I killed church organist

Jonathan Bowling, facing life for murder of Alan Greaves.
Jonathan Bowling, facing life for murder of Alan Greaves.
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This is the violent killer with a tattoo on his neck who took the life of church organist Alan Greaves as he walked to midnight communion in Sheffield.

Jonathan Bowling kept his hands in his tracksuit pockets as he stood at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday to plead guilty to the murder last Christmas Eve of the 68-year-old lay preacher from High Green.

The 22-year-old, who gazed around the court throughout the 20-minute hearing, is facing life behind bars.

Gentle Mr Greaves, a married father-of-four, was attacked as he made his way to play the organ at St Saviour’s Church in Mortomley Lane, High Green.

He died in hospital three days later, leaving wife of 40 years, Maureen, and their children bereft.

Yesterday, during a pre-trial hearing at Sheffield Crown Court, Bowling admitted murder.

Flanked in the sealed dock by four court officers, and dressed in a grey Adidas tracksuit, Bowling, of Foxhill Crescent, Sheffield, spoke only to enter his plea of guilty.

His co-accused, Ashley Foster, 21, of Wesley Road, High Green, pleaded not guilty to the same charge of murder.

He will stand trial at a date to be fixed later in the year.

Foster was not at court and instead appeared via videolink from prison where he is remanded awaiting his trial.

Judge Roger Keen QC told Bowling: “You know what the inevitable sentence is going to be.

“But that will be passed at the end of the trial of your co-accused.”

Mr Greaves was a retired social worker and grandfather, who along with his wife was heavily involved with St Saviour’s Church.

The same church was the setting for his funeral when mourners from across Sheffield packed into the pews and an overspill listened to the service via relay at nearby St Mary’s RC Church.

Mrs Greaves told mourners she was determined ‘to turn aside from hatred, vengeance, unforgiveness and retaliation’.

Describing her husband ‘a truly beautiful man’, Mrs Greaves said she had lost her soulmate.