A man (44) has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of 87-year-old Thomas O’Halloran on a mobility scooter in west London.
He was arrested at an address in Southall, west London, early on Thursday morning, the Metropolitan Police said.
Det Chief Insp 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.”
Mr O’Halloran was originally from Ennistymon in Co Clare.
Detectives said he was stabbed on Western Avenue in Greenford on Tuesday and managed to travel 75 metres 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.
Mr O’Halloran was said to be known locally for busking outside Greenford Station and was also said to be raising money for war-torn Ukraine.
Fine Gael councillor Martin Conway said Mr O’Halloran left Ennistymon more than 70 years ago but would regularly return for holidays and to see family there up to about 10 years ago.
“He left Ennistymon 71 years ago as a young fella,” he said. “He would regularly – almost every year – come home for a holiday. He was a regular visitor up to about a decade ago. Obviously with age, Covid and so on, he hasn’t been home in the past eight to 10 years.”
Mr Conway said he was known as a kind individual who engaged with locals and neighbours in his London community.
Reacting to Mr O’Halloron’s death, former Labour MP for Ealing North Stephen Pound said: “we’ve lost the heart of our community.”
Mr Pound told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland that Mr O’Halloran had always been looking for ways to raise money for people in need and had been collecting for Ukraine when he was killed.
“I don’t know why we called him Terry. I didn’t know much about his past. He was an absolute character and played up the cheerful Irishman stereotype. He was a sweet and lovely man,” Mr Pound said.
Mr Pound described Mr O’Halloran as “the uncrowned king of Greenford” and “the cement that held this community together”, adding “he will be sadly missed.” Although Mr O’Halloran may have been 87 “in body”, he had a twinkle in his eyes of a 22-year-old and was very sharp, he said.
Mr Pound predicted Mr O’Halloran’s funeral would be “massive” as the community had lost someone who was considered “irreplacable”. He was “a one-off, he was special”.
For the stabbing to have taken place at 4pm beside one of the main roads in London had stunned the community, he added.
Mr O’Halloran had chatted to everyone, he was almost like a secular priest, he was the person to whom people told their troubles, Mr Pound said. “It will be strange to go by his space today.”