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.”

Sport
Romelu Lukaku
sportChelsea striker sends second teasing tweet of the day
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Sport
Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura sprays a line after calling for a free kick for Brazil
sport
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz