Jan 2 2014
The family of an artist found dead while house-sitting for friends at a luxury village property have paid tribute to "a free spirit who enjoyed her life".
Valerie Graves, 55, had significant head and facial injuries when she was discovered at the waterside house in Bosham, near Chichester, West Sussex, on Monday morning.
The mother of two had been house-sitting with three other members of her family over Christmas while the owners of the detached family home were abroad.
Speaking publicly for the first time about their loss, Ms Graves' family issued a statement saying she was "an eternal student who was always hungry for a new challenge".
No arrests have been made by Sussex Police. The death has shocked the quiet seaside community of Bosham, which featured in an episode of the ITV crime drama Midsomer Murders.
Relatives of Ms Graves said she had recently moved back to Sussex from Scotland to be closer to her family.
In the statement, issued through Sussex Police, they said: " Val was a much loved daughter, sister, mum and nan, who will be sorely missed by the whole family.
"Val was a free spirit who enjoyed her life and was a talented artist, about to embark on a new path involving ceramics.
"She was an eternal student who was always hungry for a new challenge. She had recently moved back to Sussex from Scotland to be closer to her family and we were lucky enough to spend a family Christmas together.
"This has been a complete shock to the family and we appeal to anyone who has any information, no matter how trivial, to contact Sussex Police."