Trial date for pair accused of killing Sheffield church organist

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A TRIAL date has been set for two men accused of the Christmas Eve killing of church organist Alan Greaves.

The case of Ashley Foster, 21, and Jonathan Bowling, 22, who are charged with murdering the 68-year-old as he made his way to a midnight communion service, is due before a jury at Sheffield Crown Court on June 24.

Foster stood in the dock while his co-defendant appeared in court via videolink for yesterday’s plea and case management hearing.

But delays in obtaining evidence for the defence forced Judge Michael Murphy QC to adjourn until the week of May 20.

Judge Murphy said: “This case has attracted a great deal of attention locally and nationally and it is in the interest of relatives of the deceased and the defendants themselves, indeed all concerned, that this case be tried in June.”

The courtroom and public gallery were almost full as Foster, of Wesley Road, High Green, and Bowling, of Carwood Way, Pitsmoor, spoke to confirm their names.

Both men were remanded in custody and the hearing adjourned.

Mr Greaves died three days after being assaulted as he made his way to St Saviour’s Church, near to his home in High Green last year.

The death sent shockwaves through the local community and hundreds of mourners turned out to mark his memory at the funeral of the former social worker in February.

Roads were closed and special arrangements were made to accommodate all of the people keen to pay their respects.

During the service his wife Maureen Greaves described the father-of-four as a ‘truly beautiful man’.

She said: “Alan bought me my last bunch of flowers on Christmas Eve morning. When I went to thank Alan and give him a kiss, he said, ‘I love you so much Maureen, so much, and I’m so glad that I married you’.”

Canon Simon Bessant, vicar at St Saviour’s, said: “I can simply find no better way to describe Alan than to say that he was a good man.”