Police form guard of honour as Julia James, 53, is laid to rest

Police form guard of honour as murdered PCSO Julia James, 53, is laid to rest after emotional funeral service at Canterbury Cathedral

  • Police formed guard of honour as Julia James was laid to rest during funeral service at Canterbury Cathedral
  • The 53-year-old PCSO was bludgeoned to death close to her home in Snowdown, Kent, on April 27 
  • Daughter Bethan Coles read a poem and Detective Superintendent Gavin Moss spoke on behalf of Kent Police
  • The violent attack sparked a huge murder investigation involving dozens of officers from all over the country
  • Callum Wheeler, 21, has been charged with murder and trial date has been set for November 29 

Police today formed a guard of honour as murdered PCSO Julia James was laid to rest during an emotional funeral service at Canterbury Cathedral, with mourners dressed in blue lining the streets after her daughter called on the community to ‘come together once more’.  

The 53-year-old Kent Police officer was bludgeoned to death in Akholt Wood close to her home in Snowdown, Kent, on April 27. The attack sparked a huge murder investigation involving dozens of officers from all over the country.

A funeral service was held today at Canterbury Cathedral, during which her daughter Bethan Coles read a poem and temporary Detective Superintendent Gavin Moss spoke on behalf of the police force.

The service followed a procession through the village of Aylesham, near where Mrs James lived. The procession made its way through Dorman Avenue South, before continuing around the Market Square and travelled out of the village via Dorman Avenue North. 

Those attending the service in Canterbury at 12pm have been asked to wear blue in a nod to Mrs James’s many years of service to Kent Police. Her daughter added that Canterbury Cathedral was offering to live-stream the funeral service, for those unable to attend.

Ms Coles said on Facebook: ‘It would be lovely to see the community come together once more; so if you wish to gather in the Market Square or line the streets for a final farewell please do so!

Police today formed a guard of honour as murdered PCSO Julia James is laid to rest during an emotional funeral service at Canterbury Cathedral today, after her daughter called on the community to ‘come together once more’

Undated handout photo issued by Kent Police of PCSO Julia James in Aylesham, Kent 

A funeral service was held today at Canterbury Cathedral following a procession, with members of the public invited to line the streets near where the officer lived

A funeral service was held today at Canterbury Cathedral, during which her daughter Bethan Coles read a poem and temporary Detective Superintendent Gavin Moss spoke on behalf of the police force

The procession will pass through the village of Aylesham, near where Mrs James lived

Police today formed a guard of honour as murdered PCSO Julia James was laid to rest during an emotional funeral service at Canterbury Cathedral today

‘There will be a small private wake however the Ratling will be open for those wishing to have a drink in my Mum’s memory and have kindly offered to open early and show the service on their big screen should anyone wish to see it.’ 

She added: ‘The Aylesham & District Social Club will be open for those wishing to have a drink in my Mum’s memory and have kindly offered to open early and show the service on their big screen should anyone wish to see it. If anyone wishes to send flowers then we would love to see them placed in the Market Square as they were before.’

St Finbarr’s Church in Aylesham was set to open its doors today for anyone wishing to light a candle or pause for a moment of reflection. Mrs James’ burial is private, attended by family and close friends only.   

Callum Wheeler, 21, from Aylesham, has been charged with Ms James’s murder and a trial date has been set for November 29.  

A court was previously told the attack was ‘extremely violent’ and ‘at this time it seems completely random’ – with police still unclear on a motive. Officers have confirmed they are not ‘actively’ seeking any further suspects over Julia’s death.

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