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‘Sweet, lovely’ 87-year-old man shown busking for Ukraine months before attack

Handout screenshot taken from a video with permission from the Facebook page of Kieran McKenna of Thomas O’Halloran, 87, on his mobility scooter playing the accordian outside Tesco, Perival, west London. Mr O’Halloran who had been riding a mobility scooter on Cayton Road, Greenford, in west London, when he was stabbed to death on Tuesday. Picture date: Wednesday August 17, 2022.
Handout screenshot taken from a video with permission from the Facebook page of Kieran McKenna of Thomas O’Halloran, 87, on his mobility scooter playing the accordian outside Tesco, Perival, west London. Mr O’Halloran who had been riding a mobility scooter on Cayton Road, Greenford, in west London, when he was stabbed to death on Tuesday. Picture date: Wednesday August 17, 2022.

Footage of the “sweet, lovely” 87-year-old man on a mobility scooter who was stabbed to death shows him busking to raise money for Ukraine months before the killing.

Thomas O’Halloran can be seen playing his accordion and smiling with a makeshift blue and yellow collection box strapped to his frame in the video posted online in June.

Sporting a cap and glasses, he finishes his performance before breaking into a grin when a spectator remarks: “Lovely.”

The charity fundraiser was killed in a “shocking act” of “unprovoked violence” at around 4pm on Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police said.

Officers were called to Cayton Road, in Greenford, west London, to reports of a stabbing and Mr O’Halloran was declared dead at the scene.

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

Tributes poured in for the 87-year-old, who is understood to be a member of the Irish community in Ealing and was described as “well-liked and well-loved”.

Former Labour MP Stephen Pound paid tribute to Mr O’Halloran, an ex-constituent of his who he knew from the busker’s regular public presence in the area.

The ex-MP told GB News: “Tom was a real local character, he would be outside Greenford station playing the accordion, occasionally the harmonica, 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.”

According to a friend of Mr O’Halloran’s who did not want to be named, he was attacked while on his way to busk.

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 for playing both a harmonica and an accordion outside Greenford Station and Perivale Tesco and is understood to have been raising money for war-torn Ukraine.

Greenford stabbing
Thomas O’Halloran, 87, who had been riding a mobility scooter on Cayton Road, Greenford, in west London, when he was stabbed to death on Tuesday (Metropolitan Police/PA)

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 told the PA news agency: “He was a nice old man.

“He often goes round the block, he always went on the road not the pavement.”

Mr O’Halloran was originally from Ennistymon, Co Clare in the west of Ireland, where the local community have expressed their “deep shock” at his death.

Local Fine Gael senator Martin Conway said Mr O’Halloran visited Ireland regularly throughout his life, having left for London when he was a teenager.

Mr Conway described it as “almost unbelievable” that an elderly man using an mobility scooter was targeted in broad daylight.

“It is truly shocking,” he said.

“I sincerely hope the perpetrators are brought to justice as soon as possible.

“Tommy, as he was known, left Ennistymon for London 71 years ago but travelled home almost every year until about 10 years ago.”

Greenford stabbing
A man sought by police (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Speaking at the scene earlier on Wednesday, Chief Superintendent Sean 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.”