One of Britain's most wanted men is jailed for 'savage' murder

One of Britain’s most wanted men, 31, who went on the run for nearly four years after slashing pub-goer’s neck is jailed for at least 26 years for ‘savage’ murder

  • Shane O’Brien, 31, slashed neck of Josh Hanson, 21, in act of ‘pitiless savagery’ 
  • He fled Britain in private plane after attack at bar in Hillingdon, West London
  • Father-of-two used false travel documents until he was arrested in Romania 
  • He was brought back to Britain on April and convicted of murder at Old Bailey

One of Britain’s most wanted fugitives finally faced justice for murder today as he he was jailed for at least 26 years after a three-and-a-half year international manhunt.

Shane O’Brien, 31, slashed the neck of Josh Hanson, 21, in an act of ‘pitiless savagery’ at a bar in Hillingdon, West London, before fleeing the UK in a private plane.

The father-of-two used false travel documents to evade police until he was arrested in Romania and brought back to Britain in April.


Shane O’Brien (left) killed Josh Hanson (right) in an act of ‘pitiless savagery’ in London in 2015

O’Brien became Britain’s most wanted man after he got a plane abroad and went on the run

During his Old Bailey trial, jurors were shown CCTV footage of the attack on roads planner Mr Hanson in the early hours of October 11 2005.

Mr Hanson could be seen clutching his throat and stumbling as his horrified girlfriend watched blood pour out of a 37cm (14.5ins) gaping wound from his left ear to right chest.

After calmly leaving the bar, O’Brien got a friend called ‘Vanessa’ to secure a chartered four-seat plane to take him from Biggin Hill airport to the Netherlands, the court heard.

O’Brien grew long hair and a beard and got a tattoo of his daughter’s name covered over as he used false identity documents to travel to countries including Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

Mr Hanson’s mother, Tracey, standing with his sister Brooke, at the Old Bailey on October 1

After the stabbing in London, 1 on the map, O’Brien fled to Kent, 2, and flew to the Netherlands, 3, before visiting Germany, 4, Belgium, 5, and being arrested in the Czech Republic, 6. He then headed for Romania, 7, before being sent back to the UK 

The RE bar in Hillingdon, West London, is pictured in October 2015 after Mr Hanson’s death 

Friends helped the boxing and martial arts fan lay low after he was added to both Europol and Interpol’s most wanted lists, his trial heard.

Despite being arrested in Prague in 2017 for assault, he managed to slip through the net after using the alias Enzo Melloncelli and fleeing when released on bail.

O’Brien denied murder, claiming he felt threatened by Mr Hanson’s ‘very aggressive body language’.

He told jurors he only wanted scare Mr Hanson and did not mean the blade to touch him.

O’Brien grabbed the knife from the right pocket of his designer Canada Goose jacket before slashing Mr Hanson’s throat, neck and chest in a single motion

O’Brien was found guilty of murder after a jury deliberated for 55 minutes.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, from Scotland Yard, described the hunt for O’Brien as ‘hugely challenging’.

He said: ‘He was funded, provided with false documents, encrypted mobile phones, well beyond the capability of the ordinary criminal.’

O’Brien was sentenced by Judge Nigel Lickley QC at the Old Bailey today.

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