything within their power to find the person responsible and I urge everybody who may have any information, however small or insignificant to contact the police. You could be helping us get justice for Julia.’
Officers continue to appeal for information and are keen to speak to anyone who was in the Akholt Wood area on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th April who may have seen something unusual or suspicious. Motorists who may have been passing through the area have also been asked to check their dash-cam footage.
Anyone with any information is being urged to contact Kent Police on 0800 0514 526. Anyone with video footage can submit it online by clicking here. Information can also be passed to Crimestoppers, anonymously, by calling 0800 111 555.
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