A man has been charged with murder after an elderly busker was stabbed to death as he rode his mobility scooter.
Lee Byer, 44, has been charged with the 87-year-old’s murder and is due to appear at Willesden Magistrates’ Court today.
Thomas O’Halloran, 87, was attacked in broad daylight off the A40 in Greenford, west London, on Tuesday afternoon.
Police believe he was attacked in Western Avenue shortly after 4pm before managing to travel around 75 yards to Runnymede Gardens where he flagged down a member of the public for help.
Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The Met Police announced an arrest had been made on Wednesday night (August 17), before confirming the man had been charged.
Neighbours described how officers had arrested the suspect at his home in Southall, west London, before he was detained.
The force had previously released a CCTV still of a man who they said had fled the scene of the murder.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who is leading the investigation, said after the arrest was made: “I would like to thank the public for their overwhelming support following this horrific incident.
“As a result of the release of a CCTV image yesterday, an arrest has been made and this investigation is progressing at pace.
“Mr O’Halloran’s family have been updated with this development and continue to be supported by specially trained officers.”
Thomas had been playing his accordion to raise money for Ukraine outside a Tesco superstore in Perivale Lane, a mile from where he was stabbed, store staff told the Mirror.
He kept the money he raised in a yellow box on his scooter.
A clip of him riding his scooter taken just 20 minutes before he was fatally attacked also emerged yesterday.
Thomas, who posted videos of himself playing the accordion and harmonica, was well-known in the area for busking outside the store and local Tube station.
Members of the community took to social media to share their fond memories of him, describing him as a “lovely” man who “helped everyone he could”.
Speaking on Wednesday, Western Area commander Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson said Thomas had his life “snatched away” in an act of “unprovoked violence”.
“He was a very well-known and much-loved member of our community.
“Detectives have been working tirelessly over the last 20 hours to understand what has happened and to identify who was responsible for this horrific crime.”
He also said during a press briefing: “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.
“My thoughts very much remain with Mr O’Halloran’s family and friends today.
“I’d also like to appeal for their privacy to be respected while they come to terms with their loss.”