Sussex

Valerie Graves murder: £20k reward for conviction

Valerie Graves Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Ms Graves was staying at a friend's house while the owners were on holiday

A reward of up to £20,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who murdered an artist by bludgeoning her with a hammer.

Valerie Graves, 55, was found dead in a property she was house-sitting in Bosham, West Sussex, over Christmas.

Police believe she was attacked in bed by an intruder wielding a hammer.

The charity Crimestoppers and Sussex Police are each offering a £10,000 reward to find her killer.

Ms Graves was staying at a friend's house, in Smuggler's Lane, with her mother, sister and her sister's partner while the owners were on holiday.

Her family were asleep at the time she was attacked.

'Extremely brutal'

She went to bed at the property at 22:00 GMT on 29 December and was found dead in the bedroom by one of her relatives at about 10:00 GMT the next day.

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

The hammer believed to have been used in the attack was later found in Hoe Lane, about 800yds (730m) from the murder scene.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption The hammer believed to have been used in the attack was found near the murder scene

Sussex Police offered a £10,000 reward for information in March.

A Crimestoppers spokeswoman said the "well-liked" artist, who had two children and two grandchildren, had recently moved back to Sussex from Scotland to help care for her elderly mother.

Angela Hollinshead, from the charity, said: "Valerie's murder was extremely brutal and her family has been devastated by her death.

"It is hoped that, by increasing the reward, this may assist in convincing someone to come forward and provide us with the critical information that may solve this crime."

Det Supt Nick May, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, added: "You may have your own concerns or suspicions about this person already but for your own reasons have not yet come forward.

"Let me reassure you that we can support you whatever your concerns but this person must be caught."

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