Burglar’s bombshell ‘I killed her’ confession after attacking gran with hammer – Mirror.co.uk
A burglar admitted to the Mirror he killed gran Valerie Graves as he appeared in a Romanian court over the “Midsomer Murder” case.
Cristian Sabou’s shock confession came after he agreed to be extradited to the UK to face trial for the hammer death during a 2013 raid.
He told us: “She woke up, I panicked. I never meant to kill anybody. I am really sorry.”
He sat solemnly in the dock of a courtroom on Thursday where he made his shock confession over the killing.
The 27-year-old Romanian admitted to the Mirror he attacked the artist in her bedroom during a burglary.
After he agreed to be extradited from Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, to face justice in Britain for the “Midsomer murder” case, we asked if he had anything to say to Valerie’s family.
Still in the dock, and in front of judge Claudia Illies, he replied in English: “Yes, I want to apologise. I am really sorry.”
And Sabou added through a translator: “I was under the impression that there was no one in the house.
“I was 21, I was very young and immature. I did not have much money and it was my first time in England. She had been lying in bed when she woke up, she surprised me and I panicked.
“I never meant to kill anybody. I want my wife to know what happened. It was an accident, I thought everybody was away.”
Sabou admitted taking a claw hammer, to the home in the village of Bosham, West Sussex.
During the 45-minute hearing in Cluj’s historic Palace of Justice, it emerged the suspect lived close to the £1.6million property where 55-year-old Valerie was killed with a hammer on December 30, 2013.
Footage also emerged yesterday of Sabou’s arrest. He is seen handcuffed outside his flat in Dej, about an hour from Cluj.
And he can be heard saying to police: “I tell you honestly I did not mean to hurt her. It was an accident.
“Somebody asked me to get into the house. It was about money.”
Valerie was house sitting at the mansion with sister Jan, her partner Nigel Acres and mum Eileen while the owner holidayed abroad.
Police carried out one of the biggest voluntary mass DNA screenings ever.
They took 2,819 samples from males over 17 who visited, lived or worked in the village, used in filming for ITV drama Midsomer Murders.
Sabou’s lawyer Cristina Radu said the suspect had been working nearby at the time of the killing.
The breakthrough came when his ex-wife contacted Valerie’s family last year. She told them he had confessed to killing the mum-of-two.
Detectives from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team were in court yesterday, and remain in Romania working with authorities.
The judge agreed Sabou should return to Britain to face justice but he must serve any sentence in his home country.
Arrangements were being made for him to be returned to Britain in the next 10 days. A Sussex Police spokesman said last night: “He will then appear before a magistrates court before being sent for crown court trial.”
Sabou’s girlfriend, Gabriela Granti, told how she was “absolutely shocked” when she found out he was being arrested on suspicion of murder.
The 41-year-old said: “He didn’t seem the kind of person who would kill someone. I can’t believe he would. I can’t say anything bad about him.”