‘Murdered’ woman named as Valerie Graves

Louis Makai. Picture: Sussex Police

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A WOMAN believed to have been murdered in Bosham has been named as Valerie Graves of Bracklesham Bay.

The 55-year-old was found with a serious head injury at a family home in Smugglers Lane on Monday morning.

Police forensics arrive at a house in Smuggler's Lane, Bosham, West Sussex, where a 55 year old woman was found murdered. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 31, 2013. See PA story POLICE Village. Photo credit should read: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Police forensics arrive at a house in Smuggler's Lane, Bosham, West Sussex, where a 55 year old woman was found murdered. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 31, 2013. See PA story POLICE Village. Photo credit should read: Chris Ison/PA Wire

At a press briefing this afternoon, it was revealed she had been house-sitting at the house - the home of friends - with three members of her family since before Christmas.

When asked at the briefing if it was believed to be a random attack, Detective Superintendent Nick May said police were 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, 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 forensic experts 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.”