Lay preacher was attacked with sharp weapon, Sheffield murder jury told

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Sheffield church organist Alan Greaves was attacked with a weapon such as a claw hammer or a crowbar with a double clawed head, a court heard.

Forensic scientist Samantha Ashanti-Warner said she drew the conclusion after assessing damage done to the grey fleece hat being worn by the church organist at the time he was attacked.

The married father of four was brutally assaulted in High Greave on Christmas Eve as he made his way to the midnight service at St Saviour’s Church.

Ashley Foster, aged 22, of Wesley Road, High Green, is on trial accused of murdering Mr Greaves. He denies the charge.

Jonathan Bowling, also 22, of Carwood Way, Pitsmoor, has admitted the killing.

Miss Ashanti-Warner told the jury: “I was trying assist the investigation with a view to determining what might have been used to injure him.”

She said Mr Greaves’ grey, fleece hat had two parallel, crescent shaped cuts on its peak.

She said the cuts had gone through the fleece to the plastic plate inside the hat which formed its peak.

She said: “In my opinion the areas of damage to the right side of the hat were caused by an implement or implements with a sharp cutting edge or edges.”

Asked by prosecution barrister Robert Smith QC if the cuts could have been caused by either of the two pick axe handles recovered by police, Miss Ashanti-Warner said: “No, not in the current state. They have curved surfaces. In my view the damage was caused by an implement with one or more cutting edges.”

She added: “Typically the type of implement I would have expected to have caused the damage was something like a clawhammer or a crowbar with a double clawed head.”

The trial continues this afternoon.