Valerie Graves murder: More time to quiz murder suspect

Valerie Graves Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Valerie Graves was staying at the house with three family members

Police have been given more time to question a man on suspicion of murdering a grandmother who was killed as she house-sat for friends.

Valerie Graves, 55, was found dead at the house in Bosham, near Chichester in West Sussex, on 30 December.

She had been house-sitting with her mother, sister and her sister's partner while the homeowners holidayed abroad.

Magistrates granted police an extra 24 hours to detain the 22-year-old, who was arrested on Tuesday.

It earlier emerged that a house in Hoe Lane, Bosham, was being searched in connection with the inquiry.

'Free spirit'

Det Supt Nick May, of the Surrey and Sussex major crime team, said: "This is one part of the significant and wide-ranging investigation into the murder of Valerie Graves."

The talented artist, who had recently moved back to Sussex from Scotland to be closer to her family, went to bed at 22:00 GMT on 29 December.

She was found dead by one of her relatives at about 10:00 GMT the following day in the bedroom where she had been sleeping.

A post-mortem examination revealed she had suffered significant head and facial injuries.

It has not been confirmed whether a weapon was used.

Relatives of Ms Graves, including her son Tim Wood and daughter Jemima Harrison, paid tribute to her as a "free spirit who enjoyed her life and was a talented artist".

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