Elderly busker stabbed to death in mobility scooter was in ‘wrong place at wrong time’

An elderly busker simply happened to be in the “wrong place at the wrong time” when he was stabbed to death in his mobility scooter, his friend said.

Thomas O’Halloran, 87, died after being knifed in the neck, chest and abdomen in Greenford, west London.

The “brutal” attack took place while he was returning home at around 4pm on August 16.

Friends paid tribute to the Irishman during his funeral in Greenford, the Irish Mirror reports.

A moving poem called Grandad’s Song, penned by Thomas’s grandson, was read out during the service.

His close friend Ambrose told mourners at the Church of Our Lady of the Visitation in Greenford how Tom’s death sparked outrage.

He said: “The tragic killing provoked understandable devastation right across west London and in his hometown of 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.

“This could have been anybody, Tom just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Ambrose added it was “particularly brutal because it happened at a time of day and in a location where you wouldn’t even question your safety.”

He continued: “That tragic afternoon Tom was due home at four o’clock.

“The police came to her door with the terrible news at seven o’clock.

“Nobody in this life wants to hear news like that.”

Tom’s casket was draped in the blue and yellow of his native Clare flag and a Banner GAA jersey with his beloved accordion on top.

The funeral mass heard how he’d lived in London from 17 and was well known for busking for charity.

He was buried near his home, at Greenford Park Cemetery, with a “celebration of life” at a local GAA club afterwards.

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.

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

He appeared in court on August 23 with a plea and case management hearing due to held on November 8 and a provisional trial of up to three weeks from May 2, 2023.