Mum tells jury son ‘witnessed murder’

20 June 2013....collect of Alan and Maureen Greaves at a wedding approx 5 years ago. Alan was murdered on Christmas Eve 2012
20 June 2013....collect of Alan and Maureen Greaves at a wedding approx 5 years ago. Alan was murdered on Christmas Eve 2012
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The mother of a man accused of killing Sheffield church organist Alan Greaves on Christmas Eve told a jury her son was ‘heaving and shaking’ as he told her about the attack.

Ashley Foster, aged 22, denies being involved in the killing of 68-year-old Mr Greaves as he made his way to St Saviour’s Church in High Green - but admits being with Jonathan Bowling, also 22, who has confessed to the murder.

Foster’s mother Nicole Casey said she saw CCTV footage of the men wanted by police for the killing on the television news, and recognised her son and Bowling - who is the son of her violent ex-partner Leslie Bowling.

“I picked Ashley up and he told me Jono had attacked Alan Greaves and he had witnessed it,” she said.

Ms Casey said Foster told her on the night of the attack, Bowling had argued with a man called Richard Woodhead and threatened to ‘smash his head in’ with a hammer. She said Foster had taken Bowling for a walk to calm him down.

“Jono said he was going to smash somebody’s head in and Ashley said to him, ‘You can’t do things like that’.”

Ms Casey said Ashley was heaving and shaking as he recalled the attack.

“He said Jono said, ‘Watch this’, then pulled a pick axe handle out of his trousers and ran towards the man.

“Ashley shouted, ‘No’ and Mr Greaves turned round. Jono hit him with the pick axe handle and then hit him again. Ashley ran off,” she said.

Foster went to Ecclesfield police station and told officers he would ‘tell them everything’ but he was scared of Bowling because he had threatened to torture his children.

He was arrested on suspicion of murder.

The trial continues.