Man sentenced to at least 37 years in prison for the murder of PCSO Julia James

Man sentenced to at least 37 years in prison for murdering PCSO Julia James in'brutal assault'

Callum Wheeler was found guilty in May (Image: SWNS; PA)

The man who murdered PCSO Julia James in a “brutal and vicious” sex attack while she was walking her dog has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum sentence of 37 years.

Callum Wheeler, 22, waited in Ackholt Wood, armed with a large metal bar, for the mother of two, 53, before assaulting her near her home in Snowdown, Kent, on the afternoon of April 27 last year.

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

Wheeler was seen roaming the countryside with the metal pole the day before he killed Mrs James, who was off duty and walking her dog, a Jack Russell named Toby.

He was carried in handcuffs by staff at Broadmoor Maximum Security Psychiatric Hospital in Berkshire on Friday to the dock at Canterbury Crown Court, where he has been held since he was found guilty of murder in May.

Mr Justice Wall sentenced Wheeler to at least 37 years behind bars, telling him: “Your actions have not only served to end one life prematurely, but have destroyed the lives of her entire family.

Ms James was attacked while walking her dog, a Jack Russell named Toby (Image: PA)

“I have come to the apparent conclusion from the evidence that this was not a spontaneous aberration on your part,” he added.

“Rather, it was an attack that was planned and thought out in advance.”

“They were there in search of a lonely female victim and were sexually motivated to do so,” he added.

After Wheeler was found guilty in May, Ms James’ husband paid tribute to his wife.

In a moving interview, Paul James described how his heart would still flutter every time he saw his wife.

My heart was beating every time I saw her and I told her that every day, every morning, every night and we called each other three or four times,” he said.

“We were honeymooning every day, honeymooning every day.”

Mr James wore his wife’s engagement and wedding rings on a chain around his neck and said he was “still extremely heartbroken” at her death.

“My heart literally broke in half and I’ve been trying to fix it every day,” he said.

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Justin Scacco

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