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Bosham murdered house-sitter's body discovered in bedroom
Detectives say the body of a grandmother found dead at a house in a quiet coastal village was discovered in her bedroom.
Valerie Graves, 55, was found by a family member with significant head and facial injuries in the ground-floor bedroom of house in Smugglers Lane, Bosham, on Monday.
The artist, who came to Sussex from Scotland shortly before Christmas, was house-sitting at the £1.6m home with three family members believed to include her sister Janet, 60, Janet’s partner Nigel Acres and her mother Eileen, 89, who she was looking after.
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The owners of the property left the village, which was once used as a set for hit ITV drama Midsomer Murders, for their holidays before Christmas.
Speaking at a press conference at Littlehampton police station yesterday, Detective Superintendent Nick May said detectives were investigating a theory that Miss Graves was killed in a possible break-in at the house – but were also looking into her past for potential clues.
He appealed for anyone who saw someone with blood-stained clothing or who had been asked to wash or dispose of clothing in “unusual circumstances” to come forward.
He said the “shocked” owners of the house, named locally as Caroline Chamberlain, 63, and Malcom Chamberlain, 66, were still abroad and were “fully co-operating” with police.
The press conference was also attended by Miss Grave’s son, Tim Wood, and daughter Jemima Harrison.
A statement from her children, read by Mr Wood, said: “Our mum was much loved and will be sorely missed by the whole family.
“She was a free spirit who enjoyed her life and was a talented artist.
“She had lived in Scotland for about ten years, a place she loved and which inspired her passion for art.
“She had moved back to Sussex to look after her mum as family was important to her. We had been lucky to spend time with mum over Christmas and she had a lovely family time, especially with her two grandchildren.”
Detective Superintendent May said police were looking at different lines of enquiry, including that the suspect |was someone who knew Valerie or someone unconnected to her.
He added: “We are still appealing for witnesses who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously or anything unusual in the area from late afternoon on Sunday December 29 to around 10am on Monday December 30.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. police.uk quoting Operation Ensign or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
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