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Julia James ‘murder’: PCSO’s killer ‘laughs’ when police arrive at his house in bodycam footage

By Chiara Giordano
SWNS

The man accused of murdering police community support officer Julia James laughed at two of her colleagues and called them “phoney” just days before her death, a jury has heard.

Callum Wheeler, 22, from Aylesham, Kent, is on trial at Canterbury Crown Court for the alleged murder of the 53-year-old mother on 27 April last year. He accepts he killed her but denies murder.

The court was on Wednesday shown police bodycam footage captured by one of two PCSOs who went to the home Wheeler shared with his father in Sunshine Corner Avenue just 10 days earlier on 17 April after he made an abandoned 999 call.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said Wheeler’s father answered the door wearing headphones before calling up the stairs to tell the defendant the police were there.

She told the court: “The defendant appeared at the top of the stairs and told his father to turn off all the lights before he would come down the steps.

“The door was ajar and Callum Wheeler’s father walked into the lounge.

“PCSO McGuinness tried to engage with the defendant who was behind the door.

“He said it [the 999 call] must have been an accident and that he was joking.

“PCSO McGuiness beckoned for PCSO Carmichael to join her and her body camera captured part of the exchange.

“Callum Wheeler then began to say that the PCSOs were not real police and that they were phoney.

Gamekeeper Gavin Tucker captured this image of murder accused Callum Wheeler walking through fields near Aylesham, Kent, carrying a blue holdall with what prosecutors claim is the murder weapon covered with carrier bags poking out (Gavin Tucker/CPS)

“He said he was not going to talk to them, he told them to get lost, go on their way and bother someone else.

“The defendant was laughing behind the door saying it wasn’t even the real police.”

The prosecution alleges Ms James was killed with a metal railway jack which, they say, was later found in the defendant’s bedroom.

The trial also heard how Wheeler was photographed carrying his alleged weapon in a bag the day after Ms James’s death.

Jurors were shown an image of what the prosecution say was the defendant walking in fields near Aylesham on 28 April last year.

In the picture, taken by gamekeeper Gavin Tucker, who worked for nearby Nethersole Farm, a man the prosecution say was Wheeler is carrying a blue holdall with a long object poking out of it which is covered with carrier bags.

An illustration showing the route taken by Julia James on the day she died, mapped using data from her Apple watch (Kent Police)

Prosecutors allege the object was the railway jack Wheeler used to bludgeon Ms James.

The court was also shown dashcam footage from Mr Tucker’s vehicle which captured a conversation between the gamekeeper and Wheeler.

After being asked what he was doing, Wheeler said he was “lost or new to the area”, jurors heard.

Having seen the same man in the area on two occasions the previous September, Mr Tucker told the court: “I knew he was lying.”

As Wheeler hurried away, the gamekeeper called police to report “a suspicious fella I have just approached and he’s running off”.

PCSO Julia James was allegedly murdered while walking her dog near her home in Snowdown, Kent, in April 2021 (Kent Police)

Ms James was off-duty and walking her Jack Russell Toby in fields and woodland known as Ackholt Wood near the back of her home in Snowdown, Kent, when she was attacked.

The court previously heard how Ms James had on two occasions told her husband Paul James about passing a “really weird dude” on the bridle path of Ackholt Wood.

In February 2021, just weeks before she was killed, she and her husband had spotted the same man, loitering close to the murder scene.

Ms Morgan on Wednesday told the court that following Ms James’s death, and before Wheeler was arrested, Mr James helped police create an e-fit of the man they saw.

She said Mr James later identified Wheeler in an identification procedure as the man he had seen in Ackholt Wood when he was with his wife.

The trial continues.

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Dive Deeper:
Julia James ‘murder’: Killer tells police ‘yous are f****** dead’ during arrest over PCSO’s death
Callum Wheeler, 22, asked police ‘has my mum said something...well someone must have told you’ after they turned up at…
Accused was ‘caught on camera with murder weapon’ the day after PCSO’s death
Prosecutors say the object was the railway jack that Callum Wheeler, 22, used to bludgeon Julia James to death.
Julia James death: Jury retraces final steps of police community support officer attacked on dog walk
Julia James died from head injuries after she was attacked while walking her dog in Ackholt Wood, Kent
Jury retraces final steps of police community support officer killed on dog walk
Callum Wheeler accepts that he killed Julia James but denies murder, and is on trial at Canterbury Crown Court.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Julia James trial: Killer said PCSO ‘deserved to die’ and threatened to rape and murder women, court told
Callum Wheeler, 22, told police station staff his case was different because 53-year-old was ‘a copper’, jury hears
Accused hurled insults at officers during arrest over PCSO’s death, court told
Jurors were shown footage in which Callum Wheeler was heard threatening to attack officers.
Get all your news in one place