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PCSO’s killer ‘should never see the light of day again’, court told

Julia James (Kent Police/PA)
Julia James (Kent Police/PA)

The son of murdered PCSO Julia James has said her “sick, twisted” killer “should never see the light of day again”.

The 53-year-old was ambushed by Callum Wheeler, 22, in Ackholt Wood, near her home in Snowdown, Kent, as she walked her dog on the afternoon of April 27 last year.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said she was subjected to a “brutal and fatal attack” with a large metal bar as she fell to the ground while fleeing her attacker, adding: “This was a murder involving sexual conduct.”

Wheeler was seen roaming around the countryside with the weapon the day before he killed Mrs James, who was off duty, walking her dog, a Jack Russell called Toby.

He was carried into the Canterbury Crown Court dock on Friday, wearing handcuffs, by staff from Broadmoor high security psychiatric hospital, in Berkshire, where he has been held, to be sentenced after he was found guilty of murder in May.

Wheeler sat with his head bowed as his victim’s family, including her husband Paul James, daughter Bethan Coles and son Patrick Davis, read their emotional victim impact statements.

Callum Wheeler court case
Callum Wheeler (Kent Police/PA)

Mr Davis said his mother’s life had been taken because of a “sick, twisted individual’s strange desires”.

He said: “He should never see the light of day again.

“Why should he?

“My mum only wanted to walk her dog but had her life ended by this disgusting creature.

“I will not refer to him as a human being.”

He and Mrs James’ daughter told how their mother’s murder has given them a “life sentence”.

“I have struggled to find the right words to describe how it has devastated my life and the lives of my family,” she said.

“My life has changed beyond measure.

“To lose my own parent, the woman I loved the most in the world is truly awful.

“To know how she was brutally attacked in broad daylight having run for her life is horrific.

“It haunts me every day of my life.”

Mrs James’ widower repeatedly broke down in tears as he told how “my life was finally complete when I married my soulmate”.

“My hopes and dreams were taken,” he said when his wife was murdered.

“I actually felt I died too.”

Wheeler will be sentenced by Mr Justice Wall later on Friday.

He was described by the prosecutor as a “highly sexualised” prolific user of internet pornography, who had searched for words including “raped” just two days before the attack.

She said Wheeler planned to target a lone woman and was “lying in wait in bushes” for “highly respected PCSO” Mrs James, who made a “desperate attempt to run away”.

Data from her Apple watch showed that her heart rate and walking pace spiked at the point it is believed she spotted Wheeler in the woodland, and changed her route home in a bid to escape.

She suffered “catastrophic injuries”, described by a pathologist as the worst he had ever seen, when Wheeler inflicted “multiple blows to her head” with a railway jack, a tool used to lift train tracks, Ms Morgan said.

She explained said DNA found on the breast area of Mrs James’ white top indicated touching that “must have been sexual in nature”.

Wheeler had no connection to his victim but prosecutors said he targeted her when she became vulnerable because she was not close to any other dog walkers.

When arrested, he told police “sometimes I do things that I cannot control” and while in custody said “you can’t go into the woods and expect to be safe”.

He also said that if he was released he would return to the woodland to rape and kill women, and that Mrs James had deserved to die.