THE grandchild of a tragic mobility scooter rider stabbed to death has paid tribute to the “lovely” busker.
Thomas O’Halloran, 87, was attacked in a “shocking act” of “unprovoked violence” in Greenford, West London on Tuesday.
Speaking from her home in Westgate on Sea, near Margate, Cindy O'Neill, 37, one his grandchildren, paid a heart-breaking tribute.
She told The Telegraph: "He was a lovely person. We are in a state of shock.
“It's terrible. I can't think straight."
Linda O'Halloran, one of his nieces in Ennystimon, Co Clare, Ireland, said the family was finding it "very hard" to process.
She said: "We're the most open-hearted, but this is very hard for my parents.
"It's very raw. They're trying to come to terms with it."
Ms O'Halloran, 53, said the family came from a musical background noting how like tragic Thomas, they all play accordion and tin whistle.
She described her uncle as "a fixer and a genius", adding: "He was an entire genius – he used to fix bicycles, radios, televisions, a bit of everything."
Armed police swooped on a murder suspect’s home after the pensioner was stabbed to death while out on his mobility scooter.
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Cops swarmed an address in nearby Southall at around 1.30am on Thursday.
But it took officers half an hour to pin down the suspect, who claimed he was scared of the police dogs.
Neighbours were woken by shouting outside as half a dozen cops yelled for the man to come out.
He finally came down to the door where he was laid down, handcuffed and taken away by police shortly after 2am.
The Met confirmed a 44-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder yesterday.
A neighbour across the street said: “I was asleep when I was woken by a lot of loud noise.
“I looked through the curtain and there was about six police outside the house, all armed.
“Two of them were pointing lasers at the house windows. I didn't want to put my head through the curtain in case they pointed the lasers at me.”
The neighbour said the officers were shouting at the man to come out, but he was “effing and blinding” for more than 30 minutes before he emerged.
Another local added that the man kept refusing to come out as “there was a dog”.
Tuesday’s horror attack saw Mr O’Halloran surrounded by a mob in Western Avenue before being knifed, it is understood.
He managed to travel 75 yards to Runnymede on his scooter before flagging down a member of the public for help.
Hero neighbours rushed to try and save his life before paramedics arrived, but, despite their best efforts, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cops have 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.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood, who is leading 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.”
Mr O’Halloran 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, and locals said he played to raise money for Ukrainian refugees.
Touching footage shows him beaming outside a supermarket while fundraising.
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, described him as “absolutely lovely” and “one of the best neighbours.”
“He is very helpful,” Anushka said. “If I’m outside trying to clean up or something or if I need anything, tools, he will pop them over.
“He's so 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.”
Mr O’Halloran is believed to have been heading to the pub when the attack happened, one friend said.
His daughter told The Sun she was too distraught to talk.
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