THE woman found murdered in Bosham was house-sitting over the Christmas break for her friends.
The victim has been named by police as Valerie Graves, 55, from Bracklesham Bay, who was staying at the house in Smugglers Lane with three members of her family.
At a press conference at 1.30pm today (December 31), detective superintendent Nick May from Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said the police are ‘pursuing all lines of inquiry’.
“We are treating it as a murder,” said DS May.
“There are a number of lines of inquiry which we are pursuing.”
Ms Graves, who was divorced with two children, was found dead with serious head injuries.
“We do not have a cause of death,” said DS May. “The post-mortem will not take place until tomorrow.”
When asked if it could have been a random attack DS May said: “There are a number of lines of inquiry, that is one of them. We are investigating all likely lines of inquiry.”
He said at 9.50am yesterday (December 30), the ambulance service were called by a family member, ‘reporting that there was a lady that they believed to be dead’.
The police were called in and forensics arrived at the scene.
“Valerie and some members of her family were house sitting at this address in Smugglers Lane. There were four people in the house including Valerie,” said DS May.
“They were house sitting at the address for a number of days, they arrived shortly before Christmas.
“The people who own the house are abroad on holiday.”
He said the owners were aware of the situation and were friends with Ms Graves.
DS May said Chichester district chief inspector Tanya Jones had community teams out reassuring Bosham residents, and speaking to members of the community.
CI Jones said: “Bosham and Bracklesham Bay are really low crime areas. It is a really lovely part of the community. Obviously, the neighbours are quite perplexed by the incident.”