Man wrongly accused of ‘Midsomer Murder’ of artist says his life was destroyed

A suspect who was cleared of a shocking “Midsomer Murder” has told how being arrested destroyed his life.

Police questioned Daniel Pereira, 28, after artist Valerie Graves, 55, was killed in her bed with a hammer in the £1.6million mansion she was house-sitting.

He was held for 72 hours and quizzed for 10 hours – then not told he would face no action until he had spent four months on bail.

The nightmare cost him his home and job and he was admitted to a psychiatric unit. Five years later, as a Romanian man appeared in court charged with the murder yesterday, Mr Pereira has spoken for the first time about his ordeal.

“I’ve been on medication since 2014 and I still need it now,” he said. “It completely destroyed me. Now I’m on sleeping tablets and anti-anxiety tablets which I have to take three times a day.”

The killing in Bosham, West Sussex, in December 2013 was nicknamed the Midsomer Murder because the village was used in a 1998 episode of the ITV whodunnit.

Mr Pereira, a plasterer, believes he was held simply because he lived 400 yards away and police were desperate to blame somebody.

The ordeal left him “physically and mentally unable” to return to the home they had raided.

“I was worried I was a target because I had been linked to the murder,” he said.

“I couldn’t sleep because I thought someone was going to come and kill me in my bed with a hammer. I was put in a psychiatric ward in the Priory.

“I was diagnosed with PTSD, a severe anxiety disorder and depression.

Mr Pereira – now with girlfriend Ellen Luxton, 23, and their 10-week old baby Tommy – was refused compensation for his experience because police said it was a lawful arrest.

“They were so aggressive during the interview. After the third interview I just burst into tears. I said to the officer, ‘I’m going to lose everything, I’m going to lose my job, my life, everything’.

“My solicitor has always said I was a scapegoat.”

Mr Pereira added: “I want people to know that it wasn’t me. I want to get on with my life.

“If you look up my name on the internet the first thing that comes up is a story saying I’m being interviewed for murder.

“There’s nothing saying I was released without charge. It’s ruined my life. I can be speaking to people and they’ve got the story and said, ‘What’s this?’ I even lost a job in a pub because of it.”

Sussex Police said: “An arrest was made in 2014 in connection with the murder of Valerie Graves. This person was subsequently released without further action.

“We did not release this person’s name or where they were from. He was subsequently released because there was not evidence to charge him with the offence.”

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