Mum of man knifed to death in London pleads to find Irish fugitive Shane O'Brien as police offer £50,000 reward
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Mum of man knifed to death in London pleads to find Irish fugitive Shane O'Brien as police offer £50,000 reward

THE mother of a man brutally stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack in London has made an emotional appeal to find his runaway killer Shane O’Brien.

O’Brien, 29, has been hunted by police for two years after he knifed 21-year-old Josh Hanson to death at a bar in Hillingdon, north-west London two years ago.

He is one of the National Crime Agency’s Most Wanted criminals, having last been seen two days after the killing on October 11, 2015.

Mr Hanson, from Kingsbury in north-west London, died at the scene after the attack at the RE Bar having suffered a serious incise wound to the neck.

His mother Tracey has shared a heartbreaking appeal to mark the two year anniversary of her son’s death, with the Metropolitan Police offering £50,000 for Shane O’Brien’s capture.

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She said: “These past 24 months have been a living nightmare, a nightmare that I would not wish on anyone.

“I nurtured my son from the moment I saw him, held his hand while he took his first steps, handed him his school bag on his first day of school and watched him grow into a bright, capable, funny and loving young man who worked hard and provided for his family.

“We laughed and cried together and shared our innermost thoughts and secrets; he was my son and he was also my best friend.

“Imagine pouring over photos and small video clips because that is all that is left that can bring you close to almost touching your child, and imagine having to share your pain and your grieving alongside a manhunt.

“While we grieve – Shane O’Brien, the man the police would like to speak to in connection with my son's murder – has yet to be caught and we still wait for justice.”

Mrs Hanson added: “I hope and pray that you only ever have to imagine what I have just shared with you and it never becomes your reality because it rips at your soul and your very being.”

Scotland Yard have shared an image of Shane O’Brien’s distinctive tattoo – of an owl holding a skull – in an effort to trace him.

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A recent image of Shane O'Brien's distinctive back tattoo (Picture: Met Police)

The 29-year-old was arrested in February this year in Prague, Czech Republic, for criminal damage and assault.

Met Police said he used the Italian alias Enzo Mellonceli, along with false documentation, to be granted bail so he could flee.

An image taken of him in Czech custody shows he has changed his appearance by growing his hair and a full beard.

Last year, the Irish public were warned that O’Brien – from Ladbroke Grove but with links to Ireland – was hiding out in the Republic in his continued bid to escape justice.

He was last seen in Britain two years ago when he took a privately chartered plane from Biggin Hill Airport following the murder.

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O’Brien may have spent time in the Netherlands and Dubai before his recent arrest in Prague, police said.

He is described as white, 6ft tall and of muscular build with grey eyes and dark brown hair.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Today marks the second anniversary of Josh's brutal and senseless murder and my team, supported by the National Crime Agency, have been working tirelessly to track O'Brien's movements.

Josh Hanson died after suffering an incise wound to his neck at the RE Bar in Hillingdon (Picture: Met Police)

"It is clear he is being helped by others to evade police and has the ability to move around without using his own identity.

"That is why we decided to offer such a large reward - £50,000 is a substantial amount of money and I hope it will encourage someone who moves in O'Brien's circles to come forward.

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“When arrested in Prague, O’Brien had boxing gloves with him. He uses gyms and will continue to do so I’m sure.

"His new tattoo is so distinctive it should stick in the mind of fellow boxers, or possibly a new partner.”

He added: “I would like to hear from the tattoo artist who covered up his original ‘Shannon 15-04-06’ tattoo, it would have taken several sittings.”

O'Brien should not be approached by members of the public and any sightings of him should be reported immediately by calling 999, police said.

Two men, 24 and 29, have so far been arrested as part of the investigation into Mr Hanson's murder on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender.

They were subsequently bailed to return at a later date pending further enquiries.

Anyone with information on Shane O’Brien’s whereabouts is asked to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, the police incident room on 020 8785 8099 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.

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