Sussex

Valerie Graves murder: DNA screening for men in Bosham

Valerie Graves Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Valerie Graves was hit repeatedly on the head and face with the hammer

Men in a West Sussex village are being invited to take part in voluntary DNA screening to eliminate themselves from suspicion after the murder of a woman.

Artist Valerie Graves was bludgeoned to death on 30 December 2013 in the ground floor bedroom of a property in Bosham.

The 55-year-old had been repeatedly beaten with a hammer as she house sat for friends over Christmas.

Men who live or work in the village, or who visit the area, are taking part in the mass screening.

It is taking place at the Millstream Hotel in the village and is the latest move by detectives searching for the killer of the grandmother and mother of two.

Men aged over 17 will be asked to provide a DNA mouth swab and thumb print to eliminate them from the inquiry.

The drop-in sessions are being held between 21 and 29 January, 2 and 7 February, and 10 and 15 February.

'Largest murder investigation'

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Media captionPolice are seeking men's DNA to rule them out of the investigation

Last year, police obtained a partial DNA profile of the suspect - the sample was not complete enough for a search on the DNA database but could be used to eliminate suspects, officers said.

No-one has been charged over the murder in Smugglers Lane.

During the investigation a 22-year-old man was arrested and released without charge.

Det Supt Nick May, from Sussex Police, said the DNA mass screening was an unusual move.

"It's the first time we've done it in Sussex for many, many years, and it's certainly the biggest exercise of this kind that we've done in the county."

Ms Graves had been staying at the house with her sister Jan, mother Eileen and her sister's partner, Nigel Acres, while the property's owners were away over Christmas.

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

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