London mobility scooter stabbing victim named as Irishman Thomas O’Halloran (87)

O’Halloran left Co Clare more than 70 years ago but would regularly return for holidays and to see family

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 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.

Local councillor Martin Conway said he 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.

“He was a musician in London,” he said. “He busked for charity. Most recently, he busked to raise money for the Ukrainians living in his area who had fled the war, so he was a kind individual in that sense.

“I believe he was good fun. He was jolly. He was very well liked and very well known in his community in London and was talked about every day. He interacted with and engaged with people on a regular basis.”

Mr Conway said the O’Halloran are very well known in Ennistymon and north Clare, and that there is bewilderment at the manner of his death.

“People are shocked,” he said. “They can’t work out – it doesn’t make sense – that a man of that age would be targeted in such a brutal manner. This is a man who had to use a mobilised vehicle to navigate the streets. So there is a huge amount of bewilderment and shock in the community of Ennistymon and indeed north Clare.”

Shane Talty, another local councillor, said the O’Halloran family was still trying to process his death. “He’s gone from Ennistymon a lifetime at this stage,” he said. “He’s been gone to UK since he was a teenager. I would be familiar with his family. They are very well known and familiar locally.

“I had a conversation with his niece earlier on, and they are shocked and appalled. They only got word of it themselves since lunchtime today so they are only really processing it now and rallying around their father who was his brother. It’s horrific.”

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.” (Additional reporting: Guardian)

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter