DNA screening in murder inquiry

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Published: Wednesday 21st January 2015 by The News Editor

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Mass voluntary DNA screening will start today by police investigating the unsolved murder of a grandmother as she house-sat for friends.

Men who live, work or visit the Bosham area of West Sussex are being invited to eliminate themselves from suspicion following the killing of artist Valerie Graves.

The DNA screening will take place at the Millstream Hotel in the village from today, with posters alerting locals about the dates the screening will take place.

It is the latest move by detectives who have launched a large-scale manhunt for the killer of grandmother and mother of two Ms Graves.

The 55-year-old is believed to have been killed with a claw hammer in a ground floor bedroom in Smugglers Lane, Bosham, on December 30, 2013.

She was bludgeoned as she house-sat with her sister Jan, mother Eileen and her sister’s partner, Nigel Acres, while the property’s owners holidayed abroad over Christmas.

More than 9,500 people have been interviewed by police, a £20,000 reward has been offered, a BBC Crimewatch appeal has been made and a limited DNA match of a suspect has been yielded.

But despite an exhaustive inquiry, no-one has been charged. On the first-year anniversary of the murder, officers handed out leaflets and put up posters about the DNA screening.

They asked for men aged over 17 who live, work or visit Bosham to provide a DNA mouth swab and thumbprint to eliminate them from the inquiry.

The death of Ms Graves shocked the small community of Bosham, which featured in an episode of the ITV crime drama Midsomer Murders.

Last month Ms Graves’s two children Tim Wood, 32, and Jemima Harrison, 35, spoke – along with Mr Acres – ahead of the first anniversary of her murder.

The family said Christmas was put “on hold” as they faced their first festive season without her and as her murderer still remains at large.

Published: Wednesday 21st January 2015 by The News Editor

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