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Funeral of stabbed Thomas O’Halloran hears he was in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’

“But this murder is particularly brutal because it happened at a time of day and in a location where you wouldn't even question your safety.”

Thomas O'Halloran

Clodagh MeaneySunday World

The funeral of Irish man Thomas ‘Tom’ O’Halloran has heard that he was in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”

The 87-year-old died on August 16th after he was stabbed while out on his mobility scooter near his home in London.

Speaking at the funeral, his close friend Ambrose said: “The tragic killing of Tom provoked understandable devastation right across west London and in his hometown in Ennistymon in Co Clare.

“But it was the level of outrage that accompanied this grief that will hopefully prove to be a turning point and in some ways provide another legacy of the life of an old man."

“This could have been anybody, Tom just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he continued, telling mourners how Tom liked to use his electric scooter to collect money for charity.

“There is no reason any man or woman should feel unsafe on our streets at any time of day or night.”

“But this murder is particularly brutal because it happened at a time of day and in a location where you wouldn't even question your safety,” he added.

“The terrible truth is that too many men and women feel unsafe and vulnerable when they're out on their own.

“Those thugs who carry guns knives and dangerous weapons should serve long sentences for the cowardly thugs they are.”

Discussing the day of Tom’s death, he said: “That tragic afternoon Tom was due home at 4 o’clock. His daughter had his dinner in the over when he did not make it home she rang his phone several times.

“The police came to her door with the terrible news at 7 o’clock. Nobody in this life wants to hear news like that.”

Tom’s casket was draped in a Clare flag and a Clare jersey.

White roses, his accordion and his portrait were perched on top also.

The funeral mass heard how the Ennistymon man, who was the eldest of 14 children moved to London in when he was 17 years old.

He was well known in his local area for busking as he played his accordion to raise money for several charities, and more recently for aid efforts in Ukraine.

Lee Byer (44) was arrested on suspicion of killing Mr O'Halloran in what a prosecutor has described as a "vicious attack".

Byer, of no fixed address, was charged on August 19 with Mr O'Halloran's murder and possessing a large knife.

On Tuesday, August 23 he made his first appearance at the Old Bailey before the Recorder of London, Judge Mark Lucraft QC.

The defendant appeared by video link from custody at Belmarsh prison wearing a grey tracksuit.

Judge Lucraft set a plea hearing for November 8 with a provisional trial of up to three weeks from May 2, 2023.

The inquest into Mr O'Halloran's death has been suspended, pending the outcome of the criminal trial.

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