AN 87-year-old granddad was stabbed to death in the chest as he rode his mobility scooter, a court heard today.
Thomas O’Halloran was attacked in a “shocking act” of “unprovoked violence” in Greenford, West London, just after 4pm on Tuesday.
Lee Byer, 44, was arrested at an address in Southall, two miles from the murder scene, in the early hours of yesterday.
He appeared at Willesden Magistrates’ Court charged with his murder today.
Byer, from Southall, west London, stood in the dock wearing grey prison-issue tracksuit bottoms and T-shirt, with a sweater tied around his waist.
He spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and that he was of no fixed abode.
Malik Aldeiri, defending, made no application for bail and Byer was not asked to enter pleas to charges of murder and possession of an offensive weapon.
The court clerk, who put the charges to him, said he had “a large knife” in his possession.
Louise Ahmad, prosecuting, said: “This was a vicious attack on 16 August on an 87-year-old grandfather who was known throughout the local community.
“The attack resulted in the victim collapsing from his mobility scooter on the junction of Runnymede Gardens and Cayton Road having been stabbed in the chest.
“He was found by members of the public who telephoned for assistance.”
Byer was remanded in custody ahead of his next appearance at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.
He is then expected to face a plea and trial preparation hearing at the same court on September 16.
It comes after 87-year-old Thomas O’Halloran was surrounded by a mob in Western Avenue and fatally knifed in the horror attack on Tuesday, it is understood.
He then managed to travel 75 yards to Runnymede on his scooter.
The victim then flagged down a member of the public for help, but couldn’t be saved.
The attack resulted in the victim collapsing from his mobility scooter on the junction of Runnymede Gardens and Cayton Road having been stabbed in the chest.
Cops later released CCTV footage of a man seen running from the scene with a knife in his hand.
They urged anyone who recognised him to get in touch immediately.
A man was then arrested following the appeal.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood who leads the investigation said: “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.
“I would reiterate their previous request that their privacy is respected by everyone as they continue to come to terms with their tragic loss.”
Hero neighbours rushed to try and save Thomas’s life before paramedics arrived.
Despite their efforts, he was pronounced dead at the scene after the horrifying ambush.
Thomas was well-known in the area and often busked with his accordion outside a nearby Tesco and the train station.
He had lived in Greenford since the ’70s.
Locals say he played to raise money for Ukrainian refugees.
Touching footage shows him beaming outside a supermarket while raising money.
Some of those living in the area had given him the nickname “Mr Bond”, while others affectionately knew him as “Uncle Tom”.
Neighbour Anushka Burnett, 37, said: “He’s absolutely lovely, he is one of the best neighbours.
“He is very helpful. If I’m outside trying to clean up or something or if I need anything, tools, he will pop them over.
“He’s so helpful, lovely, always has conversations with everyone. As soon as he sees you out, walk over, and he’ll just start talking to you.
“At his age he’d always like to have a joke as well, always laughing.”
Thomas is believed to have been heading to the pub when the attack happened, one friend said.
His daughter today told The Sun she was too distraught to talk.
Source: The Sun