Boris Johnson pays tribute to PCSO Julia James as candles lit in her memory

Her grieving daughter Bethan Coles had called on people to light candles and put them on their doorsteps, rather than gather for a vigil.

A lit candle marks one week since the death of PCSO Julia James
A lit candle marks one week since the death of PCSO Julia James

Boris Johnson has said his thoughts are with the family of murdered PCSO Julia James, as mourners lit candles in her memory.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said: “Tonight we remember PCSO Julia James.

“My thoughts are with her friends and family”.

In a poignant moment on Tuesday evening, a solitary candle was lit outside her family home in Snowdown, Kent.

It was one of many flickering in the local community Ms James served as a popular community support officer.

A group of people also gathered in nearby Aylesham where flowers have been laid in the days following her killing.

Candles were also lit by police colleagues and members of the public further afield, in quiet tribute to the fallen officer.

Her grieving daughter Bethan Coles had called on people to leave candles outside their houses, rather than gather for a vigil, saying it would be a “beautiful nod” to her mother while allowing police to focus on the murder investigation.

Ms James, 53, was found dead in Akholt Wood, close to her family home, in the village of Snowdown, a week ago.

The popular PCSO – described as “fiercely loyal” by her devastated family – died from serious head injuries while out walking her dog.

No arrests have been made in connection with her death.

Detectives have been considering “all possible” motives for the murder, while warning the public to be vigilant.

Ahead of the candle-lightning, Ms Coles said in a Facebook post: “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 in agreement that we would prefer all police resources to be concentrating on the investigation as there is so much work to be done.”

Patrick James, the son of PCSO Julia James, looks at floral tributes left near her family home in Snowdown, near Aylesham, Kent
Patrick James, the son of PCSO Julia James, looks at floral tributes left near her family home in Snowdown, near Aylesham, Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Instead she suggested people wishing to remember her mother should light a candle and leave it on their doorstep.

She added: “This would be a beautiful nod to Mum in a way that doesn’t intrude on the police investigation.”

Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley told ITV that the force was “in deep shock” following the death of Ms James.

Speaking after visiting flowers left in her memory, the chief constable vowed to find her killer.

He said: “You can imagine that the force are in deep shock with regard to what’s happened to Julia.

“We will do all we can to find out whoever did this to bring them to justice.”

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