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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Thomas Kingsley

Greenford ‘murder’: Tributes to ‘music man’ after elderly busker stabbed to death in mobility scooter


Tributes have been paid to an elderly busker stabbed to death while riding a mobility scooter as police hunt his killer.

Officers were called to Cayton Road just after 4pm on Tuesday to reports of a man with stab injuries who has now been named by the Metropolitan Police as 87-year-old Thomas O’Halloran who lived in Greenford.

Local residents nicknamed Mr O’Halloran as “the music man,” who regularly played the accordion to passers by in Greenford, west London.

Chief superintendent Sean Wilson said Mr O’Halloran was a “very well known and much loved member of our community.”

“My thoughts very much remain with his family and friends today, I would like to appeal for their privacy to be protected while they mourn their loss,” Mr Wilson said.

Police renewed their appeal for information regarding the stabbing. Mr Wilson said officers believe Mr O’Halloran was stabbed on Western Avenue before going 75 yards on his mobility scooter to Runnymede Gardens where he sought help from a member of the public.

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Pictures of the scene following the stabbing showed a large number of officers and a red mobility scooter on the road, which had been cordoned off with police tape. A murder investigation has been launched but no arrests have been made yet.

Local residents paid tribute to the pensioner following his tragic death.

One resident said: “This man used to sit outside Tesco, in Perivale playing music for money, but was a nice man bless him.”

Police forensics officers at the scene of the fatal stabbing (PA)

Another added: “That is awful news, we saw him today there. My toddler adores the ‘music man.’”

A third said: “This has saddened me to my core. That man was loved, his music made my day every time I came out of Greenford station.”

Frasley Coutinho, who lives in Greenford, said he saw the victim surrounded by a group of young boys.

He 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.”

Mr Coutinho said he caught some of the incident on a CCTV camera but it was obscured by a plant.

“I had a rose plant blocking it so I couldn't see any more,” he added.

Investigations into the killing are ongoing (PA)

Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, lead for policing in Ealing, said: “This is an awful incident that will understandably cause considerable alarm to people locally and across London. Our thoughts are with the elderly victim.

“We are supporting our colleagues in Specialist Crime as they work to understand what has happened and identify who is responsible for this horrific crime.”

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said: “My officers are working to understand what has happened to this man, and we need the public’s assistance.

“I’m asking for anyone with dashcam or cycle-helmet footage to contact us if they were using the Western Avenue A40 eastbound in the proximity of Cayton Road and Welland Gardens between 3.15pm and 4pm.

“The elderly victim, who was riding a mobility scooter, was in the area at the time. If you saw the victim, or captured anyone acting suspiciously in the area, it is imperative that you make contact.”

Simran Advani, 25, a senior property manager who lives near to where the stabbing took place, said she often saw an elderly man on his mobility scooter who “always used to smile”.

She said: “He was a nice old man. He often goes round the block, he always went on the road not the pavement.”

“This is a very quiet area, you never hear any noise on this street. It’s scary for a man in his 80s to be killed here. Most people on this road are elderly, you never hear any noise and never see any young people.”

Another neighbour, who did not wish to give his name, said: “It’s not nice, it’s normally quiet here. It’s out of the way.

“I feel sorry for his family. I’m not entirely shocked with the amount of stabbing you hear on the news.

“There are not many people coming and going, there’s not really any foot traffic. There’s playing fields and a school nearby. A lot of people park their cars here.”

He said there was a bus stop nearby, but “other than that not many people are walking around here”.

The fatal stabbing follows a spate of violence in the capital. On Monday a 58-year-old woman was stabbed to death in Ealing.

Officers were called to a property on Boddington Gardens on Monday afternoon following reports of a disturbance. Aziza Bennis was found with stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. Hanna Bennis, 21, was charged Wednesday morning with murder and will appear in Uxbridge Magistrates’ court today.

And a man was stabbed to death near Oxford Street on Monday after violence broke out near a Korean restaurant, according to witnesses.

Police officers, paramedics and an air ambulance arrived at Poland Street but the victim was pronounced dead 40 minutes later, the Metropolitan said.

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