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Family tribute to murdered Bosham house-sitter Valerie Graves
The family of a 55-year-old woman who was murdered while house-sitting in a quiet seaside village have paid tribute to her.
Valerie Graves, pictured below, from Bracklesham Bay, was found dead at the £1.6m home in Smuggler’s Lane, Bosham on Monday morning by a family member.
Miss Graves was at the house over the holiday period with three other family members, believed to include her elderly mother Eileen, 89, sister Janet, 60, and Janet’s partner Nigel Acres.
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Her family said: "Val was a much loved daughter, sister, mum and nan, who will be sorely missed by the whole family.
"Val was a free spirit who enjoyed her life and was a talented artist, about to embark on a new path involving ceramics.
"She was an eternal student, who was always hungry for a new challenge. She had recently moved back to Sussex from Scotland to be closer to her family and we were lucky enough to spend a family Christmas together.
"This has been a complete shock to the family and we appeal to anyone who has any information, no matter how trivial, to contact Sussex Police."
Mother-of-two Miss Graves had moved from her home in Scotland two months ago to the village of Bracklesham Bay, 12 miles from Bosham, to look after her increasingly frail mother.
She had her own textile studio in the Scottish Borders, which she set up in 2009, and her speciality was making toy hares from fibres.
She graduated in constructed textiles from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University in 2007.
A post-mortem examination carried out on Wednesday revealed she had died from “significant facial and head injuries”.
Bosham was once used as a set for ITV’s Midsomer Murders and the owners, named locally as Malcolm and Jane Chamberlain, had left the village before Christmas on holiday.
A Sussex Police spokesman said detectives are continuing to appeal for witnesses to come forward and investigations are ongoing.
Detective Chief Inspector Jon Fanner said: "The post-mortem has revealed the cause of death but we are still keeping an open mind as to the motive.
"We are 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.
"Please call us if you know anything, no matter how insignificant you might think it is. It could be important to the investigation."
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