Thomas O’Halloran: Elderly man stabbed to death on mobility scooter was popular local busker

·5-min read
Thomas O’Halloran: Elderly man stabbed to death on mobility scooter was popular local busker

An elderly man stabbed to death while riding his mobility scooter has been described by his neighbours as a ‘kind man’ who was a popular local busker.

Thomas O’Halloran, 87, was attacked in Cayton Road, Greenford near the A40 in west London at 4.06pm on Tuesday.

His killer then fled and there have been no arrests in the capital’s sixth homicide in just four days.

On Wednesday afternoon Scotland Yard issued a picture of a man they urgently want to speak to in connection with the killing.

The public have been warned not to approach him and to instead called 999.

The Met is keeping an open mind regarding the motive and haven’t ruled out robbery as they appealed for witnesses.

Frasley Coutinho, who lives opposite the murder scene, said: “I saw a couple of people gathering around him and then he drove past and stopped further up, and then there was a group of young boys around him.”

Police have warned the public not to approach this man and to call 999 instad (PA Wire)
Police have warned the public not to approach this man and to call 999 instad (PA Wire)

Locals also revealed that Mr O’Halloran was a musician who would often play his accordion to raise money for Ukrainian refugees.

Hitesh Patel, 62, a shop owner at the nearby Greenford station, told the Standard: “He always had a Ukraine flag on the front of his basket. It said ‘Help for Ukraine’. He was a very good, kind man.

“I saw him just before he was killed heading up to the A40 on his scooter I was filling up with petrol but I wish I had said something. His wife was also always with him in her mobility scooter.

“He told me he was Irish and had three sons. It’s so sad. I can’t believe anyone would hurt him in broad daylight like that. We will miss him and his playing around here.”

The 87-year-old was well known in the area as a busker (Metropolitan Police)
The 87-year-old was well known in the area as a busker (Metropolitan Police)

Another local, Tony Paraskeba, 52, added: “It’s so sad. My son loved him. He would ask him to blow his horn on the scooter whenever he saw him and he would. He is so upset. Why would anyone hurt an old man?”

Simran Advani, 25, a senior property manager, said: “We always used to see him on his mobility scooter — he always used to smile, he was a nice old man...This is a very quiet area, you never hear any noise on this street.

“It’s scary for a man in his eighties to be killed here.” Neighbours said Mr O’Halloran was affectionately known as “Uncle Tom” and had lived in Greenford since the Seventies.

The scene on Tuesday afternoon (PA)
The scene on Tuesday afternoon (PA)

One neighbour said: “I’m really upset. He always used to say hello. I watched his boys grow up on the street.”

Forensic experts were on Wednesday seen loading bags into police vans as dozens of officers guarded the murder scene. A cordon had been thrown around the site of residential semi-detached houses. It covers a T-junction between Cayton Road and Runnymede Gardens.

So far this year there have been 58 homicides in London. This compares with 76 homicides by August 17 last year.

Police want to speak to this man (Met Police)
Police want to speak to this man (Met Police)

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who is leading the investigation, said: “We are keen to identify the man in the CCTV images as a matter of urgency. He is clearly a dangerous individual and people are advised not to approach him, but to call us immediately on 999 if they know him or have any information regarding his whereabouts.

“My team and I have been working around the clock to bring Mr O’Halloran’s killer to justice, but we need your help. If you have any information at all that will assist us with our investigation – no matter how small – please contact us or alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously.

“I’d also appeal to anyone who might have dash cam or cycle helmet footage that might have captured the incident to get in touch with us.”

Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, who is in charge of policing for west London, including Ealing, said:Mr O’Halloran had his life needlessly snatched away in a shocking act of unprovoked violence.

“I understand that the community will, quite rightly, be shocked and appalled by this incident as I am too.

“Mr O’Halloran was a very well known and much loved member of our community. My thoughts are with his family and friends. I’d like to appeal for their privacy to be respected while they come to terms with their loss.

“Detectives from the Specialist Crime Command, with the assistance of my officers, have been working tirelessly over the last 20 hours to understand what has happened and to identify who is responsible for this horrific crime.

“The public will see extra officers patrolling the area over the coming days. They are there to help and protect you – so if you have any concerns or information that you want to share then please approach them.

“I realise the impact incidents like this have on our communities, but I’d like to reassure you that we are doing all we can to solve the horrendous crimes we’ve seen across London over the last few days.

“I stress that London remains one of the safest cities in the world, but we need your help and so please come forward with any information you have about this awful incident or any other violent crimes.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with Thomas O’Halloran and his family at this time.”

Anyone who has information that could help police should call 101 ref CAD 4691/16 Aug