It is one of the most extraordinary stories of forgiveness in the midst of unspeakable evil. On Christmas Eve 2012 Alan Greaves, 68, was brutally murdered on his way to play the organ at his local parish church for midnight mass. Two men Jonathan Bowling and Ashley Foster, both 22, were later jailed for the killing in which they battered Alan to death with a pick axe in an unprovoked attack.

But Alan’s bereaved wife Maureen, spoke courageously about her “real and true forgiveness” of the killers. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “When you are a Christian and you live your life with God, you have an enormous sense of wonder that God forgives you for your sins. “Of course I haven’t murdered anybody but I have done wrong in my life. One of the wonderful things about Christianity is you have a God who truly forgives you. READ MORE