'Midsomer Murders' burglar confesses to murder of Edinburgh artist Valerie Graves
A man has pleaded guilty to the 2013 murder of grandmother Valerie Graves, who was a stalwart of the Edinburgh art world.
The killing of the 55-year-old artist at Christmas time shocked the small village of Bosham in West Sussex.
She was found bludgeoned to death in the ground-floor bedroom of a luxury £1.6 million property where she was house-sitting. Cristian Sabou, previously of Dej in Romania, pleaded guilty to her murder when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Monday.
Ms Graves had just moved down from Scotland 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 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."
Her family described her as "an eternal student who was always hungry for a new challenge".
Valerie, who graduated from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, had lived in Melrose, Roxburghshire, before moving to Sussex – not long before her murder – to be close to family.
She previously exhibited in galleries across Edinburgh and was well-known among the city's arts community.