Two teenage witnesses who saw the alleged killers of church organist Alan Greaves shortly after he was attacked were uncooperative with police, a court heard.
Pals William Parr and Conrad Knell, saw two young men in High Green’s Mortomley Park on Christmas Eve, laughing together shortly after the fatal attack, jurors were told.
But prosecutor Robert Smith QC told Sheffield Crown Court they were reluctant to help officers investigating the murder and one said he ‘didn’t care’ about Mr Greaves’ family or the local community.
Today is the second day of the trial of Ashley Foster, aged 22, who is accused of attacking Mr Greaves as he made his way to church on Mortomley Lane, High Green on Christmas Eve.
Mr Parr and Mr Knell, both of High Green, were called to give evidence at Mr Foster’s trial.
He is accused of battering Mr Greaves to death along with his friend Jonathan Bowling.
Bowling, also 22, has already pleaded guilty to murder, but Foster denies the charge.
He claims he was with Bowling at the time of the attack but ‘played no part’.
Mr Parr, aged 17, admitted he had sworn at an investigating officer and said he did not care about the ‘family or community’ when asked to try and identify suspects in the case.
Mr Knell shrugged his shoulders and lounged over the witness box as he was questioned by Mr Smith.
Both men were among five people who had gathered at a house in High Green on Christmas Eve during the day, but they separated from the group at around 10.30pm, the court heard.
It was while walking back to Mr Knell’s flat in Wortley Road that they saw two men who the prosecution say were Foster and Bowling.
Mr Knell said: “I heard a loud bang like steel on steel so I turned around and shouted ‘Oi!’. “Then I saw two kids running. It was dark, you could hardly see them, but they went towards the Co-op.”
The court heard Mr Parr and Mr Knell were visited by police on December 27 to give statements, three days after the attack on 68-year-old Mr Greaves.
When Adrian Waterman QC, defending, asked Mr Parr if he remembered swearing at officers who had asked him to attend an identity parade on January 9, he nodded and said ‘yes’.
Mr Waterman raised questions over the reliability of his evidence, and Mr Parr admitted he had a bad memory, but stuck to his testimony that he could hear laughter as the men passed him in the park.
He said: “I can’t remember if they said owt or what they were saying but I remember them laughing.”
The trial continues.
Our reporter will be updating the Star’s Twitter feed @SheffieldStar using #murder trial throughout the trial.