After a three-and-a-half year-long international manhunt, one of the UK’s most wanted men has been arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
Shane O’Brien, 31, went on the run after slashing the neck of and killing Josh Hanson, 21, at a West London bar on October 11, 2015.
The dad-of-two fled on a plane – chartered by a drug dealer – to the Netherlands following the attack. In April this year, police finally caught up to him in Romania and brought him home.
During the trial, jurors were shown CCTV footage of the gruesome attack, in which they could see Hanson – a council worker, who was with his girlfriend in the RE bar in Hillingdon – clutching his throat as the 37cm wound, stretching from his left ear to right chest, gushed blood.
O’Brien grew long hair and got a tattoo – which covered his daughter’s name on his back – after fleeing the UK, using a number of false identity documents which enabled him to travel across Europe, including Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
As per The Sun, he was soon added to Europe and Interpol’s most wanted list, with O’Brien’s friends helping him lay low.
The fugitive actually found himself in the hands of the law in 2017, after being arrested for assault in Prague. However, after using the alias Enzo Melloncelli and being let go on bail, he fled once more.
O’Brien alleged during the trial that he felt threatened by Hanson’s ‘very aggressive body language’, and only wanted to scare him with the blade, rather than actually harm him.
After the jury deliberated on the verdict for just under an hour, O’Brien was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison on October 1.
Judge Nigel Lickley said at the trial:
You approached Josh Hanson who was standing with his girlfriend and you slashed him using a razor sharp Stanley knife from his left ear across his neck causing a wound 37cm long that gaped to about 85cm wide.
You walked away and left Josh Hanson to die in front of his shocked and traumatised friends. Josh Hanson did not know you, he had done nothing to provoke any reaction from you let alone violence of this sort. This was a grotesque, violent and totally unnecessary attack on an innocent man.
You evaded the criminal justice system and prolonged the family’s suffering.You remained at large and an international police manhunt was launched to try and find you.
Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, from Scotland Yard, called the hunt for O’Brien ‘hugely challenging’, adding: ‘He was funded, provided with false documents, encrypted mobile phones, well beyond the capability of the ordinary criminal.’
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.