An elderly man fatally stabbed while riding his mobility scooter in west London has been named as Thomas O’Halloran, an 87 year-old originally from Ennistymon in Co Clare.
Detectives said the Mr O’Halloran was stabbed on Western Avenue in Greenford and managed to travel 75 yards on his scooter before asking a member of the public for help in nearby Runnymede Gardens.
Police released an image of a man seen running away from the scene armed with a knife, who they said they were “keen to identify as a matter urgency”. He was wearing grey shorts, a dark-coloured T-shirt, a white baseball cap and white patterned builder-style gloves.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who is 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.”
Mr O’Halloran, who says on Facebook that he was originally from Ennistymon, was said to be known locally for busking outside Greenford Station and was also said to be raising money for war-torn Ukraine.
One person who lives near the scene, Frasley Coutinho, said he saw the victim surrounded by a group of young boys. “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,” he said.
The Metropolitan police west area commander, Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, said: “Yesterday an 87-year-old grandfather on a mobility scooter had his life needlessly snatched away in a shocking act of unprovoked violence right here in Greenford. I understand that our community will quite rightly be shocked and appalled at this incident, as I am too.”
He said detectives were “working tirelessly to understand what has happened and to identify who is responsible for this horrific crime”. Police were following up a number of inquiries and a forensic examination was under way in the area.
He appealed to the public for help, especially anyone with dashcam or cycle helmet footage.
“We believe that Mr O’Halloran was stabbed in Western Avenue shortly after 4pm yesterday, Tuesday August 16th, before managing to travel 75 yards or so on his mobility scooter to Runnymede Gardens where he flagged down a member of the public for help,” he said.
Extra officers are patrolling in the area. The scene was taped off as forensics officers in blue overalls examined the road in front of a row of semi-detached homes at the junction of Cayton Road and Runnymede Gardens, which runs next to the busy A40 in west London.
Hitesh Patel, 62, a shop owner, said O’Halloran had a Ukraine flag on the front of his basket as he played his music. “It said ‘help for Ukraine’. He was a very good, kind man.” – Guardian