Murderer’s dad attacked wife with axe

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The father of the man who murdered church organist Alan Greaves went on the run from police after attacking his wife with an axe.

Wife-beater Leslie Bowling – father of Jonathan Bowling – led police on an 11-day manhunt in 2011 after cutting his wife’s neck when she told him their relationship was over.

He unleashed the chilling attack on Deborah Bowling at their home in Badger Close, Woodhouse, ‘rubbing’ the axe blade against her neck before headbutting her, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Drunken Bowling ‘taunted’ Deborah and forced her to repeat his name before she managed to escape, fleeing to an elderly neighbour’s house.

Bowling went missing afterwards, before handing himself in 11 days later.

He told police he did not know anything about the attack, but admitted having ‘umpteen affairs’ and said Deborah was a ‘woman scorned’.

He was jailed for 30 months and given an extended licence period of two years after admitting causing actual bodily harm.

During the trial of Ashley Foster, the court heard evidence from Foster’s mother who was in a volatile relationship with Leslie Bowling.

She told the jury Bowling was ‘very violent’ and she had to flee across the country from Sheffield, was given a new identity and put in police protection after he tried to kill her. Speaking about Jonathan Bowling, she said: “I could tell he was going to be like his dad, he was damaged goods.”

In evidence, Ashley Foster told the jury that he was scared of Leslie Bowling and described him as ‘horrible’ and ‘evil’.

He said his mother started a relationship with Leslie Bowling when he was aged 11 and he would beat him and his siblings ‘whenever he felt like it or had too much to drink’.

Once, when he was about 14, Foster said Leslie Bowling strangled him and punched him in the face. Another time he had fallen asleep on the sofa drunk and soiled himself.

Foster said when Leslie Bowling awoke he ordered him to clean up his mess and then told his son Jonathan he would pay him £50 to beat Ashley up.

Asked why, Foster said: “Because he just wanted my mum to himself.”