Man admits killing elderly Irish busker on mobility scooter in west London – The Irish Times

A man has admitted killing an elderly mobility scooter rider in a “motiveless” knife attack five days after being released from prison.

Lee Byer stabbed Thomas O’Halloran (87) in the neck and chest in Greenford, West London, in August 2022.

It can now be reported that Byer had a string of previous convictions, and days earlier had been released from Wormwood Scrubs.

On Monday, the 45-year-old, of no fixed address, denied murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter by diminished responsibility and having an offensive weapon.

Prosecutor Gareth Patterson KC accepted the pleas after mental health reports found Byer was psychotic, hearing voices, suffering from paranoid delusions and paranoid schizophrenia.

He said the defendant’s mental state provided an explanation for what was a “motiveless attack”.

Grandfather Mr O’Halloran was originally from Co Clare and had been well known in the local community. He was said to be a passionate musician and described as “very popular” in Greenford, often busking for charity. Footage on social media showed him busking to raise money for Ukraine months before the killing.

Shortly after 4pm on August 16th, 2022, police received a 999 call from a member of the public who found the victim on his scooter coming from a passageway that runs between Runneymede Gardens and Welland Gardens.

Mr O’Halloran was able to tell the passerby that he had been stabbed, although wounds to his body were clearly visible, the Old Bailey in London has previously heard.

A postmortem examination found he had suffered multiple stab wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen.

Mr O’Halloran and the defendant were caught on CCTV heading towards the passageway where their paths crossed. The footage showed that, apart from Byer, no one else went into or out of the area when the victim was attacked. When he left the passageway, a knife could be seen in Byer’s hand.

He was caught on camera depositing a knife handle in a drain in Haymill Close on the way back to his mother’s house. Forensic analysis found the victim’s blood on the handle, although the blade was never found.

After CCTV images of the suspect were released in the media, Byer was identified by people working in the criminal justice system.

After being arrested at his mother’s house on August 18th, Byer told police: “Murder, I was in prison at the time.”

Clothes matching those seen on CCTV were found in a search of the property as well as a knife set with handles similar to the one found in the drain. Police also alleged Byer had tried to burn the clothes he was wearing in his mother’s garden.

In police interviews, he denied being the suspect caught on CCTV, claiming he was in his mother’s garden or the park at the time.


It can now be reported that Byer had 15 previous convictions recorded against him for 30 offences dating back to when he was 14. In 2011, he was convicted of robbery and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. On August 11th, 2022, Byer had been released from Wormwood Scrubs.

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

At the time of his death, Fine Gael senator Martin Conway said Mr O’Halloran visited Ireland regularly and that his death had left his home community in Ennistymon in “deep shock and sadness”.

“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.

Old Bailey Judge Mark Lucraft adjourned sentencing until May 10th.

Judge Lucraft said: “The issue for me will be to consider the degree of responsibility retained at the time and to work out the appropriate sentence.” – PA

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