The suspected killer of a 21- year-old man in a bar in Hillingdon, West London, more than two years ago has been placed on Interpol’s Most Wanted list.
Shane O’Brien is wanted by police in regard to the unprovoked murder of Josh Hanson, from Kingsbury, at the RE Bar in Eastcote on 11 October, 2015. Police are appealing for any possible sightings of Mr O’Brien, who is believed to have fled the UK by a “privately chartered plane” from Biggin Hill Airport after the incident. He has been on the run ever since.
A £50,000 reward remains on offer for information leading to Mr O’Brien’s arrest and prosecution. Police have warned, however, that Mr O’Brien is dangerous and should not be approached.
Mr O’Brien, originally from Ladbroke Grove, is described as white and 6ft with grey eyes and dark brown hair.
A fresh appeal in October last year led detectives to Prague where a man matching Mr O’Brien’s description had been seen on several occasions around September 2017. Another person came forward to say Mr O’Brien may have been in Gibraltar around the same time, and in Nice in early November.
Investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said:
“Were these sightings of Shane O’Brien? We know he has been travelling extensively since Josh’s murder and has the ability to move around without using his own identity with the help of others.
“Those who have been in close proximity to him may well have seen his distinctive and rather poor quality cover-up tattoo of a owl holding a skull.
“After more than two-and-a-half years, some may feel that will we never catch O’Brien. But with the work that has and continues to be done, I believe we are making it more and more difficult for those supporting and helping O’Brien to remain hidden and there will come a point where they will see him as a liability and they will make that anonymous call.
“It is hugely significant that he is now included on Interpol’s worldwide Most Wanted list, it is about reducing O’Brien’s options.”
Josh died from a serious wound to the neck. Police and the London Ambulance Service attended, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
In March 2015 Mr O’Brien was added to the Most Wanted list by the National Crime Agency and Crimestoppers, and his image circulated worldwide. He was later elevated to Europe’s Most Wanted and placed on Europol’s list. In February 2017, he was arrested in Prague, but he used the Italian alias of Enzo Mellonceli, supported by false documentation, and was bailed pending further enquiries.
An image taken then shows he had changed his appearance – he had grown his hair and had a full beard and a distinctive new tattoo of an owl holding a skull, covering up his previous “Shannon 15-04-06” tattoo.
Josh’s mum Tracey and his sister Brooke have spoken of their “living nightmare” since Josh’s death, and their determination to catch his killer.
“We have lived for two years and seven months without Josh but we still have hope that we will get justice for him,” they said. “Imagine if together, we could get justice for Josh. Well I believe we can, I believe that by sharing the wanted poster, home and away, justice will be ours in a matter of time.
“Brooke and I count down the days, hours and minutes hoping and praying that we receive a call to tell us that Shane O’Brien has been arrested, so that we can grieve and mourn Josh in peace.”
Anyone with information about O’Brien or his whereabouts can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org, the police incident room `on 020 8785 8099 or the National Crime Agency’s public line on 0370 496 7622, which is staffed 24 hours a day.