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Forensics teams carry bags from taped-off house

Forensics teams investigating the murder of PCSO Julia James have been removing bags of items from a house this morning.

Forensics teams investigating the murder of PCSO Julia James have been removing bags of items from a house this morning.

The property in Sunshine Corner Avenue, Aylesham, has been cordoned off since Friday night following the arrest of a man in connection with the death of the 53-year-old mum-of-two.

Forensics officers taking items away from the house in plastic bagsForensics officers taking items away from the house in plastic bags
Forensics officers taking items away from the house in plastic bags

She was found dead on a remote track in Snowdown, between Canterbury and Dover, on Tuesday, April 28.

A post-mortem investigation revealed she suffered "significant head injuries", sparking a widespread hunt for her killer.

A man in his 20s from the Canterbury area was arrested at 9.30pm on Friday night and remains in custody after detectives were granted extra time to question him.

Meanwhile, police remain at a two-storey house in Sunshine Corner Avenue - less than a mile from where Julia's body was found.

Forensics officers in white suits were this morning seen carrying items away in clear plastic bags.

Other officers have been knocking on doors in surrounding roads and talking to neighbours, while some have been seen searching a skip.

Julia James loved her job as a PCSOJulia James loved her job as a PCSO
Julia James loved her job as a PCSO
Police officers outside the housePolice officers outside the house
Police officers outside the house

It is understood footage from a doorbell camera has also been given to detectives.

In nearby Cornwallis Avenue police vans were parked at the junction with Ratling Road as teams scoured an alleyway running beside the new builds and adjoining waste land.

Police vans in Cornwallis Avenue Picture: Barry GoodwinPolice vans in Cornwallis Avenue Picture: Barry Goodwin
Police vans in Cornwallis Avenue Picture: Barry Goodwin
Police search waste land Picture: Barry GoodwinPolice search waste land Picture: Barry Goodwin
Police search waste land Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gemma Ottewell lives two doors down from the house being searched.

"All I've seen is forensics going in and out," she told KentOnline.

"I don't know anybody who lives there. Whenever I've walked past there the curtains have always been closed.

"Obviously [the big police presence] is unsettling, but we can't complain. We're not the family having to go through this.

"The police have been round and they've taken our CCTV. Anything we can do to help, we will."

Gemma Ottewell handed her CCTV footage to policeGemma Ottewell handed her CCTV footage to police
Gemma Ottewell handed her CCTV footage to police
Neighbour Anthony Opie says he has never seen anyone go in or out of the houseNeighbour Anthony Opie says he has never seen anyone go in or out of the house
Neighbour Anthony Opie says he has never seen anyone go in or out of the house

Anthony Opie, 26, lives opposite the house and says the occupants "keep themselves to themselves".

"I've literally never seen anyone go in or out of that house," he said.

"We've lived her about two years. Our kitchen faces out the front but we only spend a certain amount of time in there and tend to keep the blinds closed, but we've just never seen them."

The suspect's arrest came 10 days into a painstaking investigation which has seen Snowdown become a hive of police activity.

Officers have been scouring the area in and around where Julia's body was found by members of the public on the edge of Ackholt Wood.

She had been working from home that day before taking her Jack Russell, Toby, for a walk.

The dog was by her side, unharmed, when she was discovered dead at about 4pm.

Police taped off the scene and have since set up a number of other cordons around the quiet hamlet, which only has about 50 homes.

There is still a large police presence in the area, with a number of tents erected to preserve evidence and road blocks still enforced.

Police officers have been knocking on doors in the areaPolice officers have been knocking on doors in the area
Police officers have been knocking on doors in the area
Road blocks remain in place in AyleshamRoad blocks remain in place in Aylesham
Road blocks remain in place in Aylesham
More tributes have been left in AyleshamMore tributes have been left in Aylesham
More tributes have been left in Aylesham

Floral tributes continue to be left to Julia in Aylesham village square.

Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards, from Kent Police, said: “We continue to urge anyone with information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, to contact us.

“If you were in the Snowdown area between 1pm and 4.30pm on Tuesday, April 27, please contact us."

Anyone with information about Julia's death is urged to call police on 0800 0514526.

To get the latest updates in ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here

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