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Murdered house-sitter died from head injuries

A 55-year-old woman who was murdered while house-sitting in a quiet seaside village in West Sussex died from "significant head and facial injuries", a post-mortem has revealed.

The home where the body of 55-year-old Valerie Graves was found dead. Credit: Press Association

Valerie Graves was found dead in the property in Smuggler's Lane on Monday morning. She had been house-sitting with three other members of her family over Christmas while the owners of the home were on holiday.

Sussex Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses to come forward, and investigations are continuing. Detective Chief Inspector Jon Fanner said:

"The post-mortem has revealed the cause of death but we are still keeping an open mind as to the motive. We are appealing for witnesses who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously or anything unusual in the area from late afternoon on Sunday 29 December to around 10am on Monday 30 December.

"Please call us if you know anything, no matter how insignificant you might think it is. It could be important to the investigation."


IPCC investigates Sussex Police officers over Savile

Two Sussex Police detectives who dealt with a sex crime claim against Jimmy Savile in 2008 have been referred to the IPCC police watchdog.

A woman came forward in March 2008 to claim that disgraced television presenter Savile assaulted her in a caravan in around 1970 when she was in her early 20s.

This was referred to prosecutors with three other allegations against the performer received by Surrey Police, but in 2009 the Crown Prosecution Service decided no action could be taken.

Officer given advice after calling protesters 'scum'

A police officer from the force overseeing major anti-fracking protests has received "management advice" after labelling activists as "scum" on Twitter.

The comment was picked up by a member of the public, who tweeted, "#balcombe @sussex_police should your officers really be calling protesters 'scum' on twitter? I suggest you issue some guidance ASAP."

Anti-fracking demonstrators form a human chain to slow down lorry at the protests in Balcombe, West Sussex. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The force said in a statement: "Sussex Police has received a report of a personal Twitter account belonging to a Sussex officer, which is abusive to protesters at Balcombe.

"We have worked hard to engage with everyone involved in and affected by the activities surrounding the drilling operation at Balcombe and no matter who authors them, such comments are unhelpful and not acceptable."

Sussex Police 'use pressure points' to move protesters

Sussex Police have been explaining some of their methods to move protesters at the anti-fracking demonstration in Balcombe, including the use of pressure points.

Ex-PCSO charged with £9K theft at Gatwick Airport

A former police community support officer (PCSO) is to appear in court charged with stealing £9,000 from passengers at Gatwick Airport in April.

Passengers at Gatwick Airport's south terminal Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Alexis Scott, 39, of High Grove in London, is charged with multiple counts of theft and misconduct in a public office.

She was dismissed from Sussex Police for gross misconduct after an initial investigation and will appear at Canterbury Magistrates' Court on 2 September.


Police: At least 25 people arrested at Balcombe protest

Police said around 25 protesters had been arrested at the anti-fracking demonstration in Balcombe by around 3.30pm.

Sussex Police said officers had earlier removed a number of bicycles that had been locked together and left lying across the road, which they said created a "serious safety hazard".

Sussex Police said more than 400 officers have been deployed on the operation at Balcombe, with support from 10 other UK forces.

Police appeal as murderer walks out of open prison

Sussex police have appealed for help in tracking down a man who walked out of an open prison at the start of last month, and who they believe could be committing crimes in Brighton and Hove.

Paul Flint, 48, walked out of prison on July1 and has not been arrested. Credit: Sussex Police

Paul Flint, 48, was sent to prison in 1990 for murder and burglary convictions. He absconded from Ford Prison on July 1.

It is believed that he could have committed at least three burglaries since he disappeared. Police said he should not be approached. Detective Inspector Dave Richards said:

"We think Flint is likely to commit more crime unless he is arrested so I would urge anyone that sees him to contact us immediately. Dial 999 but do not approach him."

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