The grieving widow of murdered church organist Alan Greaves is recovering at home in Sheffield – after being punched in the face by a violent street mugger who tried to steal her handbag.
Maureen Greaves was walking towards her home in High Green when she was attacked outside shops in Chapeltown.
A would-be thief demanded money, yanked on the strap of Maureen’s handbag – and then smacked the 64-year-old so hard in the face her glasses were knocked to the ground.
Maureen – whose husband died after being attacked as he walked to play the organ at a Christmas Eve church service – said the terrifying assault flooded her mind with thoughts of Alan.
She said: “It was very frightening. The worst thing was it made me imagine Alan being attacked and what he was feeling.”
Describing the mugging on Burncross Road, Maureen said: “A woman just came up to me and started touching my bag. Then she said ‘I want some money’.
“I started to walk away and I felt her pull hard on my bag.
“I said to her ‘I can talk to you about where you can get some food’, but she came right up to my face and started swearing. She was really angry.
“She was pushing me towards the road, so I put my hand on her shoulder and she just walloped me.”
Fortunately, Maureen was with her grown-up son Peter, who intervened by standing between the woman and his mum.
He and Maureen then walked quickly away from the mugger, who veered off towards a taxi rank.
Maureen, who was left with marks and bruising to her face and a scratch on her nose, said: “She was very violent.
“If I had been 80 years old I wouldn’t have been able to defend myself, and she could have really shocked and scared me.”
The mugging happened just four days before Alan’s killers – 22-year-olds Jonathan Bowling and Ashley Foster – went on trial at Sheffield Crown Court.
Police have since arrested a 24-year-old woman on suspicion of assault and attempted robbery.
But Maureen, a devoted Christian and Church Army evangelist who says she forgives her husband’s killers, said she is unsure whether to press charges.
She said: “I want the police to find out more about her background before it goes any further.
“I’ve been told she may have mental health problems, so I want them to look into that and make sure she is being monitored.
“If she is mentally ill, we can take a course of action which is best for her.
“The aim is to stop her doing it again.”
Maureen said her 68-year-old husband used to warn her to take care when out and about.
“Alan often told me to walk with someone I knew and to be careful,” she said. “It’s so ironic it was Alan who was attacked and killed.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman confirmed a 24-year-old woman had been arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery and assault on Saturday, June 22.
She said: “A file regarding the woman has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration pending psychiatric reports.”