Two men arrested over brutal murder of organist killed in 'random attack' as he went to Midnight Mass
Father-of-four Alan Greaves attacked with weapon on Christmas EveMan in his 20s and another in his 40s arrested on suspicion of murderMen are currently in custody and police are 'searching number of properties'
Mr Greaves Found by pizza delivery driver but died from injuries in hospital'Bewildered' widow Maureen pays tribute to 'soft and caring husband'
18:08 GMT, 29 December 2012
Respected: Church organist Alan Greaves, 68, was attacked on his way to Midnight Mass in Sheffield and later died from his injuries
Two men have been arrested in relation to the murder of church organist Alan Greaves who was brutally attacked on his way to Midnight Mass.
Devout Anglican Alan Greaves, 68, was found collapsed on the pavement with multiple head injuries late on Christmas Eve.
Police investigating the attack just yards from the church in High Green, Sheffield, said they have arrested a man in his 20s and a man in his 40s on suspicion of murder.
Both men are from Sheffield and are currently being held in custody.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: 'Officers are searching a number of properties in the area and there has been a high-visibility police presence in High Green today.'
Investigators are still appealing for witnesses to come forward with any information about the murder.
Mr Greaves' widow yesterday spoke of her grief at the 'evil' murder, which has been described as motiveless.
Maureen Greaves, who spent Christmas Day
praying at her husband's bedside, said she had been left devastated by the death
of her husband of 40 years.
The 'gentle and well-respected' organist suffered brain damage and died in hospital on Thursday night.
He had been due to play the organ at Midnight Mass at St Saviour’s Church in High Green, Sheffield.
Mrs Greaves said: ‘We are bewildered and we are struggling to understand how this has happened,’ she said.
‘Alan was soft and caring and would have avoided confrontation at all costs.’
She described her husband as ‘a gentleman, a godly man and a fantastic granddad’ who was ‘loved by many’.
‘Every Christmas Eve he would bring me a huge bunch of flowers, they are still inside,’ she said.
‘He put on his coat and hat and said “/12/28/article-2254085-16ACE3E3000005DC-677_634x333.jpg” width=”634″ height=”333″ alt=”Police hunt for clues near the murder scene on Greengate Lane, Sheffield where Alan Greaves was killed” class=”blkBorder” />
Search: Police hunt for clues near the murder scene on Greengate Lane, Sheffield where Alan Greaves was killed
Hunt: Police say they have no clue as to what the motive for Mr Greaves' murder may be but are not ruling out robbery
Appeal: Detective Matt Fenwick, left, and Superintendent Shaun Morley, right, said the motive for Mr Greaves' murder remains a mystery
Detectives believe the attack may have been a robbery gone wrong or a case of mistaken identity.
Maureen Greaves, 63, told The Sun last night: 'There was no motive. We are devastated.
'It is just not what you expect, somebody to walk down the street and get murdered – and at this time of year as well, it’s just dreadful.'
Community worker Mrs Greaves, 63, said she ‘wants justice, but not vengeance’ over her husband’s death.
‘Life sometimes produces things like this. It’s a shame but you have to look for the good,’ she said.
Mr Greaves, a retired social worker, leaves four children and two grandchildren.
Grief: Local residents lay flowers at the scene in High Green, Sheffield, where Mr Greaves was found collapsed on the pavement
Organist: Mr Greaves was on his way to St Saviour's CoE Church in High Green to play the organ when he was attacked
He had been an organist and lay preacher at St Saviour’s for nine years.
He also regularly played piano for the
children at a local primary school and, with his wife, had set up a
food bank and community project in High Green.
Mr Greaves left his home at about 11pm on Christmas Eve for the short walk to the church.
Fifteen minutes later, with the canon
and congregation becoming increasingly concerned, he was found collapsed
across a kerb outside a primary school by a pizza delivery worker.
He was taken to Northern General Hospital in Sheffield and had four hours of emergency surgery but never recovered.
Police are yet to determine what weapon was used by his attacker.
Paying respects: Local reverend and friend Simon Bessant said the community in High Green is 'deeply shocked and traumatised' by the murder of Mr Greaves
Home: Grandfather Alan Greaves, 68, had left his house on Greengate Lane and was walking to St Saviour's church when he was set upon
Lovely man: Locals have been leaving floral tributes at the scene where Alan Greaves was found collapsed just 300 metres from St Savior's church where he was heading
Rev Canon Simon Bessant, from St
Saviour’s Church, said the community was ‘deeply shocked and traumatised
by the news’. He described Mr Greaves as a ‘gentle soul… a teddy bear
of a grandfather’.
‘He was a good man and this was an evil act. It was a senseless, wicked attack,’ he said.
‘I don’t think he could have had an enemy in the world, he didn’t have a violent bone in his body.
‘I had a phone call at 8am on Christmas morning, and I spent most of Christmas Day with the family in the hospital.
‘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 is not embittered but obviously she wants this person to be caught.’
He added: 'He wasn't foolish – he would have handled the situation as best as anyone would but we don't know what he encountered.'
Disbelief: Alan Greaves, right, was a well-known figure in the community often playing the piano at church events with his wife Maureen Greaves, left
Community man: Grandfather Alan Greaves, 68, had been walking to St Saviour's church where he played the organ when he was attacked
Investigations: A murder investigation has been launched after Mr Greaves was found collapsed with severe head injuries near a primary school
Questions: Police speak to members of the local community which has been described as 'extremely shocked and traumatised'
The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft, has sent a message to every parish in his diocese asking for prayers for Mr Greaves, his widow and their family.
In it Dr Croft said: 'Alan Greaves died on Thursday night following injuries received in an attack on Christmas Eve as he was on his way to church.
'He was a Reader and organist at St Saviour's Mortomley and High Green in Sheffield.
'He was married to Maureen, a Church Army Evangelist and both Alan and Maureen were widely involved in serving their local community for many years. They have four grown up children.
'Please would you hold Alan's family and the church family at High Green, with Simon Bessant the Vicar and the wider family of Church Army in your prayers in the coming days and especially this Sunday morning.
Mr Greaves was found collapsed on the pavement on Greengate Lane just 300 metres from St Saviour's church where he was heading on Christmas Eve
Upset: Friend and colleague Reverend Simon Bessant from St Saviours C of E Church lays flowers where Mr Greaves' was murdered
Gentle: Mr Greaves has been described as 'a gentle giant' who 'didn't have an enemy in the world'
'I plan to be with the congregation at High Green on Sunday morning.
Mrs Greaves, an evangelist with the
Church Army, said she and her husband met in 1970, when both were
training to be childcare officers.
Family friends said Mr Greaves was pacifist who ‘believed in forgiveness and understanding’.
Detective Superintendent Matt Fenwick of South Yorkshire Police described the murder as a ‘brutal attack’.
‘Alan Greaves’s family were looking forward to spending Christmas together but instead, they are distraught,’ he said.