unprovoked | 

Tributes paid after Irishman Thomas O’Halloran (87) stabbed to death in London

Thomas O’Halloran who was stabbed to death in his mobility scooter was named by UK police this afternoon

Thomas O’Halloran

Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson© PA

Seoirse Mulgrew, Robin Schiller and Andrew QuinnPA Media

Warm tributes are being paid to a pensioner originally from Ennistymon in Co Clare who was stabbed to death in his mobility scooter in west London yesterday.

Thomas O’Halloran was killed in a “shocking act” of “unprovoked violence”, according to Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, who was speaking at the scene in Greenford, west London.

The pensioner who was stabbed to death in his mobility scooter was named by UK police earlier this afternoon.

The local community in Clare has been shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Mr O’Halloran, who is survived by his family, including his sister, two brothers, nieces, nephews.

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Shane Talty said: "He left Ennistymon as a young man but remained in contact with family here. Terribly sad way to see a long life brought to an end."

"Sympathies of all the Ennistymon community to the extended O'Halloran family at this difficult time."

Kieran McKenna, who is part of an Irish band in the UK called The Reels, met Mr O’Halloran while he was busking in the area of Perivale in June.

Mr McKenna was born in London, but his mother is originally from Co Limerick and his father is from Co Kerry.

He said it is “very sad” to hear of Mr O’Halloran’s tragic death just two months after their meeting.

Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson© PA

“It’s crazy, I’d seen him a couple of times, that time it was outside of Tesco, and I happened to be wearing an Irish top and that’s how we got talking, he’s from Ennistymon, Co Clare,” he said.

“We got talking about music and stuff. Every time I saw him, he’s a very quiet man, he was raising money for Ukraine at the time when I met him.

"I think only for the fact that I was wearing an Irish top, that’s how we got talking and then I asked would you mind if I recorded you and then he gave me a rendition of Boolavogue.”

In a message shared on The Reels Twitter account earlier today, Mr McKenna said: “I cannot believe I'm writing this. I met this wonderful man Thomas O'Halloran this June, playing tunes outside Tesco's in Perivale. He was 87 years of age. RIP.”

Met officers and paramedics were called shortly after 4pm on Tuesday to Cayton Road, Greenford, to reports of a stabbing and he was declared dead at the scene.

Speaking on Wednesday, Supt Wilson said: “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.

“We are appealing to anybody with dashcam or cycle-helmet footage that might have captured this incident to get into contact with us.

“We believe that Mr O’Halloran was stabbed in Western Avenue shortly before 4pm yesterday, Tuesday August 16, before managing to travel 75 yards or so on his mobility scooter to Runnymede Gardens where he flagged down a member of public for help.”

Mr Wilson said extra police will be patrolling the area for the coming days, adding: “I realise the dreadful impact that incidents like this have on our communities. I would like to reassure you all that we are doing all we can to solve the horrendous crimes that we have seen across London over the last few days.

“I stress that London remains one of the very safest cities in the world.

“I would like to finish by saying our thoughts and prayers remain with Thomas O’Halloran and his family.”

He was attacked while on his way to busk, according to a friend who did not want to be named.

He told the PA news agency: “He was coming back from Perivale to play his accordion and make some money for his family and he was stabbed to death.”

Mr O’Halloran was said to be known locally for busking outside Greenford Station and was also said to be raising money for war-torn Ukraine.

A man believed to be Mr O’Halloran plays the instrument in poignant YouTube footage uploaded in October 2020, captioned “a few songs on the accordion”.

Mr O’Halloran, whose Facebook said he is originally from Ennistymon, County Clare, sports a cap and glasses in the video, saying “here we go, ready? wish me luck”, before he starts to play.

A man who works in a newsagents outside the station said: “He used to play his accordion here.

“He came every day for a long time, at least two years. He usually busked around five o’clock.”

Another shopkeeper said: “He was often outside the station playing his accordion.”

Frasley Coutinho, who lives opposite where the attack happened, 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.”

There have been 58 homicides in London so far this year.

Meanwhile detectives have released images of a man they say they want to identify as “a matter of urgency”.

He was armed with a knife and wearing grey shorts, a dark T-shirt, a white baseball cap and white patterned builder-style gloves.

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