Valerie Graves murder: £10,000 reward in hammer appeal

Valerie Graves Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption The body of Valerie Graves was found at the house in Smuggler's Lane where she was staying

Detectives investigating the murder of an artist in West Sussex are appealing for information about anyone who has threatened violence with a hammer.

Sussex Police said they were making a very specific appeal for information to help find the killer of Valerie Graves in Smuggler's Lane, Bosham.

A hammer used in the attack was found nearby in Hoe Lane.

"We are seeking the public's help to catch this person before they hurt someone else," said Det Supt Nick May.

"We particularly appeal to anyone who knows personally, has met professionally, or has a relationship with someone who is violent and who may have used, talked about or threatened violence with a hammer in the past.

"You may have your own concerns or suspicions about this person already, but for your own reasons have not yet come forward."

The hammer is about 1ft (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.

It was available to buy in branches of Screwfix UK.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption The hammer was discovered by officers investigating Ms Graves' murder

The force is offering a reward of £10,000 for information leading to the conviction of the killer.

The body of Ms Graves, 55, was found with serious head and facial injuries at a house where she was staying while the owners were away over Christmas.

A 22-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder was released on bail.

Officers have interviewed more than 200 people and taken over 100 statements. They received 20 calls after a BBC Crimewatch appeal in January.

Mr May also asked for anyone who was in the area from the afternoon of 29 December to 10:00 GMT on 30 December to come forward.

Officers will be on duty every day from 11:00 GMT to noon outside Bosham Craft Centre in Bosham Lane and from 19:00 GMT to 20:00 GMT outside the Co-op in Delling Lane.

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