Extra police called in to catch Bosham killer

The scene at the house, picture by Kate Shemilt C131764-3
The scene at the house, picture by Kate Shemilt C131764-3

THE CONTINUING hunt for Valerie Graves’ killer has seen Sussex Police pull in extra resources from throughout the force.

Miss Graves’ body was discovered at a home in Smugglers Lane, Bosham, on the morning on December 30.

The 55-year-old, from Bracklesham Bay, had been house-sitting with family, but was found dead with what police described as ‘significant head and facial injuries’.

Temporary chief constable for Sussex Police, Giles York, said extra officers were called in because of the ‘many lines of enquiry’ that officers were still investigating around the killing.

He disclosed the information to the county’s police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne at their monthly performance and accountability meeting on Friday.

Discussing the performance and resources of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Unit, which handles the most serious crimes in both counties, the pair’s conversation turned to the Bosham murder.

“That’s an investigation that we haven’t charged anybody with an offence for to date,” said Mr York. “There are still many lines of enquiry that are live.

“I sat down with Detective Superintendent Nick May, the head of the major crime unit, just last week and reviewed all 19 cases he has live at the moment, the vast majority of which have offenders who are charged and going to court.

“The interesting perspective on the most recent murder in Bosham is that because there are still so many lines of enquiry, for the first time I believe the major crime unit were calling on those resources and eight officers have gone to support that enquiry from our divisions, but also from headquarter’s departments as well.”

One line of enquiry saw a 22-year-old man arrested in January on suspicion of murder. He was subsequently bailed until March 24.

The search for the killer has seen the case appear on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme, which led to two calls described by officers as being of ‘particular interest’ to the investigation.

A red and black claw hammer has been identified by police as a potential murder weapon.

Miss Graves’ family paid tribute after her death to a ‘much-loved daughter, sister, mum and nan, who will be sorely missed by the whole family’.

Anyone with information on the investigation should ring 101 or email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting Operation Ensign or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.