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Life with minimum of 25 years for killer of church organist

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. But you did."

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).

Bowling (22) battered Mr Greaves around the head with a pick-axe handle as he walked to play the organ for Midnight Mass at St Saviour's Church, Sheffield, on December 24 last year.

The father-of-four suffered catastrophic head injuries and died three days later in hospital.

Another man, Ashley Foster (22), was found guilty of Mr Greaves' manslaughter and was jailed yesterday for nine years.

The judge told Bowling and Foster: "You chose your victim at random.

"Alan Greaves happened to be in front of you, on his way to serve the community, and you decided to inflict violence on him.

"Neither of you knew Alan Greaves.

"He had done nothing to provoke the attack on him.

"He was merely walking to church to help his local community celebrate Christmas.

"His wife, his family and his community have suffered a tragic and horrendous loss."

Outside court, Mr Greaves' widow Maureen said: "I really am extremely pleased with the result of the case.

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

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

Belfast Telegraph

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