Romanian man accused of Midsomer Murders killing remanded in custody

On the fifth anniversary of Ms Graves’s death last December, relatives told how no-one had given up hope on the investigation although there was a sense police had exhausted all lines of inquiry.Cristian Sabou is a Romanian national who was living in the UK at the time Ms Graves was killed.Earlier this month his father, Viorel Sabou, told The Telegraph that Cristian had become homeless when he first moved to the UK, before living in a caravan at the scrap metal yard where he worked.He told of his son’s love of animals, and his dream to set up a snake farm in Australia. Cristian Sabou will attend a plea and trial preparation hearing on 30 September in advance of his trial. A Romanian man has appeared in court charged with the murder of grandmother Valerie Graves, who was beaten to death with a claw hammer while house sitting for friends in 2013.Cristian Sabou, 27, appeared in court wearing a black t shirt and confirmed his name through a translator.He was extradited from Romania earlier this month after being arrested on a European Arrest Warrant in Dej, Romania. The arrest was a joint operation by Romanian police and the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team detectives. Mr Sabou did not oppose his extradition, and now faces trial in the UK.At Lewes Crown Court today Judge Christine Laing set a preliminary trial date of January 6, 2020.Ms Graves, 55, was house sitting for holidaying friends in a £1.6m waterside mansion in Bosham, West Sussex, over Christmas 2013, when she was killed.Her body was discovered in her bedroom with fatal injuries to the face and head, inflicted with a claw hammer later discovered nearby. The murder confounded detectives from Sussex Police, who interviewed more than 9,000 people and took 3,000 DNA samples in an attempt to find her killer.The case became known as the Midsomer Murder after an episode of the popular ITV drama was filmed in the picturesque coastal village. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.