DETECTIVES believe Valerie Graves’ murderer may have been secretly watching her as she prepared for bed on the night of her death.
A second BBC Crimewatch appeal from Sussex Police revealed details of events leading up to her brutal killing on December 30, 2013.
Miss Graves was found dead while house sitting with her family at a home in Smugglers Lane, Bosham.
The family had come together to celebrate Christmas, as well as Miss Graves’ birthday, as she was born on Christmas Day.
The poignant and tragic reconstruction showed the family enjoying Christmas together, with Miss Graves’ mother Eileen, sister Janet and Janet’s partner Nigel Acres all in the house the night of Valerie’s death.
On Christmas Day they were joined by Miss Graves’ children Tim Wood and Jemima Harrison, and her grandchildren.
“We always did Christmas as a family,” Jemima told the programme.
Tim described his mother as a ‘big kid at heart’.
“She loved playing with the grandkids and messing around being silly,” he added.
Miss Graves spent Chistmas Day playing with the children and their new toys.
After Christmas Day some of the family left Bosham.
On December 30, Miss Graves watched a film at home in the evening with her mother and sister, while Nigel went out with some friends.
He returned around 9.20pm and joined the others.
They went to bed between 10pm and 10.30pm, with Nigel staying downstairs longer watching television.
“Before going to bed I would make sure all the doors were locked and all the lights were out,” he told the programme.
Miss Graves was staying in a downstairs bedroom at the rear of the house.
The programme said detectives believe someone may have been watching her as she prepared to sleep and later entered her room and ‘bludgeoned’ her with a hammer.
According to Crimewatch, a single strike would have been enough to kill her but the attacker continued landing dozens of blows to her face.
Despite the ferocity of the murder it went unnoticed by the others sleeping in the house.
Miss Graves was discovered by her sister the following morning around 9.20am when she went in to offer her a cup of tea. Her bedroom door was slightly open.
The police were called and since then the killer has been sought.
The hammer detectives believe was used to kill Miss Graves was discovered 800m away at the entrance to a nearby farm.
A £10,000 reward has been offered by police for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the killer.
Police believe they are looking for someone with a history of violence.
Detective Superintendent Nick May from Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team appeared in the studio tonight (April 28) and made a fresh appeal for information including details about the murder weapon.
He said: “We know that a hammer is not usually used by burglars and the murderer would have known the amount of harm they could inflict on someone with the hammer, when they entered the house.
“It is likely that this person would have a history of violence and this would be known to someone close to them or to a professional who has worked with them, either now or in the past.
“We are still appealing for information. This is about a catching a killer who is still at large. Whether it’s a personal or professional relationship you have with this person, we need you to come forward and stop this happening again. Valerie’s family deserve to know what happened.”
Anyone with information should ring 101 quoting Operation Ensign or email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.