Man admits murdering gran while she was house-sitting

Cristian Sabou pleads guilty to 2013 killing after being brought back to UK from Romania.

Valerie Graves: Death shocked the village of Bosham.
Valerie Graves: Death shocked the village of Bosham.

A man has admitted murdering a grandmother shortly after she moved away from Scotland to be nearer family.

Valerie Graves’ death just after Christmas in 2013 shocked the small village of Bosham in West Sussex.

The artist was found bludgeoned to death in the ground-floor bedroom of a property she was house-sitting.

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 Roxburghshire 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.

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 ten 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”.

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