UK & World News
Church Organist Dies After Midnight Mass Attack
A church organist who died after being attacked on his way to midnight mass on Christmas Eve has been described as a "good man" with a "gentle soul".
Alan Greaves, 68, from Sheffield, was found with head injuries on the pavement close to his home on Greengate Lane at approximately 11.15pm on December 24.
He died on Thursday night surrounded by his family at the city's Northern General Hospital.
South Yorkshire Police have launched a murder investigation and are appealing for witnesses to come forward. Detective Superintendent Matt Fenwick said it is likely a weapon was used but the motive for the attack is not known.
Mr Greaves, a retired social worker, had been an organist and lay preacher with St Saviour's Church in High Green for nine years.
Canon Simon Bessant who worked closely with Mr Greaves and his wife Maureen, a church community worker, said: "He was a good man and this was an evil act.
"He was a gentle soul. He wasn't foolish - he would have handled the situation as best as anyone would but we don't know what he encountered."
Mr Bessant, who was expecting Mr Greaves at the church, went on: "He never arrived, which we thought was strange. Sadly, he was attacked about 250 yards from the church. His family were all at home and the police contacted them at about midnight to say there has been an accident.
"I spent most of Christmas Day with him and the family. They have a strong faith but that doesn't mean you don't feel the difficulty. It was a hard vigil by his bedside, watching him struggle.
"His wife wants justice but she doesn't want vengeance. She is not embittered but obviously she wants this person to be caught.
"This isn't even a bad area. He was walking down the main road opposite the school and park. It isn't like a dark alleyway and there were people around on Christmas Eve."
Det Supt Fenwick said: "At 11pm on Christmas Eve Mr Greaves left his house and walked towards the nearby church where he performs as an organist.
"Between his house and that location he was subjected to the brutal attack. At 11.15pm a member of the public found Mr Greaves and called the emergency services.
"He was a family man and the family are devastated about what has taken place. I would like to appeal on their behalf and on my behalf for anyone who might have witnessed any part of this incident or anyone who has information that could assist this investigation to please contact us."
Mr Greaves had four adult children and had recently become a grandfather to two twin boys adopted by his daughter in Mozambique.
He and his wife had recently set up a food bank and community project in the area where he was murdered.