DETECTIVES investigating the murder of Josh Hanson have renewed appeals to find chief suspect Shane O’Brien on the third anniversary of the 21-year-old’s death.
Josh, from Kingsbury, died after an unprovoked incident at the RE Bar in Eastcote, West London in October 2015.
O’Brien fled the country on a private plane immediately after.
Detectives believe he is being helped by criminal associates who are providing him with money, false identifies and the means to move across borders.
In May, O’Brien – from Ladbroke Grove but with links to Ireland – was placed on Interpol’s worldwide Most Wanted list.
He has yet to be caught despite a £50,000 reward being on offer for information leading to his arrest and prosecution.
Family's horrendous ordeal
“For Josh’s family, the last three years – more than 1,000 days and nights without Josh – have been horrendous,” said Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh.
“No words adequately describe the pain they are going through.
“His mum Tracey and sister Brooke have to live on a daily basis with the frustration and ongoing disappointment that as yet O’Brien evades capture.”
Josh's family are desperate for anyone who has any information on the whereabouts of main suspect Shane O'Brien to come forward & talk to police. A £50,000 reward is on offer for information that leads to O'Brien's arrest & prosecution. Have you seen Shane O'Brien? pic.twitter.com/q7IHPzLzle
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) October 11, 2018
The Met’s Major Crime Command is working with the National Crime Agency in the hunt for O’Brien.
Follow-ups on sightings abroad have so far yielded no information however DCI McHugh believes the net is closing.
“I believe we are making it more and more difficult for those 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,” he said.
He urged people to download and save O’Brien’s wanted poster to their phones and share with others.
In February 2017, O’Brien was arrested in Prague. He used the Italian alias Enzo Mellonceli, supported by false documentation, and was bailed pending further enquiries.
An image taken then shows O’Brien 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 has taken to wearing a sandwich board at major London transport hubs bearing O’Brien’s details in the hope travellers may recognise him.
“Three years without Josh have been unimaginable and I have not even started to grieve,” she said.
She added: “I find it astonishing how Europe’s and now Interpol’s most wanted man can be so elusive, or well networked, as the police say.
“More than 40,000 posters have been requested worldwide and over the past two days alone we have handed out 8,000 posters.
“In addition I have taken the extraordinary step of wearing a sandwich board outside major London transport hubs.
“I have the face of the man the police want to speak to in relation to my son’s murder close to my heart – that cannot be right!
“Moreover, I have to do this because he has not been caught.”
Two men have so far been arrested as part of the investigation into Josh’s murder.
On October 28, 2015, detectives arrested a 24-year-old man [A] and a 29-year-old man [B] – who were on an inbound flight to the UK – on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender.
Both were later released with no further action.
Anyone with information about O’Brien or his whereabouts can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org, call the police incident room on 020 8785 8099 or the National Crime Agency’s 24-hour public line on 0370 496 7622.