serving PCSO found dead near woodland on Tuesday was murdered, police said.

No arrests have yet been made following the death of 53-year-old Julia James, whose body was found in Akholt Wood, Kent.

The loss has shocked the tiny nearby hamlet of Snowdown, near Dover, where Ms James is believed to have lived with her husband.

Home Secretary Priti Patel expressed her “sincere condolences” to Ms James’ friends, family and colleagues.

Police officers were seen around the quiet cluster of homes on Wednesday afternoon as the investigation continued.

Not far away, by a field, a white tent could be seen with police officers standing nearby.

Officers were called shortly after 4pm on Tuesday to the Aylesham Road area of Snowdown.

A police tent at Akholt Wood, Kent investigation continues into the death of PSCO Julia James / PA

The death was originally viewed as “suspicious” but Kent Police confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that it is now being treated as murder.

Local resident John Miller, 72, said: “I can’t believe it’s true to be honest, everyone feels safe round here.

“(I’m) gutted, gutted for the family and whoever it is I hope they catch them and they get put away for life.”

He knew Ms James’ family, whom he described as “very close”, and said what happened was a “hell of a loss”.

In Snowdown, a police officer was standing guard outside the home where Ms James is believed to have lived, while another officer was seen in the garden.

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