Sussex

Valerie Graves: Coroner appeals for info in Bosham artist death case

Valerie Graves Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Valerie Graves was found with severe head and facial injuries in December 2013

A coroner has appealed for people with information about the killing of an artist who was bludgeoned to death to come forward.

Grandmother Valerie Graves died at a house in Bosham on 30 December 2013 but her killer has never been found.

West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield said she hoped publicity about the case would lead to the person being caught.

A post-mortem examination found Ms Graves died from severe facial and cerebral trauma.

Live case

Artist Ms Graves was house-sitting with her sister Jan, mother Eileen and her sister's partner Nigel Acres while the owners of the house in Smugglers Lane were on holiday abroad over Christmas.

The court in Chichester was told that one person was arrested but not charged and the case remained live.

Det Ch Insp Jason Taylor, of the Surrey and Sussex major crime team, said a large-scale DNA screening operation eliminated 2,800 people from police inquiries.

He said there was no suggestion that mother-of-two Ms Graves committed suicide and that her injuries pointed to her being killed.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Valerie Graves and her family were house-sitting for friends over Christmas

Ms Schofield passed her condolences to Ms Graves's family, who did not attend the hearing.

"I do hope that any publicity arising from this inquest will produce further evidence, and if this evidence comes to light, that this should lead to the apprehension of the offender," she said.

She recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

The death of Ms Graves shocked the village of Bosham, which once featured in an episode of the ITV crime drama Midsomer Murders.

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

The weapon used in the attack was later found in Hoe Lane, about 800yds (730m) from the murder scene.

Sussex Police offered a £10,000 reward for information and the case was featured on BBC Crimewatch.

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