In December 2013, Valerie Graves was bludgeoned to death in the bedroom of a luxury home in Bosham, West Sussex.
Six years later, Cristian Sabou, previously of Dej, Romania, pleaded guilty to her murder when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court today.
After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 23 years.
Sabou was extradited to the UK from Romania in July this year.
Ms Graves had just moved down from Scotland to be closer to her family, with whom she spent Christmas before she was found dead on December 30.
The killing sparked one of the longest murder hunts in Sussex Police history, but it was not until July 2019 that Sabou was arrested in Romania and charged.
In the days after her death Ms Graves' family paid tribute to their loved one, all the while issuing emotional appeals for information about what happened.
Her son Tim Wood said: ‘My mum was much loved and will be sorely missed by the whole family.
‘She was a free spirit who enjoyed her life and was a talented artist.
‘This has been devastating for the family and has come as a complete shock.’