A REWARD of £10,000 has been put up to try and solve the murder of grandmother Valerie Graves.
Miss Graves, a 55-year-old artist, was found dead with serious head and facial injuries at a house in Smugglers Lane, Bosham, on December 30.
She had been house sitting at the large detached property with her family.
Since the murder, officers have interviewed more than 200 people and taken over 100 statements as part of the investigation. A 22-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the murder and is on bail until next week.
Detective Superintendent Nick May of Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said: ‘This was a savage attack, where a significant level of violence was used. We know that a hammer, found nearby in Hoe Lane, was used by the offender and we are seeking the public’s help to catch this person before they hurt someone else.
‘We particularly appeal to anyone who knows personally, has met professionally, or has a relationship with someone who is violent and who may have used, talked about or threatened violence with a hammer in the past. You may have your own concerns or suspicions about this person already, but for your own reasons have not yet come forward. Let me reassure you that we can support you whatever your concerns, but this person must be caught.
‘I would also repeat our appeal for anyone who was in the area of Smuggler’s Lane, Hoe Lane or nearby on the afternoon of Sunday 29 December to 10am or Monday 30 December. If you saw anything suspicious or have noticed anyone acting strangely since I urge you to contact us, no matter how incidental you may think your information to be - it could be a vital clue.’
Sussex Police are offering a reward of £10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the killer.
Detectives, supported by neighbourhood policing officers, are knocking on the doors of more than 700 homes in the area in their effort to gather any information that can help them in the investigation.
The Major Crime Team is also being advised by the National Crime Agency in order to provide further offender profiling. They are keeping an open mind as to the motive for Valerie’s violent death.
Chief Inspector Justin Burtenshaw, district policing commander for Chichester, said: ‘Some local residents are obviously concerned and we want to do all we can to reassure them.
‘I have ensured that extra patrols continue in the area and the neighbourhood policing team is available in Bosham to speak to residents about their concerns.
‘In addition to the extra patrols, from Tuesday, there will be daily opportunities to speak to a local officer from 11am to 12 noon outside the Bosham Craft Centre, in Bosham Lane, and from 7pm to 8pm outside the Co-op store in Delling Lane.’
Anyone with information should call 101 or email email@example.com quoting Operation Ensign or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.