Sussex

Valerie Graves murder: DNA sample found of hammer killer

Valerie Graves Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Valerie Graves was house-sitting for a friend over Christmas when she was murdered

A partial DNA profile has been obtained of the man suspected of murdering an artist by bludgeoning her with a hammer.

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

The DNA sample is not complete enough for a search to be carried out on the DNA database but could be used to eliminate suspects, Sussex Police said.

Det Supt Nick May said: "This is a significant breakthrough."

Large reward

He added: "Anyone who provides us with a DNA sample could now be eliminated from the investigation."

The sample indicates the suspect was male, police said.

In September a reward of up to £20,000 was offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who murdered Ms Graves.

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

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

Ms Graves went to bed at 22:00 GMT on 29 December and was found dead in a bedroom the next morning.

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

The artist's family were asleep at the time she was attacked, Sussex Police said.

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

The hammer believed to have been used in the attack was found in Hoe Lane, a few hundred metres from the house.

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

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