Widow’s mugger laughs at sentence

Mona Haj Youssef
Mona Haj Youssef

This woman mugged the widow of murdered Sheffield church organist Alan Greaves – then laughed in the dock as she was told to pay her £250 in compensation.

Mona Haj Youssef, aged 24, swore at Maureen Greaves, punched her in the face and tried to steal her handbag just two days before her husband’s murder trial was due to start at Sheffield Crown Court.

Maureen and Alan Greaves

Maureen and Alan Greaves

Maureen, 64, was attacked outside shops in Chapeltown, leaving her shaken, bruised and with a cut cheek.

Now Youssef – a former university student who got hooked on drugs – has been given a two-year probation supervision order and 12 months’ mental health treatment, and been told by Sheffield magistrates to pay £250 in compensation for assault.

Today, forgiving Church Army worker Maureen told The Star she was happy with the outcome. And she said she hoped the former drug user would get the help she needed, adding: “I am pleased this went to court because it means she will get some help.

“Not only did she hit me, she was extremely angry. I’m glad she is going to be supervised by the probation service and get some treatment for her mental health problems. Hopefully she will be able to be in society afterwards and not harm people.

“It’s for her own good as well as everybody else’s.”

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard Youssef, of Grimesthorpe Road, Pitsmoor, punched Maureen in the face on Saturday, June 22, last year two days before Ashley Foster was due to stand trial for the murder of her husband Alan, 68.

Martin Ward, prosecuting, said Youssef grabbed Maureen’s handbag and swore at her before striking her. “She swung towards her, hit her across the face, and knocked her glasses off,” he said.

Maureen, from High Green, dropped to the ground to try to find her glasses, and Youssef continued to hit her.

The attack stopped when Maureen’s son Peter, who was walking ahead, realised what was happening and ran to help. Lucy Hogarth, defending, said Youssef has mental health problems which stem from drug abuse, but described her current mental condition as ‘stable’.

But when told she would have to pay £250 compensation, Youssef laughed and shouted: “Yeah, £250.”

The chairman of the bench told her: “You started off life as an intelligent young woman at university – this is where drugs get you.”

In a statement read to the court, Maureen said: “It brought about a deep sadness and fear which I have never felt before.” Youssef had been found guilty in her absence at an earlier hearing of assault by beating.

Alan was set upon as he made his way to St Saviour’s Church in High Green on Christmas Eve 2012 by Jonathan Bowling and Foster. Bowling admitted murder and must serve at least 25 years behind bars. Foster was convicted of manslaughter and was jailed for nine.

Youssef was also sentenced for stealing £151 worth of items from Tesco in a separate incident.