Valerie Graves murder - mobile DNA screening set up by police in Bosham

Myles Cullen, Chichester District councillor, encourages residents by being the first person to have a DNA test, given by Detective Constable Lee Taylor from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team PICTURE BY KATE SHEMILT C141573-5 SUS-150121-115802001

Myles Cullen, Chichester District councillor, encourages residents by being the first person to have a DNA test, given by Detective Constable Lee Taylor from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team PICTURE BY KATE SHEMILT C141573-5 SUS-150121-115802001

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DETECTIVES investigating the murder of Valerie Graves have now set up a mobile DNA screening unit in Bosham.

Police said they are pleased with the response to their drive held at the Millstream Hotel, in Bosham Lane, and took 800 DNA samples within the first six days of their mass screening.

The screening officially began last Wednesday, January 21, but some men also attended for early screening the day before.

55-year-old mother and grandmother Valerie Graves was found brutally murdered in her bedroom in Smugglers Lane, Bosham, on December 30 2013.

She was staying at the property while the owners were away.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “We are very pleased with the response so far to our appeal for all men aged over 17 who live or work in Bosham, or who visit the area, to volunteer their DNA and provide a thumbprint and we hope many more will come in for just a few minutes to help us in what is the biggest voluntary mass DNA screening in our history.

“Now police are using a major incident vehicle which can be moved around the area for men to visit to offer their DNA as well as the sessions at the hotel.”

The vehicle will be outside the Co-op shop in Delling Lane, Bosham, on Wednesday (January 28) from 10am to 2pm and outside the Tesco Extra store in Fishbourne from 3pm to 8pm.

Anyone who attends is asked to bring photo identification. Their thumbprint and a swab will be taken from inside their mouth.

The screening sessions run until January 29 and they will run from February 2 to 5 and again from February 10 to 15. All sessions are from 10am to 8pm.

A police spokesman said: “The process is painless and should take no longer than 10 minutes. Police will only use the samples obtained to check against this particular crime and their DNA profile will not appear on any database. Legal safeguards are in place to ensure they are not used for any other purpose. The samples will be destroyed at the end of the investigation.”

Anyone with information can call 101 and quote Operation Ensign or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.