Live updates

Man freed on bail over house-sitter murder

A man arrested on suspicion of murdering a grandmother as she house-sat for friends in a small village has been released on bail, police said.

Valerie Graves was found dead at a house in West Sussex. Credit: Sussex Police

The 22-year-old man, who was detained on Tuesday in connection with the killing of Valerie Graves, has been released on conditional bail until February 17, Sussex Police said.

Ms Graves, 55, was murdered in a bedroom at a waterside property in Bosham, West Sussex, on December 30 as she house-sat with her mother, sister and her sister's partner while the owners holidayed abroad over Christmas.

A post-mortem examination found she suffered significant head and facial injuries.

Man held over Valerie Graves murder

A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of Valerie Graves, the 55-year-old woman found dead in a bedroom in a home in Bosham, near Chichester, West Sussex on December 30.

55-year-old Valerie Graves was found dead in a bed room at the waterside property in Bosham, near Chichester, West Sussex on December 30. Credit: Police handout.

The victim and her family were looking after the house while the owners were away over Christmas. Her son Tim Wood previously paid tribute to his mother and pleaded for information about the killing.

"My mum was much loved and will be sorely missed by the whole family. She was a free spirit who enjoyed her life and was a talented artist.

"This has been devastating for the family and has come as a complete shock."


Police arrest man in connection with Bosham murder

Sussex Police say they have arrested a 22-year-old man on suspicion of the murder of Valerie Graves in December.

The 55-year-old's body was found in a house in Bosham, West Sussex where she and her family were house-sitting over Christmas.

No arrests in house-sitter murder

Police investigating the murder of Valerie Graves, who was found dead in a West Sussex house, have not made any arrests in the case.

Valerie Graves was found dead at a house in West Sussex. Credit: Sussex Police

At a press conference today, Sussex Police said the 55-year-old woman "went to bed about 10pm in the evening on Sunday 29th [December] and she was found at 10am the following morning. She was found in the bedroom in the rear of the house."

The police force also revealed they are following "a large number of inquiries" and a "significant number of officers" are looking for items which could be connected to her murder.


Founder blames Gove for free school failure

The school's founder says Ofsted has failed to provide support for the school. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Andrew Snowdon, the founder of the failing free school in West Sussex, blamed Ofsted and Education Secretary Michael Gove's department for the problems at Discovery New School.

He told Channel 4 News: "The real failing is one of an out-of-control Ofsted and a Department for Education that hasn't always sung from a single song sheet or provided adequate support at the right moments.

"We were trying to do something very different here and always looking for short-term measures and quick results doesn't always produce what you want."

Parent predicted problems at failing free school

Parent Samantha Bateman withdrew her two sons from Discovery New School at the start of the school year because she predicted there would be problems:

I'm devastated for the parents, but I'm also devastated for the kids, and I'm very angry that all this has happened.

Right from the word go I could see problems. I could see this coming. The first thing that I noticed was that a lot of family and friends connected with the school were running it.

There was no oversight and this didn't seem quite right. We were promised an individualised programme so that our children could learn at their own pace, and that there would be small classes.

They said there would be a real community spirit and that it would be child-centred. Everything they promised wasn't delivered.

– Samantha Bateman, parent

Timeline of events at Discovery New School

  • September 2011 - Discovery New School opens in Crawley, West Sussex becoming one of the first 24 free schools in the country.
  • May 2013 - Ofsted inspectors rate school 'inadequate'.
  • June 2013 - Placed in special measures.
  • October 2013 - Founder and headteacher Lindsay Snowdon suspended. Interim headteacher Penny Crocker appointed.
  • November 2013 - Ofsted inspects the school again and reports that little progress had been made.
  • December 2013 - Department for Education announces that the school's funding agreement is being terminated on 4th April 2014.
Load more updates