DETECTIVES hunting the murderer of a church organist who was brutally beaten as he made his way to midnight mass said yesterday they still had no idea about his killer’s motive.
Alan Greaves, 68, died three days after he was assaulted on his way to church in High Green, Sheffield, but Det Supt Matt Fenwick said he still did not know what had triggered the attack.
Releasing CCTV images of two men he wants to speak to about the death, Mr Fenwick appealed for anybody who recognised them to come forward and help Mr Greaves’s family find justice.
He revealed that the video footage was captured using a camera attached to a private building very close to the scene, and showed the two men just a few minutes before the assault.
Detectives said the men who appeared on the CCTV were not the same two men who were arrested on suspicion of murder last week and bailed pending further inquiries.
“I cannot find a reason why anyone would target Alan Greaves, there is nothing within his past or within his family life that would lead to a man like him being attacked,” said Mr Fenwick.
“He was a thoroughly decent member of the public who was well known and well liked.”
The detective added: “He was retired, but he was involved in charity work and even worked at the local school.”
As well as appealing to people to examine the CCTV pictures, Mr Fenwick also called on people who lived close to the scene of the attack to check their gardens for possible clues.
Mr Fenwick said he was “convinced” a weapon had been used to beat Mr Greaves, but said it had not been possible to identify exactly what that weapon was from the injuries he sustained.
It is also not clear what happened in the seconds leading up to the attack, and although detectives said it could have been a robbery attempt, Mr Greaves still had money when he was found.
Mr Fenwick said it was also possible that Mr Greaves had tried to intervene in a situation, either as a Good Samaritan, or to stop a crime, but said there were “several lines of inquiry”.
More than 300 people have so far contacted the dedicated incident room which has been set up by South Yorkshire Police in the wake of the incident, but none have so far led to the killer.
Yesterday Mr Fenwick rejected suggestions officers had lost valuable time because of a lack of staff over the festive period
He added: “Mr Greaves’s case was dealt with as a murder investigation from the off. We are guided very much by medical staff and as soon as he got to hospital it was apparent what the situation was.
“The biologist came out to examine the scene on Christmas Day and scenes of crime officers were also at the scene on Christmas Day. It was dealt with as if it were any other day of the week.
“We had no problem or difficulty at all in getting a team together through Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Everybody wanted to come to work and give every effort to assist this investigation.”
Mr Fenwick said the harrowing nature of the case had affected some officers very badly, with some staff brought to tears, and added that Mr Greaves’s family remained “devastated”.