The family of PCSO Julia James has paid a touching tribute after a man was convicted of her murder. Jurors found Callum Wheeler, 22, guilty following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court.
The 52-year-old was beaten to death as she walked her Jack Russell dog Toby in the countryside near her home in Snowdown. In closing speeches today at Canterbury Crown Court, prosecutor Alison Morgan QC told the court: “This defendant was an angry, violent, strange, highly sexualised man.
“There is no mental health defence available to him.” Prosecutors alleged that Wheeler waited in Ackholt Wood near Aylesham on April 27 last year and intended to kill a lone woman when he got the chance.
He had been seen in that location a number of times before and had walked around the area carrying the railway jack that he ultimately used as a weapon. The jury of eight women and four men heard that Wheeler “hit her head repeatedly” and “intended to cause her at least really serious harm”.
But today (May 16) jurors delivered their verdict and found Wheeler guilty of murder. Following the verdict, Julia’s family took to the steps outside of the court to pay a touching tribute.
‘I can’t explain how much I love her’
Speaking after the verdict was delivered, husband Paul James said: “I’m a bit lost for words. I’m just so proud of everybody and everything they’ve done.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better wife than Julia, she would just help everybody. She was the funniest person I’ve met.
“I can’t explain how much I love her – you have to feel that, you can’t explain it in words. She was just amazing, I’m so proud of her.
“Everything she did was just amazing and she helped so many people, women especially who were in danger from men, or bad men as I call them. We got what we deserved today.
“The community has lost much more than just a friend. Everyone knew Julia and what she was about, she was massive yet she stood so small. We will miss that so bad, we’re lost for words.”
‘This has been a long time coming’
Julia’s daughter, Bethan Coles, also gave a tribute to her mum. “I can’t really thank everyone enough, they’ve just been incredible throughout” she said.
“This has been a long time coming, I can’t believe we’re over a year on now. It’s been like an out of body experience at times to hear these awful details but we needed to see Callum Wheeler in that room and for him to be stood and be held accountable for what it is that he’s done.
“I think he’s clearly a threat to women. It’s important to keep other women safe and having him arrested and found guilty is really important to the safety of people.
“She was a positive woman and a feisty woman and someone who hasn’t had an easy life but she comes out the other side – she’s just everything I hope to be when I’m older.”
Wheeler will be sentenced at a later date.
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Article Source: Kent Live