Sheffield widow says life tariff is ‘justice’

Murderer Jonathan Bowling
Murderer Jonathan Bowling

The widow of a church organist battered to death in Sheffield has spoken of her relief that one of his killers has lost an appeal over the length of his prison sentence.

Maureen Greaves said it was only ‘justice’ that Jonathan Bowling should serve at least the full 25 years of his minimum term for murdering her husband Alan.

“He attacked Alan very viciously, over and over again,” she told The Star. “He put all the effort he could into killing Alan, so I think it is justice he serves the full 25 years in jail.”

Bowling, 22, of Foxhill Crescent, Foxhill, admitted murdering 68-year-old lay preacher Mr Greaves, and was jailed at Sheffield Crown Court last July.

He battered the committed Christian around the head with a pickaxe handle as the pensioner walked to play the organ at St Saviour’s Church in High Green on Christmas Eve 2012.

But he appealed against his 25-year minimum sentence at the Court of Appeal, where judges discussed his tariff.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas said he agreed with the Sheffield trial judge’s assessment that the brutality of the attack, and the force Bowling used, showed he was indifferent to the risk he might cause.

Dismissing the appeal, he said: “There was recklessness of the highest degree.”

Maureen, also a devout Christian who helps run a food bank in High Green, said she hopes Bowling uses his time behind bars to reflect on his behaviour and leaves a changed man.

“I hope he has the time to reflect on his actions and his past, and what it was that turned him into who he became,” she said.

“I truly hope that Jonathan comes to realise that there is a God that can change his life, and that he comes out of prison as a changed man - a man who gives to society rather than taking from it.”

Ashley Foster, 22, of Wesley Road, High Green, was convicted of manslaughter after a trial, and he was jailed for nine years.