Net tightens on Bosham murderer

Grandmother Valerie Graves was murdered as she slept a year ago
Grandmother Valerie Graves was murdered as she slept a year ago

MEN who live or have worked in the Bosham area have begun giving DNA samples as the hunt for Valerie Graves’ killer intensifies.

For the first time police have been able to confirm the murderer is a male and the investigation is now concentrating on a person with a ‘positive link’ to the area.

It comes after what police called a ‘significant breakthrough’ in the case, ten months after the grandmother was brutally murdered with a hammer on the night of December 29, 2013.

Forensic scientists have obtained a limited DNA profile of the killer. Although it is not enough to run against the police National Database of convicted criminals, it can be matched against fingerprints and saliva swabs now being taken voluntarily from local men.

Heading up the case is detective Superintendent Nick May, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team.

He told the Observer: “We have visited over 3,000 houses and interviewed thousands of people and conducted investigations all over the country.

“From going from house to house, we have built up a clear picture of who was in the area on the night of Valerie Graves’ murder so we are concentrating on particular areas of the village, one or two other areas and one or two other individuals of interest.”

And he added: “Obviously, they (the killer) were in Bosham on that night, which was a filthy, wet night, but we believe there is a positive link between the murderer and Bosham, though we can’t be sure what that is.”

Police have started the process of contacting men they believe were in the area on the night Ms Graves was killed to ask them to provide voluntary samples so they can be ruled out of the investigation.

Police are also asking for anyone who has suspicions over a person to put their name forward anonymously so they can also be crossed off.

Any DNA samples taken will only be used for this case, and will not be stored or used for solving any other crime, Police have stressed.

Ms Graves was house-sitting a property on Smuggler’s Lane with her mother, sister and sister’s partner when he was killed.

A hammer believed to have been used in the attack was found nearby on Hoe Lane shortly afterwards.