Murder of Valerie Graves

50°48′42″N 0°50′55″W / 50.81164°N 0.84854°W / 50.81164; -0.84854

Valerie Graves (25 December 1958[citation needed] – 29/30 December 2013) was an artist and grandmother who was murdered in December 2013 in Bosham, West Sussex, England.[1]


Graves had two adult children and had owned a gallery and craft studio in Roxburghshire, having lived in Scotland for ten years.[2][3] She had moved to Bracklesham Bay not long before the murder to look after her then 87-year-old mother Eileen.[2]

Christmas 2013Edit

Eileen, Valerie, her sister Janet, and Janet's partner, Nigel, were housesitting in Smugglers Lane, Bosham, for friends who were out of the country at the time.[1][2] Several members of her family and friends visited the house over this time and enjoyed both the Christmas celebrations and Valerie’s birthday, which was on Christmas Day.[1]


On the morning of 30 December, Janet found Graves' body in her bedroom, having suffered severe head and facial injuries.[3] A patio door, leading directly from the bedroom outside to the back of the premises, was found to be unlocked.[1]


A few days after the murder, a hammer was found by police at the entrance to the driveway of Harts' Farm on Hoe Lane, some 600m from the murder scene.[1] The hammer was confirmed to be the murder weapon.[1] A local man was arrested on 14 January 2014 and questioned about the murder, but was bailed and released without further action.[1]

In November 2014, a partial DNA profile for the suspect was obtained.[1] In January 2015, Sussex Police began a voluntary mass DNA screening programme in Bosham, asking men aged 17 and over to give samples.[4] At the time, officers had interviewed 9,500 people in relation to the case, a reward of £20,000 had been offered and the murder had been featured on Crimewatch.[1]

In July 2019 Cristian Sabău was arrested in his home in Dej, Romania on a European Arrest Warrant.[5] Sussex Police sought his extradition.[5] He appeared in court in Cluj-Napoca.[5][6]

He was extradited to the UK and was scheduled to appear before Brighton Magistrates' court on 20 July 2019.[7] He was remanded in custody with a further court appearance scheduled for 30 September.[8]


In November 2019 Sabău was convicted of her murder after pleading guilty.[9] The prosecutor said that Sabău had entered the house with the intent to burgle it, expecting it to be empty.[9] He had been told that a safe in the house contained a large amount of cash and ingots.[9] He had previously done odd jobs for the owners.[9] When he encountered Valerie Graves he attacked her with a hammer, leaving injuries that the prosecution compared to those sustained in traffic accidents.[9] Judge Christine Laing jailed him for life with a minimum term of 23 years and 272 days.[9]


The murder was the subject of the Sky documentary series, Killer in My Village (Season 4, Episode 8).[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Unsolved: The murder of Valerie Graves". Sussex Police. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Police investigating Valerie Graves murder continue forensic searches". The Guardian. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b Peachey, Paul (3 January 2014). "Valerie Graves death: Police investigate the murder mystery unsettling Bosham – a real-life Midsomer". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  4. ^ Press Association (21 January 2017). "Valerie Graves murder: mass DNA screening to begin in Bosham". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Valerie Graves: Romania man arrested over Bosham murder". BBC News. 10 July 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  6. ^ Diver, Tony (11 July 2019). "Romanian man arrested for murder of Valerie Graves after his ex-wife tipped off police". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Valerie Graves: Romanian man charged with grandmother's murder". BBC News. 19 July 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Valerie Graves: Murder-accused Cristian Sabou appears in court". BBC. 23 July 2019. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e f PA Media (11 November 2019). "Man who killed Valerie Graves in 'horrific' attack jailed for life". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Sky: Killer in My Village". Retrieved 18 September 2021.