UK & World News

  • 1 January 2014, 2:44

Bosham Murder Hunt As Woman Found Dead

A 55-year-old woman has been found dead at a family home she was looking after during the holidays in a picturesque south coast seaside village.

The victim, named by police as Valerie Graves, was discovered with a serious head injury at the house at Smuggler's Lane, in Bosham, near Chichester, West Sussex, on Monday at 9.50am.

Mrs Graves, of Bracklesham†Bay, West Sussex, who had two grown-up children, had been staying at the six-bedroomed house with three members of her family while the owners, listed as Malcolm and Jane Chamberlain, and their two children were away over the Christmas holidays.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: "They (the owners) have people staying in the house while they are away for the holidays, it could be friends, it could be family.

"It is not rented out, people come because it is a nice place to visit. We do not know who they were, they have been there since Christmas.

"There were cars parked in the drive, they were entirely well-behaved, they came gently and went gently, we heard absolutely nothing."

She added: "I am just very sad for our neighbours and for everybody. You can't imagine coming back from holiday to this, it must be just horrendous."

Police said that the death was being treated as suspicious and was being investigated by detectives from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team.

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Fanner 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, December 29 to around 9am on Monday, December 30.

"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."

Forensics officers were working at the home, which is valued at £1.5m and has children's playground equipment outside, on Tuesday morning.†

Bosham has a rich history and legend has it that King Canute† lived† in the village and it was there he ordered the waves to retreat.

Bosham church features on the Bayeux tapestry and King Harold sailed for Normandy from Quay Meadow in 1064.

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