Man arrested over murder of busker, 87, seen on CCTV buying birthday card and chocolates


The man arrested on suspicion of murdering an 87-year-old in a mobility scooter was named as 44-year-old Lee Byer.

Byer, who was pictured in CCTV released by police, was arrested in Southall, West London, in the early hours of this morning.

One local shopkeeper said Byer had been in his store on Saturday buying chocolates and a card for his mum’s birthday.

“As soon as I saw the CCTV I knew it was him,” he said.

“He was here on Saturday.

“It’s terrifying he’s the man who has been arrested.

“I’ve only ever seen him a couple of times, just recently, but it was definitely him.”

Byer is understood to have been living with family at the Southall address for a short period of time.

Neighbours said more than six police officers used a battering ram to smash down the front door of the suspect’s semi-detached home at around 1.30am.

Cops shouted for the man to give himself up before he emerged and was pushed to the floor and handcuffed.

One neighbour said: “It was 1.30am and I was woken up by shouting and a lot of cars arriving. I looked out and could see the police trying to smash down the door. They were using some sort of battering ram.

“Some of them went inside, but there was no sign of anyone. That lasted for about 30 minutes. Then they brought out a man.

“They pushed him to the floor and handcuffed his hands behind his back. Two of the police lifted him off the pavement and took him to a car.”

Another said: “There was some shouting and when I looked out there seemed to be lots of police. Some were in plain clothes.

“I immediately thought it must have something to do with the murder in Greenford. I do not know the person who lives there, but we would wave hello. It’s all come as a bit of a shock.”

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 (Weds), an arrest has been made and this investigation is progressing at pace.”

Officers also remained at the scene of the stabbing in nearby Greenford today as they combed hedgerows, likely in search for the murder weapon.

Meanwhile, heartwarming footage emerged of grandfather Tom busking on his 87th birthday which he celebrated just two weeks ago.

Pal Martin Jones, 53, said: “He was a lovely Irish gentleman and every day he was raising money for Ukraine – it was to help refugees.

“I have known him for about six to eight months and chat to him whenever I see him outside Tesco.

“Tom was just a lovely bloke who would talk to anyone in the community. He laughed with everyone.”

Tom had been playing outside a nearby Tesco, raising money for war-ravaged Ukrainians, shortly before he was attacked around 4pm as he made his way towards home.

Police said he travelled around 75 yards after the attack before members of the public saw him.

He died at the scene.

Popular Tom was originally from Ennistymon, Co Clare, in the west of Ireland.

The local community in Clare expressed their ‘deep shock’ following the pensioner’s death. He is survived by his family, including his sister, two brothers, nieces and nephews.