MAUREEN GREAVES, the widow of the church organist who was
murdered as he walked to midnight mass last year, has prayed that
his killers will find forgiveness (News,
Ashley Foster, aged 22, was found guilty last week of the
manslaughter of Alan Greaves, who was 68. Jonathan Bowling, also
22, had earlier pleaded guilty to murder. The court heard that the
pair had been walking the streets looking for somebody to attack.
Mr Foster claimed that he had simply watched the ferocious attack
On Friday, Mr Bowling was jailed for life, with a minimum tariff
of 25 years. Mr Foster was jailed for nine years.
Speaking outside Sheffield Crown Court after the sentences had
been passed down, Mrs Greaves, a Church Army evangelist in
Sheffield, said that she was "extremely pleased" with
the result. "Our lives will never be the same again," she said.
"Alan was a man who was driven by love and compassion, and he would
not want any of us to hold on to feelings of hate and
unforgiveness. So, in honour of Alan, and in honour of the God that
we both love, my prayer is that this story doesn't end today.
"My prayer is that Jonathan Bowling and Ashley Foster will come
to understand and experience the love and kindness of the God who
made them in his own image, and that God's great mercy will inspire
both of them to true repentance."
Mrs Greaves went on to say that "God never intended this life
for them. I do hope that they, too, can find God's love for
Mrs Greaves was given a handwritten letter of remorse from Mr
Bowling, just before he was sentenced. She has decided not to read
it, but has given it to Det. Supt Matt Fenwick, who led the
investigation into Mr Greaves's murder, for safekeeping, in case
she changes her mind in the future.
Det. Supt Fenwick praised Mrs Greaves's "great strength and
dignity", and described the investigation as "long and
"Alan Greaves suffered an appalling, extremely violent, and
totally unprovoked attack as he walked to church," he said. "In a
matter of minutes, Jonathan Bowling and Ashley Foster had left an
innocent man for dead."
Canon Simon Bessant, Vicar of St Saviour's, High Green, where Mr
Greaves was walking to play the organ when he was attacked, said:
"We condemn absolutely the evil attack upon Alan. Alan was
intending to celebrate the coming of light at Christmas; yet he
himself was the victim of darkness just a few minutes away from
doors of the church."