Burglar who bludgeoned a grandma to death with a hammer jailed after cops use daughter’s DNA to nail him – The Sun

Burglar who bludgeoned a grandma to death with a hammer jailed after cops use daughter’s DNA to nail him – The Sun

November 11, 2019

A ROMANIAN burglar was jailed for life for the hammer murder of a grandmother — after being nailed by the DNA of his own daughters.

Migrant Cristian Sabou, 28, was shopped by his wife Adina Marian after he confessed to her that he had killed Valerie Graves during a break-in.

He came clean after she caught him researching stories online about the killing.

At the request of police, she then provided forensic swabs from their daughters, aged six and four, to provide evidence linking him to Valerie’s killing through familial DNA.

The crucial intelligence led to Sabou’s arrest in July this year and a sample of his own DNA confirmed a match with forensic profiles obtained from the murder weapon, Valerie’s hand and the murder scene.

Adina, 26, explained her decision to turn in her husband, saying: “I could not live with myself knowing that a cold-blooded murderer was walking the streets free.”

Artist Valerie, 55 — described as a “loving and free spirit” — had been house-sitting at a £1.6million property in Bosham, West Sussex.


Sabou had previously worked there as a gardener and had learned that the owners would be away for Christmas, leaving a large amount of cash and ingots in a safe.

After drinking a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, Sabou cycled to the property to burgle it on the night of December 29, 2013, armed with a foot-long black and red claw hammer.

But after entering through an unlocked patio door to a ground-floor bedroom, he found Valerie and attacked her, causing “horrific injuries” to her head as she tried to defend herself.

Sabou will serve a minimum of 23 years after pleading guilty to murder at Lewes crown court yesterday.

Judge Christine Laing QC praised Adina for having the “decency and courage” to come forward, adding the murder would have “remained unsolved” if she had not.

Adina, who has returned to Romania, told The Sun: “I didn’t do anything for a while because I was afraid of him and what this might to do our little girls. But I decided to do it because it’s the right thing to do.

“I feel sorry for Valerie’s family and ashamed that my husband caused them so much pain. I hope that this verdict will bring them some comfort.”

Time of capture

Sabou came to the UK with Adina in 2013 but struggled to find regular work and the couple were living in a caravan in a scrap metal yard on an industrial estate off the A27, in Chichester, when he murdered Valerie.

Sabou cycled to the home Valerie was house-sitting to burgle it on the night of December 29. He was armed with a 16 oz foot-long black and red claw hammer.

The killer and wife Adina stayed in the Sussex area after the murder but she later moved back to Romania with their girls.

He made frequent trips back to Romania to see them and was there in July last year when he confessed to Valerie’s murder.

Adina reported him to police online using Google translation in September and they obtained a European Investigation Order.

After the DNA profile was confirmed, Sabou was arrested on July 10 this year in a joint operation between Romanian police and detectives from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team.

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