Sussex

Valerie Graves: Murder-accused Cristian Sabou appears in court

Cristian Sabou arriving at Lewes Crown Court Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption Cristian Sabou was remanded in custody by the judge at Lewes Crown Court

A man accused of murdering a woman found bludgeoned to death in her bed almost six years ago has appeared in court.

Valerie Graves, 55, was found dead at a property in Smugglers Lane, Bosham, West Sussex, on 30 December 2013.

Cristian Sabou, 27, was charged with her murder after being extradited from Dej, north-west Romania, last week.

He did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody after a hearing at Lewes Crown Court.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Valerie Graves was house-sitting for friends over Christmas when she died

Ms Graves, an artist, was house-sitting with her mother at the £1.6m seaside property when she was killed.

A post-mortem examination found she had died from severe head injuries after being hit with a claw hammer.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ms Graves had moved back to Sussex from Scotland shortly before she was found dead at the house in Bosham

Mr Sabou is next due to appear at Lewes Crown Court on 30 September.

Judge Katherine Laing QC scheduled a provisional trial date of 6 January and told Mr Sabou he would be expected to enter a plea at his next hearing.

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