Residents have told of their shock after a woman was found dead in a harbourside property.
The 55-year-old woman was discovered with a serious head injury in the house at Smuggler’s Lane, Bosham, at about 9.50am yesterday.
A post mortem has yet to be carried out but her death is being treated as suspicious and a murder inquiry has begun.
The victim has yet to be formally identified.
Police vehicles descended on the semi-rural road and cordoned off the property, a large detached house with a big garden.
Last night a large police van blocked off the driveway and forensic officers wearing protective suits were seen going in and out. Last night no arrests had been made.
Detective Chief Inspector Jon Fanner, who is leading the inquiry, said: ‘At this stage we are keeping an open mind as to the motive but we are appealing for witnesses who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area from late afternoon on Sunday to around 9am on Monday.
‘Please call us if you know anything, no matter how insignificant you might think it is. It could be important to the investigation.
‘This is a rare incident for Bosham which is a safe area. We have increased our neighbourhood policing patrols in the village and if anyone has any information or concerns, I would urge them to speak to one of the officers who are there.’
The lane has several large houses worth more than a million pounds.
A resident of Smuggler’s Lane, who did not want to be named, said; ‘There was a lot of police.
‘We were quite surprised this morning when we woke up and saw them all there.
‘Obviously something serious had happened. I suspect most people who live round here have to have a reasonable amount of money to buy the houses.’
Neighbour Brigette Colbourne said the owners of the house were away, and people were staying at the property.
She said she saw two women, but thought there were more people staying as there was another car.
“They seemed perfectly well behaved people,” said Mrs Colbourne.
“We didn’t see them, and didn’t hear anything untoward.”
John Dean, chairman of Bosham Parish Council, said: ‘I am very surprised by anything like that to be happening in this area. It’s a mixed area with holiday lettings and also permanent residents.’
Anyone with information should ring 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Operation Ensign. Alternatively call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.