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Romanian pleads guilty to 2013 house-sitter murder

Valerie Graves was found bludgeoned to death at a £1.6m property in West Sussex.

Artist Valerie Graves was found bludgeoned to death (Family handout/PA)
Artist Valerie Graves was found bludgeoned to death (Family handout/PA)

By Michael Drummond, PA South East Correspondent

A Romanian man has pleaded guilty to the 2013 murder of grandmother Valerie Graves.

The killing of the 55-year-old artist at Christmas time shocked the small village of Bosham in West Sussex.

She was found bludgeoned to death in the ground-floor bedroom of a luxury £1.6 million property where she was house-sitting.

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The house in Bosham, West Sissex, where Valerie Graves was found murdered (Chris Ison/PA)

Cristian Sabou, previously of Dej, Romania, pleaded guilty to her murder when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Monday.

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 and extradited to the UK.

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Valerie Graves’ son described her as a ‘free spirit’ (Family handout/PA)

Following Ms Graves’ murder, her son, Tim Wood, said: “She was a free spirit who enjoyed her life and was a talented artist.

“She had lived in Scotland for about 10 years, a place she loved and which inspired her passion for art.

“This has been devastating for the family and has come as a complete shock.”

Her family described her as “an eternal student who was always hungry for a new challenge”.

PA

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