The senior detective leading the investigation into the murder of Alan Greaves said the case had moved him to tears.
Detective Superintendent Matt Fenwick said it had been a difficult case to investigate.
“This case has affected everybody who has worked on it,” he said.
“There have been a couple of moments, I don’t mind admitting, when there have been tears.
“I normally detach myself and concentrate on running a professional investigation, but at times I’ve found it more difficult because of how fantastic Maureen and her family have been.”
“What was unusual about the attack from the initial stages and beyond is that we’ve never really found a motive.
“Attacks without motives really are the worst in society because they can happen to anybody. Certainly the number of motiveless attacks are extremely rare.”
Det Supt Fenwick said, following Bowling and Foster’s first appearance at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court, Maureen Greaves reached out to her husband’s killers’ mothers and asked them if they were alright.
“What an amazing thing to do,” he said, describing the level of violence as ‘horrific’.
“Jonathan Bowling could not physically have hit Mr Greaves any harder than he did,” he said.
“This was a totally unprovoked attack. It was completely mindless and senseless and the level of violence used was unprecendented.”
Det Supt Fenwick said the operation was one of the biggest conducted by South Yorkshire Police.
During the investigation up to 200 officers were involved. He said: “There were about 55 to 60 detectives working around the clock.
“In addition, we had uniformed officers carrying out house-to-house enquiries, specialist search teams searching the area, the community bus was parked at the scene in High Green and safer neighbourhood officers were providing reassurance in the community along with PCSOs. It’s certainly one of the biggest investigations I’ve been involved in.”
Officers from the major incident team were called into work on Christmas Day – having to leave their families and loved ones at home.
Det Supt Fenwick said: “I’d like to thank my investigation team, whose professionalism, dedication and willingness to work ridiculous hours for a long and sustained periods over Christmas is a testament to everybody involved and shows just how much this type of crime impacts on everybody’s lives. “Everybody has pulled together to ensure we were able to thoroughly investigate this case and bring us to where we are today.”
He said High Green residents had also rallied round to show their support for the Greaves family and the police investigation.
“I think everyone can see Alan was a very special person and when you speak to Maureen and her daughters, you can tell that from the tributes and the support they are getting.
“Clearly they are a very strong and close family.
“I can’t underestimate the devastation Alan’s death will have on them and I desperately want to make sure Maureen, Alison, Emma, Peter and Martin get the support they will continue to need now the trial has ended.
“This will be a difficult time of reflection for them and our family liaison officers will stay in touch for sometime.”