Romanian man jailed for life for murder of grandmother Valerie Graves
A Romanian man has been jailed for life for murdering a 55-year-old grandmother while she was housesitting at a property in West Sussex.
Cristian Sabou, from the city of Dej, pleaded guilty to murdering artist Valerie Graves at a house in Bosham in December 2013.
He was later handed his sentence at Lewes Crown Court, and will serve a minimum of 24 years in prison.
© Associated Press Cristian Sabou is escorted by an officer after a hearing to confirm his European Arrest Warrant
It comes after an almost six-year-long investigation by Sussex Police to track down Ms Graves’ killer in one of the longest murder cases in the force’s history.
© PA Valerie Graves was described as a ‘free spirit’ by her family
Sabou was eventually arrested and charged in Romania in July 2019, before being extradited to the UK.
Ms Graves, who was described as a “free spirit” by her family, was found bludgeoned to death in the ground floor bedroom of a £1.6m property on 30 December.
She had just spent Christmas with her family, and had recently moved back from Scotland to spend more time with them.
Following her 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.”