Hunt for suspect seen running from scene of mobility scooter murder in Greenford, West London
Detectives were today hunting a knifeman seen running away from the scene where a ‘very kind’ 87-year-old man riding a mobility scooter was stabbed to death in a shocking daylight attack in London.
Thomas O’Halloran was knifed in Greenford, West London, at about 4pm yesterday before managing to travel around 75 yards on his mobility scooter, where he flagged down a member of the public for help.
This afternoon, police released pictures of a ‘dangerous individual’ seen fleeing the scene of the attack on Mr O’Halloran – who was originally from Ennistymon in Ireland – and said officers wanted to identify him urgently.
The victim, who was a busker and well-known among locals as a regular musician at South Greenford railway station, was attacked in what is thought to have been the 59th murder in the capital so far this year.
Mr O’Halloran raised money for victims of the Ukraine war and was described by Scotland Yard’s local policing chief as a ‘much loved member of our community’ following the death which ‘devastated’ Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Officers believe that Mr O’Halloran was stabbed on the busy A40 Western Avenue ‘before managing to travel 75 yards or so on his mobility scooter’ to Runnymede Gardens where neighbours tried to save him.
Police were called and gave Mr O’Halloran emergency first aid until the arrival of the London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance – but, despite their efforts, he was pronounced dead at the scene. His killer is thought to have fled in the seconds after the attack and there have been no arrests, with police appealing for witnesses.
Thomas O’Halloran, 87, was riding a mobility scooter in Greenford, West London, when he was stabbed to death yesterday
Scotland Yard released images of a man ‘they are keen to identify as a matter of urgency’ who was seen fleeing the scene
The 87-year-old victim’s mobility scooter, which was well-known amongst locals who often saw him playing the accordion on it outside South Greenford rail station and Tesco, was left at the scene of the crime – pictured yesterday
Police said the man was wearing shorts, a dark coloured T-shirt, a white baseball cap and white patterned builder style gloves
The stabbing took place just off the busy A40 Western Avenue (pictured) in what locals describe as a ‘very quiet’ area
Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who leading the investigation, said: ‘We are keen to identify the man in the CCTV images as a matter of urgency.
‘He is clearly a dangerous individual and people are advised not to approach him, but to call us immediately on 999 if they know him or have any information regarding his whereabouts.
Six murder investigations in just four days in Lawless London
Saturday: Kacey Boothe
Kacey Boothe, 25, was shot dead in a ‘targeted shooting’ outside a toddler’s first birthday party in Walthamstow, east London on Saturday evening. Mr Boothe was taken to hospital by car, where he died.
Police believe people at the event, reported to be a baby’s one-year-old birthday party in a community centre, may have seen what happened and have urged witnesses to come forward.
Sunday: Sonny Booty
Sonny Booty, 36, was found dead at a house in Lewisham, south east London on Sunday morning.
Christopher Baptiste, 53, was charged on August 15 with murder and was due to appear at Bromley Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Sunday: Stephen Goodman
Stephen Goodman, 60, was injured during a fight in Dagenham at around 12.06am on Saturday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Connor Coveley, 23, has been charged with the murder.
Monday: Unnamed man
On Monday a man was stabbed to death at a Korean restaurant in a side-road off Oxford Street at the heart of London’s West End.
Armed police and ambulance services rushed to Arirang Restaurant on Poland Street, Soho, shortly before midday, and found a man with knife wounds.
Both London Ambulance Service and the air ambulance attended but the victim died at the scene 40 minutes later.
A man in his fifties was arrested outside the restaurant on suspicion of murder.
Monday: Aziza Bennis
Metropolitan Police officers were called to a property close to Acton Town station in the borough of Ealing at 3.37pm on Monday following reports of a disturbance.
School dinner lady Aziza Bennis, 58, was found with stab wounds and died at the scene, before 21-year-old Hanna Bennis was arrested and taken into custody.
Tuesday: Thomas O’Halloran
Thomas O’Halloran, 87, who was well-known amongst locals as ‘a regular musician at South Greenford train station’, was attacked at 4.06pm yesterday.
Metropolitan Police officers were called just after 4pm to Cayton Road – near the busy A40 Western Avenue – to reports of a man with stab injuries and he was declared dead at the scene.
His killer is believed to have fled in the seconds after the attack and there have been no arrests, with police appealing for witnesses.
‘My team and I have been working around the clock to bring Mr O’Halloran’s killer to justice, but we need your help. If you have any information at all that will assist us with our investigation – no matter how small – please contact us or alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously.’
‘I’d also appeal to anyone who might have dash cam or cycle helmet footage that might have captured the incident to get in touch with us.’
Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, who is in charge of policing for West London, including Ealing, said: ‘Mr O’Halloran had his life needlessly snatched away in a shocking act of unprovoked violence.
‘I understand that the community will, quite rightly, be shocked and appalled by this incident as I am too.
‘Mr O’Halloran was a very well known and much loved member of our community. My thoughts are with his family and friends. I’d like to appeal for their privacy to be respected while they come to terms with their loss.
‘Detectives from the Specialist Crime Command, with the assistance of my officers, have been working tirelessly over the last 20 hours to understand what has happened and to identify who is responsible for this horrific crime.
‘The public will see extra officers patrolling the area over the coming days. They are there to help and protect you – so if you have any concerns or information that you want to share then please approach them.
‘I realise the impact incidents like this have on our communities, but I’d like to reassure you that we are doing all we can to solve the horrendous crimes we’ve seen across London over the last few days.
‘I stress that London remains one of the safest cities in the world, but we need your help and so please come forward with any information you have about this awful incident or any other violent crimes.
‘Our thoughts and prayers remain with Thomas O’Halloran and his family at this time.’
It marks the sixth murder investigation launched by Scotland Yard in just four days and has sparked a flurry of criticism against London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who said he was ‘devastated’ to hear of yesterday’s attack.
On Monday morning a man was stabbed to death at a Korean restaurant on Poland Street near Oxford Street in the West End. That afternoon a 58-year-old woman was stabbed to death at an address near Acton Town tube station.
A 36-year-old man was found dead in Lewisham and a 60-year-old man was fatally injured during a fight in Dagenham on Sunday, and a 25-year-old man was shot dead in Walthamstow on Saturday.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted last night: ‘I’m devastated that an elderly man was killed in a horrific attack this evening. My thoughts are with the victim’s loved ones.
‘I’m in close contact with @MetPoliceUK who have an additional uniformed presence in the area. I urge anyone with information to come forward.’
But Mr Khan has been criticised by many for the huge numbers of violent crimes in the capital in recent weeks.
Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham Greg Hands tweeted yesterday morning that Mayor Khan needs to ‘get a grip’ after the fifth stabbing in a single weekend was confirmed.
Hitesh Patel, 62, a shop owner at Greenford station told the Evening Standard that the Mr O’Halloran, who he says was a father-of-three, would often play the accordion on his mobility scooter outside Tesco and the train station to raise money for Ukraine victims.
Mr Patel said: ‘He always had a Ukraine flag on the front of his basket. It said Help for Ukraine as he played. He was very good, kind man.
Metropolitan Police officers were called just after 4pm to reports of a man with stab injuries and he was declared dead at the scene
A police cordon and tent in Greenford, west London, this morning after a man riding a mobility scooter was stabbed to death
‘I can’t believe anyone would hurt him in broad daylight like that. We will miss him and his playing around here.’
Frasley Coutinho said the stabbing in Greenwood took place right in front of his house and he managed to catch some of the incident on CCTV.
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. I had a rose plant blocking it so I couldn’t see any more.’
Mr Coutinho added: ‘It is terrible. This is a peaceful area. It happened in broad daylight in summertime on a busy road as well. I see him all the time. I have lived here for the last few years and he was jolly. We would say ‘hello’ to each other. He was quite a peaceful guy going on his way.’
Footage from the scene posted online showed paramedics running to treat the victim.
Police have been door-to-door in Greenford this morning asking for CCTV footage. They are also appealing to drivers for dash-cam footage
Police guard a cordon in Greenford today as investigations continue following the death of the elderly man yesterday
Police at the scene in Greenford, west London, this morning after a man riding a mobility scooter was stabbed to death
Officers are now appealing for dashcam video or cycle helmet footage from anyone who was on the Western Avenue A40 eastbound near Cayton Road and Welland Gardens between 1.15pm and 4.15pm.
Simran Advani, 25, a senior property manager who lives nearby, told how she often saw Mr O’Halloran on his mobility scooter every few days and that he ‘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. It was just like a normal day today. There’s a parade of shops just round the corner under the train tracks and through an alley way which he might have been heading from or to.’
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.
Officers at the scene in the early hours of this morning. Evidence tents covered the victim’s mobility scooter and his body
Police continued to examine the scene overnight into the early hours of this morning after the man was stabbed to death
The man’s mobility scooter was taken away from the scene in Greenford last night to be examined by detectives
‘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’. Neighbours have also expressed fear after the latest in a spate of murders in the capital.
Ali Gaber, 80, who lives near the cordon, said: ‘I am very worried. He is an old man and somebody stabbed him. What were they looking for? Of course I am worried, I am over 80 too and am disabled. I feel really unsafe. This is quite a quiet area and everybody knows each other.’
Forensic experts in blue overalls could be seen loading bags containing various items into police vans as dozens of officers guarded the scene.
The pensioner’s body was taken from the scene in a private ambulance in the early hours of this morning
The ambulance and air ambulance rushed to the incident where an elderly man was found yesterday afternoon
Emergency services workers in Greenford battle to save the pensioner’s life after he was attacked yesterday afternoon
A police cordon had been thrown over the site of residential semi-detached houses. It covers a T-junction between Cayton Road and Runnymede Gardens, which runs parallel to the A40 main road.
Two blue, yellow and white crime scene tents marked ‘MPS’ were pitched up next to the A40 on Runnymede Gardens, where forensic officers were working under bright lights on the road surface.
The London Ambulance Service was called out at 4.10pm.
A spokesman said: ‘We sent a number of resources to the scene, including an ambulance crew, a medic in a fast response car and an incident response officer. We also dispatched London’s Air Ambulance.
‘Sadly, despite the best efforts of our crews, a person was pronounced dead at the scene.’