A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after an elderly man out busking was allegedly stabbed to death while riding his mobility scooter. Thomas O'Halloran, was allegedly targeted on Tuesday afternoon on a street in Greenford, west London.
An ambulance was called, but despite paramedics' best efforts, the 87-year-old was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.
Metropolitan Police have since confirmed that a 44-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the alleged incident, the Mirror reports. He was detained earlier this morning at an address in Southall, west London.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who is in charge of the ongoing investigation, stated: “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. Mr O’Halloran’s family have been updated with this development and continue to be supported by specially trained officers.”
Kind Thomas had been playing his accordion to raise money for Ukraine outside a Tesco superstore a mile from where he was stabbed, store staff told the Mirror. He kept the money he raised in a yellow box on his scooter, a Tesco security guard said.
A clip of him riding his scooter taken just 20 minutes before he was allegedly attacked has also emerged today. Shop worker Ronak Patel recognised Thomas in the footage after seeing him going back and forth on his scooter, on a daily basis. He said: "He went past here twice every day on his way to and from Tesco to play his accordion."
Thomas, who posted videos of himself playing the accordion and harmonica, was well-known in the area for busking outside the store and local Tube station. Members of the community took to social media to share their fond memories of him, describing him as a "lovely" man who "helped everyone he could".
Police believe he was stabbed in Western Avenue, Greenford, shortly after 4pm, before managing to travel around 75 yards on his mobility scooter to Runnymede Gardens, where he flagged down a member of public for help.
Speaking on Wednesday, Western Area commander Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson said Thomas had his life “snatched away” in an act of “unprovoked violence”. He added: “He was a very well known and much-loved member of our community.
“Detectives have been working tirelessly over the last 20 hours to understand what has happened and to identify who was responsible for this horrific crime.”
He also said during a press briefing: “I understand that our community will quite rightly be shocked and appalled by this incident, as I am too.
“We are now able to name the man who has tragically lost his life as Mr Thomas O’Halloran who lived in Greenford and was a very well-known and much-loved member of our community. My thoughts very much remain with Mr O’Halloran’s family and friends today.
“I’d also like to appeal for their privacy to be respected while they come to terms with their loss.”
Yesterday, Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood appealed for help. He said: “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.”
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