The widow of a church organist killed as he walked to a service late on Christmas Eve told a congregation today that she had not stopped crying over the evil that had been done.
Maureen Greaves, a community worker, thanked fellow churchgoers for their support since her husband Alan was fatally beaten just 250 yards from St Saviour's Church in High Green, Sheffield, where he was due to play the organ at midnight mass.
The 68-year-old father-of-four, who lived nearby, was found lying on the pavement with severe head injuries by a member of the public.
The retired social worker and lay preacher had helped his wife to set up and run a number of community schemes and they were well-known for their good works in the area. They had set up a food bank with donations from the congregation earlier this month.
During the service, Mrs Greaves said: "I won't be able to contact you over the next few days, but I want to thank you for the support you have given me.
"I have prayed constantly for Alan and I know you have, too. I have not stopped crying for him and I know you have not stopped either."
"I have wept over the evil that has been done. I have prayed for you and I know you have prayed for me. You were Alan's Christian family and he loved belonging to this church. I have felt your love towards me."
Mrs Greaves told how her faith had sustained her as she was in the waiting area of the hospital just hours before her husband died on Thursday night. She said she comforted a woman whose husband had a tumour, and hugged her when tests showed that it was benign.
The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft, said there was a sense of shock and outrage across the city over the death of Mr Greaves, who also had two grandchildren.
"There will be occasions in the future for many generous tributes to be given. Goodness is not as common as it should be, and this community and this city have lost a shining light," he said.
He also paid tribute to Mrs Greaves and supported her plea for justice: "Maureen has said very clearly and powerfully she longs for justice not for vengeance, again bearing witness to her own deep faith in the midst of the sharpest agony of her life."
Last night, two men, one in his 20s and the other in his 40s, from Sheffield who were arrested on suspicion of murder were released on bail, South Yorkshire police confirmed.
Detectives investigating the case are still appealing for witnesses to come forward with any information about the attack.