Two arrested over brutal murder of retired social worker who was attacked while walking to play organ at Christmas Eve Midnight Mass

Alan Greaves was just yards from his church when he was badly beaten

Two men were being questioned tonight about the murder of church organist Alan Greaves, who was attacked on his way to midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

Mr Greaves, 68, was just yards from his church in High Green, Sheffield, when he was badly beaten.

He was discovered by a member of the public and taken to hospital but died from his injuries on Thursday night.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “A man in his 20s and a man in his 40s, both from Sheffield, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and are currently in custody helping police.

“Officers are searching a number of properties in the area and there has been a high-visibility police presence in High Green today.”

Detectives are still appealing for witnesses to come forward with any information about the murder.

Mr Greaves, a grandfather and father-of-four, died after sustaining serious head injuries at about 11.15pm on Christmas Eve after leaving his home to go to St Saviour's Church.

Police are treating his death as murder and have said the motive for the attack is unclear.

His widow, church community worker 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.”

Canon Simon Bessant, from St Saviour's, described Mr Greaves as a “good man” who fell victim to an evil act.

He said: “He was a gentle soul. He wasn't foolish - he would have handled the situation as best as anyone would, but we don't know what he encountered.”

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.

“I plan to be with the congregation at High Green on Sunday morning.”

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