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Man Arrested Over Hammer Murder Of Gran House-Sitting

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Valerie Graves was found dead in Bosham, West Sussex in a brutal killing dubbed the ‘Midsomer Murder’ due to the village’s role in the ITV show

A man has been arrested in Romania in connection with the brutal killing a grandmother who was hit with a claw hammer.

On December 30 2013, 55-year-old Valerie Graves was found dead in her bedroom in Bosham, West Sussex.

Ms Graves had been house sitting while the owners were away for the Christmas period and had only recently moved back to Sussex from Scotland to be closer to her family.

It is believed the artist had been beaten to death with a claw hammer, with a post-mortem showing significant head and facial injuries.

It is understood she went to bed at 10pm on Sunday December 29, but was found dead by one of her three relatives at around 10am the following day in the bedroom where she had been sleeping.

Valerie Graves - Detectives investigating the murder of the grandmother whose body was found while she house sat for friends are offering a £10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of her killer
Valerie Graves

The death was nicknamed the “Midsomer Murder” because the seaside village had featured in an episode of the ITV drama.

On Wednesday morning – five-and-a-half-years after Ms Graves’ death – Romanian national Cristian Sabou, 28, was arrested at his address in Dej by officers from the Romanian National Police.

A European Arrest Warrant had been authorised by a judge in the UK prior to the police action.

Bosham murder inquiry Do you recognise this hammer

Detective from Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team travelled to the Eastern European country to assist in the arrest.

Sabou’s extradition is now being sought through the Romanian courts and he will now appear court in Cluj-Napoca to face extradition proceedings.

The time and date of the have not yet been confirmed.

Over the past five years the police have made numerous attempts to find Ms Graves’ killer.

Smugglers Lane, Bosham

At the end of 2015 a £10,000 reward was offered for information leading to the conviction of the murderer of the grandmother.

In the previous January and February Sussex Police launched the biggest voluntary mass DNA screening in its history.

They asked all men aged over 17 who live, work or visit Bosham to provide a DNA sample and thumbprint.

They collected samples from thousands of men and boys.

DNA screening

In a statement released in the week after Ms Graves’ death her family said: “Val was a much-loved daughter, sister, mum and nan, who will be sorely missed by the whole family.

“She was an eternal student, hungry for a new challenge. We were lucky enough to spend a family Christmas together.”

Speaking after today’s arrest, Detective Chief Inspector Jon Fanner said Sussex Police had worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and the National Crime Agency’s overseas network.

“Valerie’s family have been kept informed of developments but they are not making any public statement at this time,” they added.

Police investigate a house in Smuggler's Lane, Bosham, West Sussex where Valerie Graves was found murdered
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