UK & World News

  • 17 January 2014, 22:22

Valerie Graves Killing: Hammer May Be Weapon

Police investigating the murder of a grandmother have appealed for information about a hammer they have found.

The object, which is about 30cm long and has a distinctive red and black handle, may have been used to kill Valerie Graves.

It was found by detectives in the same West Sussex village where she was murdered.

The discovery came just hours after a 22-year-old man arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of killing Ms Graves was released on bail.

Ms Graves, a 55-year-old artist, was killed as she house-sat with her mother, sister and her sister's partner while the owners were abroad over Christmas.

Her body was discovered by one of her relatives in a ground-floor bedroom at the waterside property in Bosham, near Chichester, on December 30.

A post-mortem revealed she had suffered significant head and facial injuries.

The hammer is embossed with the words Forge Steel, with a picture of an outline of an anvil.

Detective Superintendent Nick May, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: "We need to know the origins of this hammer. Do you recognise it?

"We need people to check if they have lost such a hammer or had one stolen in the period leading up to the murder.

"We would also ask police officers, prison staff, probation officers and professionals who work in mental health, if they have dealt with anyone who has talked about causing someone harm with a hammer, to let us know."

Ms Graves' death shocked the people of Bosham - a village which featured in an episode of the ITV crime drama Midsomer Murders.

Police are continuing to appeal for information from anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Bosham area from late afternoon on December 29 to 10am the following day.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 101, quoting Operation Ensign, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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