UK & World News

  • 3 January 2014, 0:48

Bosham House-Sitter Murder: Family Pay Tribute

The family of an artist found murdered while house-sitting have paid tribute to "a free spirit who enjoyed her life".

Valerie Graves was discovered with significant head and facial injuries at the waterside house in the village of Bosham, near Chichester, West Sussex, on Monday.

The 55-year-old mother of two had been looking after the detached home with three members of her family while the owners were abroad over Christmas.

Sussex Police have yet to make any arrests over a death that has shocked the quiet seaside community of Bosham, which featured in an episode of the ITV crime dramaMidsomer Murders.

A statement issued by Ms Graves' family said she was "an eternal student who was always hungry for a new challenge".

"Val was a much-loved daughter, sister, mum and nan, who will be sorely missed by the whole family," the statement said.

"Val was a free spirit who enjoyed her life and was a talented artist, about to embark on a new path involving ceramics.

"She was an eternal student who was always hungry for a new challenge. She had recently moved back to Sussex from Scotland to be closer to her family and we were lucky enough to spend a family Christmas together.

"This has been a complete shock to the family and we appeal to anyone who has any information, no matter how trivial, to contact Sussex Police."

Stuart Grange lived near Ms Graves in Maxton, near the Scottish borders, until she moved a few months ago.

He told Sky News: "(She was) a good neighbour, a very private person, hard worker .. well regarded, well liked.

"We're a very small community here and this has caused a lot of shock. It's really appalling and sad what has happened to her."