PCSO Julia James, pictured in 2013
Tributes have been paid to PCSO Julia James by two survivors of domestic abuse who she helped through her role.
Mrs James, 53, was walking her Jack Russell on a public bridle path near her home in Snowdown, Kent when she was killed.
Members of the public found the mother-of-two and phoned the police at 4.08pm on Tuesday April 27.
She had worked in the Vulnerability Investigation Team from Canterbury police station and helped survivors seek help from abusive relationships.
Mrs James would often attend meetings to speak about potential police action, safety planning and emotional support while working with local domestic violence and abuse charity Rising Sun.
Their chief executive Fran Ellis described ‘kind, caring and generous’ Mrs James as a ‘devoted supporter and advocate for survivors of domestic abuse’ who would ‘go out of her way to help anyone’.
Now two domestic abuse survivors who Mrs James helped have explained how she gave them the strength and self-worth to break free from their abusive relationships.
One victim said: ‘Julia was one of the most kind and caring women I have ever come across.
Forensic officers at an address in Aylesham, Kent following the arrest of man in his 20s in connection with the murder of PCSO Julia James
‘She genuinely cared about every woman she spoke to and had a way of making you feel so calm and safe around her.
‘She was truly one of a kind, with a heart of gold, and she spent so much time helping others, more than she realised.
‘When I met Julia I had not spoken about what I had been through before.
‘I had no confidence and felt a part of me was broken. She took the time to listen and understand everything.
‘Not only did she help me heal but she helped me realise my worth and that it was not my fault.
‘I owe Julia so much and will be forever thankful that she came into my life.’
Another victim who Mrs James supported said: ‘When I first left home with my children after a particularly bad altercation with my husband, the police officer who then contacted me suggested I speak with a PSCO named Julia James – just to make sure the children and I were safe.
‘From the first words Julia spoke, I knew she was someone I could trust.
‘She was a force of nature – calm, kind and reassuring when things were at their worst, and most of all completely focused on making sure that my children and I were safe.
‘I didn’t tell Julia much about my story the first day, and said I intended to go back home when things calmed down – my husband just had a bad temper.
‘Julia kept in touch that first week, calling a number of times and suggesting we go through a confidential questionnaire.
The mother-of-two was walking her loyal Jack Russell Toby on a public bridle path near her home in Snowdown, Kent when she was killed
‘The questionnaire was a real eye opener for me – initially I chose not to answer all of the questions, but as Julia explained the meaning of each one to me on the phone, it gradually started to sink in that the way my husband had been treating me and our children over the past few years was not ok.
‘It was serious physical, verbal and emotional abuse. Julia never judged me or my situation, nor did she tell me what to do.’
She added that, in her role as a PCSO, Mrs James would have helped ‘hundreds if not thousands of domestic abuse survivors with stories like mine and even far worse’.
Rising Sun has set up a special web page for other survivors to share their memories of Mrs James as a way of remembering her.
A smart two-storey new build home in Aylesham, Kent remains cordoned off by police as forensic investigations continue around two miles from where grandmother of one Julia was found dead.
Around eight officers wearing white overalls were seen scouring the scene on Sunday morning.
They have been pulling up paving stones, scouring bushes in the front garden and emptying a skip in the driveway as the hunt for clues continues.
Two forensic investigation vans and two Kent Police vans are parked inside the extensive cordon with two uniformed officers keeping watch.
Mrs James died from significant blunt force injuries to her head – sparking an extensive murder investigation and search of the vast, remote area surrounding Ackholt Wood where she was discovered.
Detectives have arrested a man in his 20s from the Canterbury area on Friday night. He remains in custody today, according to Kent Police.