President pays tribute to 'generosity' of Irish pensioner murdered in London 

President Michael D. Higgins has offered his sympathies to the Irish community in London, and all who knew Mr O' Halloran 
President pays tribute to 'generosity' of Irish pensioner murdered in London 

A Serco prison van leaves Willesden Magistrates’ Court in north-west London (Jonathan Brady/PA)

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to the "generosity and kindness" of Thomas O' Halloran, the 87-year-old pensioner from Co Clare who was killed in London while on his mobility scooter.

Mr Higgins, on behalf of the people of Ireland, offered his "profound sympathy to all the members of the family of Thomas O’Halloran who died under such tragic circumstances this week, to the Irish Community in London of whom he was a part, and to all in London and Ireland who knew him." 

In a statement issued this afternoon Mr Higgins said: "May I pay tribute to that generosity and kindness that Thomas showed in his life, as well as to Thomas’s musical talent which he shared so freely, most recently in support of those impacted by the situation in Ukraine."

"I hope that Thomas' family and friends can draw strength from the legacy of kindness he leaves to the wider Irish community in Britain, of which he was a member for so long.

The President said that he can "only imagine" the deep shock that the O' Halloran family will be feeling at present. 

"The grief that they will be feeling, I can share. It is so difficult to understand why and how such a terrible crime could occur to someone so altruistically minded and indeed cherished in his local community in Greenford," he said. 

A man has been arrested and charged in relation to the murder of Mr O' Halloran. 

Lee Byer, 44, appeared at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Friday over the alleged killing of Mr O’Halloran, in Greenford, west London, on Tuesday.

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.

Thomas O’Halloran, 87, had been riding a mobility scooter on Cayton Road, Greenford (Metropolitan Police/PA)

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.

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 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.

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