Thomas O’Halloran travelled around 75 yards on his scooter desperately looking for help after he was stabbed in Greenford, west London, at 4pm on Tuesday.
The suspect was arrested in Southhall, west London, some 5km away from where the stabbing took place, in the early hours of Thursday, the Metropolitan Police said.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who is leading the investigation, said the arrest was made possible with the help of the CCTV images released on Wednesday.
“I would like to thank the public for their overwhelming support following this horrific incident. As a result of the release of a CCTV image yesterday, an arrest has been made and this investigation is progressing at pace,” he said.
“Mr O’Halloran‘s family have been updated with this development and continue to be supported by specially trained officers.”
The elderly man, who was known to locals as a popular busker, was given emergency first aid by police officers until London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance arrived, but was declared dead at the scene.
Officers responded to the crime scene on Cayton Road in Greenford after the pensioner flagged down a member of the public for help.
One of his friends said he was coming back from Perivale to play his accordion and make some money for his family before he was stabbed to death.
Mr O’Halloran was originally from Ennistymon, Co Clare, in the west of Ireland and he is survived by members his family including his sister, two brothers, nieces and nephews.
He was nicknamed the “music man” by locals for his passion for busking. He garnered attention on social media after his videos of his busking to raise money for Ukrainians went viral months before his death.
The viral video clips from June showed Mr O’Halloran smiling and playing his accordion on his mobility scooter, with a makeshift blue and yellow collection box strapped to his frame.
The death of the musician has shocked the community back in Clare, where he was also popular. Local Fine Gael senator Martin Conway said Mr O’Halloran‘s death has left his home community in Ennistymon and north Clare in “deep shock and sadness” as he was a well-known figure and often busked for charity.
Former Labour MP Stephen Pound also offered his condolences over the death of the pensioner, saying he was an ex-constituent whom he knew from the busker’s regular public presence in the area.
“Tom was a real local character. He would be outside Greenford station playing the accordion, occasionally the harmonica,” he told GB News.
“He was a sweet, lovely man... He was well-liked and well-loved, but, above all, he was one of those characters who would cement an area.”