Shane O’Brien, 31, (pictured) is the chief suspect in the murder of 21-year-old Josh Hanson, who was killed in an unprovoked knife attack in a bar in Hillingdon. He was extradited from Romania and arrived back in Heathrow Airport at 7.30pm today
Britain’s most wanted man, Shane O’Brien, has been charged with the murder of a 21-year-old man in 2015.
O’Brien, 31, from Ladbroke Grove, London, was charged on Friday evening after arriving in Heathrow following his extradition from Romania, the Metropolitan Police said.
He is due to appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.
Murder victim Josh Hanson was fatally stabbed in the neck in front of around 40 horrified onlookers in Hillingdon, West London.
A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as haemorrhage, inhalation of blood and an incised wound to the neck.
Suspect O’Brien was arrested in Romania last month and was extradited under a European Arrest Warrant after a four-year man hunt.
He was taken from Heathrow to a London police station for questioning.
A £50,000 reward was put on O’Brien’s head in 2017, two years after Mr Hanson’s death.
O’Brien, who heads the National Crime Agency’s ‘most wanted’ list, was flown out of the UK in a privately chartered plane from Biggin Hill Airport after Mr Hanson’s death.
At the time, it was believed he could be hiding in the Netherlands but it later emerged he had travelled to Dubai.
In February 2017 he was arrested in Prague for criminal damage and assault, but used the Italian alias of Enzo Mellonceli, supported by false documentation, and was bailed pending further enquiries.
Shane O’Brien ,31, detained by authorities in Romania, after he was taken to the judge to confirm the European arrest warrant in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, last month
Shane O’Brien, 31, originally from Ladbroke Grove in London, being arrested by police in Romania. He has been on the run since 2015 and is the chief suspect in the murder of 21-year-old Josh Hanson, who was killed in an unprovoked knife attack in a bar in Hillingdon, west London
Shane O’Brien being led away by Romanian police. He is alleged to have stabbed Josh Hanson in 2015 in a bar in London
It is believed he had spent time in the Netherlands, Dubai and at least seven months in Prague where he may have had a string of affairs with women and spent time in boxing clubs, gyms and nightclubs.
Police photos taken at the time show O’Brien had changed his appearance, having longer hair and a beard as well as a large tattoo of an owl holding a skull that covers a large portion of his back.
This was to cover up a distinctive tattoo he had that said ‘Shannon 15-04-06’.
Mr Hanson, from Kingsbury, north-west London, died at the scene after the incident at the RE Bar in Hillingdon where he was stabbed in front of 40 onlookers
An image taken then shows O’Brien has grown his hair, has a full beard and has a distinctive new tattoo of an owl holding a skull, which covers up his previous ‘Shannon 15-04-06’ tattoo
O’Brien was placed on a world-wide most wanted list in 2018 after he had been on the run for three years
Ian Cruxton, the National Crime Agency’s head of international operations, said: ‘O’Brien has spent several years looking over his shoulder as he has been at the centre of an extensive operation to track him down.
‘I’m delighted that the pressure brought to bear by this has finally resulted in him being captured as a result of close working with the Romanian authorities.
‘I hope his arrest offers some comfort to the family and friends of Josh Hanson.’
Mr Hanson lived with his sister Brooke and mother Tracey in Kingsbury, near Wembley.
Reacting to the news on Twitter, the Josh Hanson Trust, a charity set up in the wake of his death, thanked DCI Noel McHugh, the officer investigating the case followed by ‘Love you Josh’.
Another tweet read: ‘Today on the 23rd of March 2019 and after 3 and a half years of waiting today is Josh’s day.’
In an emotional appeal from 2017, his mother said: ‘Take a minute and look at your child and imagine your world without him or her…no – neither could have I done before my son was brutally murdered in a totally unprovoked knife attack on 11 October 2015.
‘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.’
She added: ‘He was my son and he was also my best friend…it rips at your soul and your very being.’
The process of his extradition back to the United Kingdom has now begun.
Mr Hanson’s family have been kept fully up to date with developments.