A 21-year-old man has accepts killing PCSO Julia James but denies murdering her, a court has heard.
Callum Wheeler, 21, from Aylesham in Kent, denied the murder charge at Maidstone Crown Court in October last year, but accepts that he killed the police community support officer, a jury was told today.
Opening his trial at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday, prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said that Mrs James was ambushed in woodland near her home in Snowdown, Kent on April 27 last year.
She told the jury: "The evidence suggests that her attacker was waiting in the woods for someone to attack and then ambushed her.
"Julia tried to escape her attacker but she was subjected to a brutal and fatal attack. She suffered catastrophic injuries and died where she fell."
Julia James died in April last year
Ms Morgan said it is the prosecution's case "that there is a large body of evidence from a variety of sources that demonstrate that the attacker was this defendant Callum Wheeler."
She told the court: "Although he denied responsibility for the killing for some time, he does now accept that he was the person that killed Julia James, however he does not accept that he is guilty of the offence of murder."
Wheeler was accused of the mum-of-two's murder 13 days after her body was found near Akholt Wood in Snowdown, Kent on April 27.
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Callum Wheeler
On the day of the attack Mrs James left her house in the hamlet at around 3pm to take her Jack Russell Toby for a walk after a day working from home.
The grandmother-of-one, who had worked for Kent Police since 2008, was found dead an hour later.
A post-mortem examination revealed she died from significant head injuries.
Her body was discovered by a member of the public at around 4pm.
PCSO James' death prompted a huge police search, with officers descending on the hamlet of Snowdown to search for clues.