Crimewatch appeal over Valerie Graves murder

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

An appeal over the murder of an artist who was house-sitting for a friend in a village in West Sussex has been made on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.

Valerie Graves, 55, was found dead with head and facial injuries in a ground-floor bedroom of the house in Smugglers Lane, Bosham, on 30 December.

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

Police think she was bludgeoned to death with a hammer found in Bosham.

Red and black handle

The potential murder weapon was found by police last week during extensive searches in the village.

The hammer is about a foot (30cm) long, with a distinctive red and black handle and is embossed with the words Forge Steel, with a picture of an outline of an anvil.

A 22-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murdering Ms Graves has been released on bail until 17 February.

The grandmother had recently moved back to Sussex from Scotland to be closer to her family.

Det Supt Nick May, from Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said police were still appealing for information and wanted to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious or unusual in the area from the afternoon of 29 December to 10:00 GMT on 30 December.

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