POLICE in South Yorkshire
are continuing to appeal for witnesses to the brutal attack on
Christmas Eve of Alan Greaves, an organist and Reader, as he walked
to the midnight communion service at St Saviour's, High Green,
Mortomley, near Sheffield, where he was due to play the organ.
(right) had left his home in High Green at about 11 p.m.
for the short walk to the church. He was discovered 15 minutes
later, lying on the road, with serious head injuries. He died two
days later in Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.
Two men arrested on
suspicion of murder on Saturday were released on police bail the
following day, pending further enquiries.
Mr Greaves's widow, Maureen, a Church Army evangelist,
attended a packed service at St Saviour's last Sunday, and thanked
the congregation for its support and prayers.
"I have prayed constantly
for Alan, and I know that you have, too. I have never stopped
crying for Alan, and I know that you have never stopped crying with
me. I have grieved over the evil that has been done; and I know
that you, too, have grieved over the evil that has been done. And I
have prayed for you, and I know that you have prayed for me."
Matt Fenwick is leading the investigation for South Yorkshire
Police. They are keeping an open mind about the attack. "We cannot
think of a motive why anybody would want to attack Mr Greaves. . .
This individual could come from the local community or could come
from further afield."
The police do not know
whether Mr Greaves was attacked by an individual or a group, or
what weapon might have been used. Robbery has not been ruled out as
a motive; but Mr Fenwick said: "We are not aware of anything
missing from Mr Greaves at this time."
Part of a metal fence
near the site of the attack on Mr Greaves has been removed by
police for forensic examination. And officers are studying CCTV
footage taken from homeowners and businesses.
Patrols have been stepped
up in High Green, as police maintain a high-profile presence in the
area. "High Green is a very close-knit community and the attack on
Mr Greaves is fairly unique in terms of the viciousness that was
used," the district police commander, Chief Superintendent Shaun
The Vicar of St
Saviour's, Canon Simon Bessant, said that Mr Greaves had served the
people of Sheffield both in his professional life as a social
worker and through voluntary community work. He played the piano in
a local primary school, and carried out visiting in the parish. "I
can only find one word to describe Alan, and that is to say that he
is a good man."
"It is hard to understand
how this could happen on Christmas Eve night on what was a main
road. It was a bus route. It's outside a local school. This wasn't
some dark alleyway. It happened only about 300 metres away from the
church. He very nearly made it."
He continued: "There has
been huge upset in the church family and in the wider community.
There is a lot of shock out there."
The Bishop of Sheffield,
Dr Steven Croft, wrote to the clergy in the diocese urging them to
pray for Mr Greaves's family, the church at High Green, and the
After attending last
Sunday's service at St Saviour's, he spoke to Sky News to pay
tribute to Mr Greaves's widow: "Maureen has been impressive and
courageous throughout this week. . . The city and High Green have
lost a good man and a shining light. Of course, murder is terrible
whoever it happens to, but there is particular grief and outrage
that it should be Alan."
The CEO of the Church
Army, Mark Russell, said: "I knew Alan really well. This is a
couple who worked in probably one of the most deprived parts of
Sheffield. They were just servant-hearted, phenomenal community
people, who just recently set up a food bank on that estate."
Anyone with information that could assist the investigation
is asked to contact South Yorkshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers
on 0800 555 111.