Sussex

Valerie Graves murder police step up DNA screening work

Valerie Graves Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Valerie Graves was bludgeoned to death with a hammer

Police hunting the killer of an artist in a West Sussex village are to appeal to more men to have their DNA screened.

Valerie Graves, 55, was found dead in a ground-floor bedroom of a house in Bosham on 30 December 2013.

Sussex Police officers will be knocking on doors in the bid to get samples from every adult male who lives or works in the village or is a regular visitor.

More than 2,000 men have already had their DNA screened, with about 1,400 being ruled out.

Voluntary sessions were held in January and February for men to give a sample and a thumbprint.

Police originally hoped to collect 5,000.

Letters prepared

Officers will go house-to-house in Bosham asking men to provide samples until 12 April.

Det Supt Nick May said: "We want to thank all those men who attended the voluntary sessions in Bosham, Fishbourne and Chichester over the three-week session to give their DNA.

"We still need those men who have not come forward to do so. We will be doing house-to-house enquiries and knocking on doors during a week of action.

"If we don't get a reply we will also be sending out further letters asking them to attend Chichester police station to give their DNA."

Ms Graves is believed to have been beaten to death with a claw hammer as she house-sat for friends in Smugglers Lane.

She had been staying in the house with her sister, mother and her sister's partner.

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