TWO men have been charged with the murder of Sheffield pensioner Alan Greaves.
Mr Greaves was brutally attacked on his way to midnight communion on Christmas Eve, sparking one of the biggest police manhunts ever in South Yorkshire.
Mr Greaves, aged 68, organist and lay preacher at St Saviour’s Parish Church, High Green, was set upon in Greengate Lane, in the village and died from his injuries in hospital.
Jonathan Bowling, aged 22, of no fixed abode, and Ashley Foster, aged 21, of High Green, who were both arrested following the publishing of CCTV footage this week, were last night charged with the murder of Mr Greaves.
Bowling and Foster were due to appear before Sheffield Magistrates’ Court this morning.
Meanwhile, yesterday a coroner spoke of his disgust at the killing of Mr Greaves at the opening of his inquest.
His widow Maureen listened as the details leading up to her late husband’s death were read to the court.
South Yorkshire coroner Christopher Dorries said: “I’m really very sorry indeed that these circumstances bring us to meet like this. You are being very, very brave.
“This is not the sort of crime we see in Sheffield – it’s often said that this is one of the safest places to live in the UK.
“My own staff, who you would think were hardened to such matters, are shocked and horrified by this crime.
“I think I speak for every person in Sheffield when I say this is a horrible thing and our thoughts are with you.”
Mr Greaves’ body cannot be released to his family due to the ongoing police investigation but it was confirmed the retired social worker will be cremated.
The 68-year-old was attacked while walking to St Saviour’s Church, near his home in High Green.
Two men arrested by police have been released on bail. Two other men, a 21-year-old and a 22-year-old, are still being questioned.