'Midsomer Murders' burglar confesses to killing Edinburgh artist Valerie Graves

Valerie Graves. Pic; Sussex Police/PA Wire
Valerie Graves. Pic; Sussex Police/PA Wire
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The burglar accused of killing a former stalwart of the Edinburgh art world has made a dramatic courtroom confession in his home country of Romania.

The Daily Record reports that Cristian Sabou, 27, admitted attacking Valerie Graves with a hammer in a bedroom during a burglary in 2013.

Valerie, who graduated from Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University, lived in Melrose before moving to Sussex to be with family not long before her murder.

After Sabou agreed to be extradited from Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, to face justice in Britain for the killing, Sabou was asked by the judge if he had anything to say to Valerie's family.

Still in the dock, he replied in English: “Yes, I want to ­apologise. I am really sorry.”

Through a translator, he said he was under the impression there was no one in the house at the time and said he was "very young and immature."

He said Valerie had been lying in bed and woke up and she surprised him and he panicked.

He added: "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 £1.6m mansion in Bosham, West Sussex.

During the hearing in Cluj's historic Palace of Justice, it emerged the suspect lived close to the property where Valerie was killed.

Sabou was arrested when his ex-wife contacted Valerie's family last year and told them he had confessed to killing her.

Police conducted a mass voluntary DNA screening of males over the age of 17 in the village, a location for ITV drama Midsomer Murders.

Valerie had been house-sitting at the mansion with family while the owner was abroad.

The judge agreed Sabou should return to the UK to face justice but should serve any sentence in his own country.