Coroner praises brave wife in murdered church organist case

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A coroner has praised the bravery of the widow of a murdered church organist and told her that he and his staff were horrified by the “shocking” case.

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murdering Alan Greaves, who died after being attacked on his way to midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

Opening Mr Greaves’ inquest Sheffield coroner Chris Dorries told his wife Maureen he was “very, very sorry that the circumstances bring this to me”.

He went on: “I think you are being terribly, terribly, terribly brave at this situation. This is not the sort of crime we see in Sheffield.

“There are statistics which show it is one of the safest places in the country. My own staff, who are hardened to some of the worst things, are completely shocked and horrified by the crime against your husband.

“I think I speak for every person in Sheffield that this is a shocking, horrible thing that has been visited upon you.”

The coroner signed a certificate for Mr Greaves’ cremation to take place and adjourned the brief hearing at Sheffield’s Medico Legal Centre.

He said he hoped to release the body as soon as possible after final tests had been carried out by a forensic pathologist.

He said if anybody was charged over the death the proceedings would be adjourned for the Crown Court to take over the criminal case.

A 21-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday and a 22-year-old man on Wednesday following what police called an “excellent” public response to an appeal made on Monday.

Mr Greaves, a 68-year-old father-of-four, suffered serious head injuries during the assault and died three days later in hospital.

The retired social worker was attacked at about 11.15pm. He was on his way to St Saviour’s Church in High Green, Sheffield to play the organ.

Last week Crimestoppers offered a £10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.

South Yorkshire Police have conducted more than 200 house-to-house inquiries and spoken to more than 300 people since the tragedy.