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.
what do you think?
Words fail me !!!! I would call them animals but I think animals have higher standards !!!! Sick to the pit of my stomach !!!!
It is horrible Kimberley- the poor man! It often seems so mindless, when these assaults take place- all for nothing. He probably looked at someone the wrong way!
Until we have any real deterrents this sort of thing will continue to happen.
I agrre what will happen to them if they are caught "don't be naughty if you are from a deprived upbringing we will give you everything to help you "
I believe inquite tough sentencing(Though not cruel sentencing) but also in understanding why people get so angry and dehumanised that they commit crimes. Every time i say this i get shouted down and called a stupid do gooder but surely it is to all our advantage to understand what is happening inside the heads of criminals. If we don't understand iit we will always feel powerless, I don't think tough senrencing on it's own acts as a deterrent look at the states, where sentencing is tough and violent crime rates high. No society evr got rid of brutality by being brutal
i agree its good to get inside criminal minds,but,in my opinion the problem with focusing to much on, "understanding why people get so angry and dehumanised that they commit crimes. " and not making the sentence fit the crime; is that there are so many people out there who have had it bad( and i mean really bad) but they don't become OAP attackers. It our choices that define us NOT our home-life/upbringing or however "dehumanised" we feel.
I am getting very bored of people giving thumbs down to every comment made . You must have a very sad lonely life and if this is how you get your kicks, I pity you , what a waste of your precious life , I hope you are feeling very proud of yourself !!!!
Kimberley it's wierd and horrible and at times i have been upset by it too. Please try to ignore them as they are really silly people and quite stupid, i think!
Girls, girls. Do not let it get to you. There are some on here who mark comments down just because they can. It is no big deal. Instead look at the many who can discuss the issues in a sensible & civilised manner despite holding differing opinions.
What is this country coming to? A 68 year old is attacked in the street and injured badly enough to kill him. When I was young sure we had scraps but generally there was something which caused it to kick off. Now it seems the only provocation necessary is being there. So many people these days seem to carry a knife as part of their fashion accessories. I am glad I am old and well out of it.
I am 56 and i try not to be afraid of being out at night when it's dark. Our neighbourhood seems to be getting rougher and rougher and from the 23-27th i heard/saw disturbances and police cars every night, even on Christmas eve and Christmas night. It doesn't really scare me to be out but i am very afraid if my sons insist on walking home instead of using the taxi money i give them
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R.I.P. Mr. Greaves. It seems to me that I type these letters more and more in recent times.
Terrible what a vile place we live in There's no deterrent in this country kill someone you get let off .get stopped by the police in your car for a light bulb out you get life . My wishes are with his family so sad
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The column is normally filled with condolences only, but it is apparent that anger is taking it's place perhaps because of the regularity of such offenses on our streets. R.I.P. Mr. Greaves
What's the point ? We all know that if this person or people are caught, the courts will impose a derisory and ineffective punishment. Let's hear it from the liberal bigots.
Where is the humanity, what is this world coming to. All you hear of is people killing people, wars, murder, abuse. It's just not a nice place to be
This is indeed a tragic sad story. This poor gentlemen was on his way to perform a service for the benefit of others. I agree with sentiments expressed and my condolences to this man's family. There are no excuses for this. My immediate thoughts are a bunch of young idiots high on drugs and cheap booze, but I may be entirely wrong. I just hope the police find who did this and they serve the maximum sentence. No liberalism from me. It has a lot to answer for. It is through such liberal attitudes that we have lost our values. Respect for our elders, for our community etc.
Agreed Lucien, what a terrible shame. lets hope his killers are found before they target someone else. Condolences to the poor man's family. Very very sad.
We DO still have a death penalty. It's paid on an almost daily basis by people like Mr Greaves. If you don't believe this then compare murder rates in the days when there was a death penalty for murder with those of today. Nobody could welcome its return. It's a vile and horrible business, but these daily incidents of casual killing are the price we otherwise pay.
Appalled again. It's difficult to comment and still appear respectful to this poor man.
This country just isn't safe anymore put your like in your own hands just going to the shops these days it with joke laws and everyone being let of with a slap on the wrist it will only get worse
why when we hit our kids when we get pushed to the limits do the press .....yes the press publish a story and making out that the parents are (EVIL) when its a lot of people out there who have given rights to let kids do what they want ,,and boy do the children know this..time to bring back punishments for kids that make them afraid..right now none of this is out there
This is so sad and appalling..Thoughts are with his family.
As i have said before,with todays technology the police have to hand when someone is arrested for these murders and the police are satisfied with the evidence beyond doubt then the punishment should fit the crime,a life for a life.Sorry if this comment offends,but thats my opinion,we may then see a reduction in these senseless crimes. R.I.P Mr. Greaves.
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We have had about 4 murders in the NE over the Christmas and they all have a familiar pattern. Drink, disagreement, knife and then funeral. I really despair at how people are so quick to use a knife at the drop of a hat for what are often no more than minor incidents. Unfortunately it will only get worse