Organist killer jailed for life

Jonathan Bowling was jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years at Sheffield Crown Court today for the murder of church organist Alan Greaves. Ashley Foster was convicted of manslaughter and awaits sentencing.

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Church organist murder a 'crime without motive'

Jonathan Bowling (left) and Ashley Foster. Credit: South Yorkshire Police/PA Wire

The murder of a church organist on Christmas Eve was a "crime without motive", the prosecutor of the case said today, after the two men were sentenced.

Jonathan Bowling was told he must serve a minimum of 25 years in prison for the murder of Alan Greaves, while Ashley Foster was jailed for nine years for manslaughter.

Prosecutor Robert Smith QC told the court today: "It was a crime without motive. He was killed for no reason other than that he had been identified as a suitable victim."

Judge queries motive for organist's murder

A man who battered a church organist to death as he walked to Midnight Mass has been jailed for a minimum of 25 years by a judge, who told him: "Why you wished to inflict violence on another human being on Christmas Eve is known only to you."

Mr Justice Teare made the comments at Sheffield Crown Court as he sentenced Jonathan Bowling to life in prison for the murder of lay preacher Alan Greaves, 68. He said:

Why you wished to inflict violence on another human being on Christmas Eve is known only to you. But you did it.

You chose your victim at random. Alan Greaves happened to be in front of you, on his way to serve the community, as he had always done, and you decided to inflict violence on him.

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Widow of church organist 'pleased' over sentencing

The widow of a church organist who was battered to death on Christmas Eve has said today she was "happy" with the sentences that two of the men received.

Maureen Greaves, with her husband Alan Greaves. Credit: South Yorkshire Police/PA Wire

Jonathan Bowling was told he must serve a minimum of 25 years in prison for the murder of Alan Greaves, while Ashley Foster was jailed for nine years for manslaughter.

Outside Sheffield Crown Court Maureen Greaves said: "I really am extremely pleased with the result today.

"To think Ashley's got nine years is the very best we could have got in the circumstances of the manslaughter.

"To think that Jonathan's got 25 minimum and to think he'll probably never come out, I really am wonderfully pleased with the result."

Organist killer Bowling jailed for life over murder

Jonathan Bowling was jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years at Sheffield Crown Court today for the murder of church organist Alan Greaves.

Bowling admitted murdering Mr Greaves, 68, in the High Green area of Sheffield as the pensioner walked to play the organ at Midnight Mass.

Jonathan Bowling. Credit: South Yorkshire Police

Two face sentencing over church organist's death

Two men will be sentenced today for killing a church organist who was battered to death as he walked to a Christmas Eve service.

Alan Greaves suffered horrendous head injuries when he was attacked as he walked the short distance from his home in the High Green area of Sheffield to midnight mass at St. Saviour's Church last year. He died in hospital three days later.

Alan Greaves.
Alan Greaves was battered to death as he walked to midnight mass on Christmas Eve last year. Credit: Family handout.

Yesterday, 22-year-old Ashley Foster was cleared of murdering the father of four, but found guilty of manslaughter amid emotional scenes at Sheffield Crown Court.

Jonathan Bowling, also 22, pleaded guilty to murder at a previous hearing.

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Police hope verdict will bring Greaves' family solace

Det Supt Matt Fenwick from South Yorkshire Police, who led the investigation into Alan Greaves' death, said he suffered an "appalling" attack.

"In a matter of minutes, Jonathan Bowling and Ashley Foster had left an innocent man for dead."

Detective Superintendent Matt Fenwick from South Yorkshire Police

He said: "Most of all my thoughts today are reserved for Alan's widow Maureen and her family, who have displayed great strength and dignity in such ghastly circumstances.

"I can only hope that today's verdict will bring some solace to them, Det Supt Fenwick added.

Watch: Church organist's family: 'Justice has been done'

Alan Greaves: A victim of a motiveless attack

Church organist Alan Greaves was making his way to midnight mass on Christmas Even when he was attacked and beaten to death.

Today, Ashley Foster, 22, was found guilty of manslaughter over the killing. Another man, Jonathan Bowling, has previously admitted murdering the 68-year-old.

ITV News Correspondent Damon Green looks back at the case and speaks to his widow Maureen Greaves.

Read: Man guilty of manslaughter of church organist

Church organist's family: 'Justice has been done'

Alan Greaves' widow Maureen has said that "justice has been done for the actions taken for the murder of an innocent man".

Speaking outside Sheffield Crown Court, after Ashley Foster was convicted of manslaughter, she said: "I am greatly satisfied and relieved at the result of the court today however no sentence will bring Alan back".

Mrs Greaves added that her husband "would not want any of us to hold on to feelings of hate and unforgiveness".

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