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London mobility scooter murder suspect is remanded in custody after fatal stabbing

A man charged with the murder of an 87-year-old busker, who was stabbed in the chest in a ‘vicious attack’ on a mobility scooter, was today remanded in custody.

Lee Byer, 44, appeared at Willesden Magistrates’ Court over the alleged killing of grandfather Thomas O’Halloran three days ago in Greenford, West London.

Byer, from nearby Southall, stood in the dock this morning wearing a 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.

Byer was not asked to enter pleas to charges of murder and possession of an offensive weapon – a large knife – and was remanded in custody by Deputy District Judge Ross Cohen ahead of his next appearance at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

A court artist’s sketch of Lee Byer, 44, of Southall, at Willesden Magistrates’ Court this morning

Thomas O'Halloran, 87, was stabbed to death while riding a mobility scooter in West London

Thomas O’Halloran, 87, was stabbed to death while riding a mobility scooter in West London 

Outlining the case against Byer, prosecutor Louise Ahmad described the alleged murder as a ‘vicious attack’.

She said Mr O’Halloran, a grandfather originally from Co Clare in the west of Ireland who was known ‘throughout the local community’, collapsed from his mobility scooter outside Runnymede Gardens having been stabbed in the chest.

He was found by a member of the public, who telephoned for assistance, she added.

Byer looked at members of the media in court and covered his face with his hand during the hearing, which lasted less than four minutes.

Flowers outside the Tesco in Perivale today, where Mr O'Halloran used to play his accordion

Flowers outside the Tesco in Perivale today, where Mr O’Halloran used to play his accordion

Mr O'Halloran's mobility scooter with the Ukrainian flag's colours, in Greenford on Tuesday

Mr O’Halloran’s mobility scooter with the Ukrainian flag’s colours, in Greenford on Tuesday

The judge said he faces a bail hearing at the Old Bailey next week and is expected to face a plea and trial preparation hearing at the same court on September 16.

‘This is a matter this court has no power to deal with and accordingly I am sending both matters… to the Central Criminal Court,’ he told Byer.

Mr O’Halloran was often seen busking with a harmonica and accordion outside a Tesco store and South Greenford railway station, and raised money for Ukraine.

Tributes have poured in this week for the pensioner, who was described as a member of the Irish community in Ealing and praised as ‘well-liked and well-loved’.

An aerial view of the scene in Greenford on Wednesday, where Mr O'Halloran was stabbed

An aerial view of the scene in Greenford on Wednesday, where Mr O’Halloran was stabbed

Former Labour MP Stephen Pound paid tribute to Mr O’Halloran, an ex-constituent of his who he knew from the busker’s regular public presence in the area.

Mr Pound told GB News: ‘Tom was a real local character, he would be outside Greenford station playing the accordion, occasionally the harmonica.

‘He was a sweet, lovely man… He was well-liked and well-loved, but above all, he was one of those characters who would cement an area.’

Mr O’Halloran is survived by his family, including his sister, two brothers, nieces and nephews.

Fine Gael senator Martin Conway said Mr O’Halloran visited Ireland regularly and that his death has left his home community in Ennistymon in ‘deep shock and sadness’.

Willesden Magistrates' Court in North West London today, where Lee Byer appeared later on

Willesden Magistrates’ Court in North West London today, where Lee Byer appeared later on

A view of Willesden Magistrates' Court today ahead of a court hearing involving Lee Byer

A view of Willesden Magistrates’ Court today ahead of a court hearing involving Lee Byer

‘Tommy, as he was known, left Ennistymon for London 71 years ago but travelled home almost every year until about 10 years ago,’ he said.

Officers were called to Cayton Road in Greenford on Tuesday shortly after 4pm to reports of a stabbing and Mr O’Halloran was declared dead at the scene.

Police believe Mr O’Halloran was knifed on Western Avenue before travelling 75 yards on his scooter to Runnymede Gardens, where he flagged down someone for help.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command are leading the investigation, and are not looking for anyone else in connection with the death. 

Police asked anyone with footage of the incident to upload it using an online form by clicking here. If they have any other information about the murder, they can call the incident room on 020 8358 0300 quoting 4691/16AUG. Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111 or by clicking here

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk