Valerie Graves death: Police release hammer murder suspect

Valerie Graves Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Valerie Graves and members of her family had been house-sitting in Bosham when she was killed

A 22-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murdering an artist in West Sussex over Christmas has been told he will not face charges.

Sussex Police said the man answered bail on Monday but was released.

He was arrested in January after Valerie Graves, 55, was found dead in a house in Bosham on 30 December.

She and three members of her family had been house-sitting while the owners of the property in Smugglers Lane were away over Christmas.

Ms Graves went to bed at 22:00 GMT on 29 December and was found dead by one of her relatives at about 10:00 GMT the following day in the bedroom where she had been sleeping.

After the killing, police said they thought she had been bludgeoned to death with a claw hammer that was found by officers searching in Bosham.

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

Ch Insp Justin Burtenshaw said extra patrols were continuing in the area.

"Some local residents are obviously concerned and we want to do all we can to reassure them," he added.

He said detectives were knocking on the doors of more than 700 homes in a bid to gather information.

The major crime team was working to provide further offender profiling and was being advised by the National Crime Agency, he added.

Mr Burtenshaw said detectives were keeping an open mind about the motive for Ms Graves's violent death.

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