One of Britain’s most wanted fugitives is back in the UK after being extradited from Romania.
Shane O’Brien, 31, the suspected killer of 21-year-old Josh Hanson, who was stabbed to death in a bar in Hillingdon, west London, in 2015, was arrested in Cluj-Napoca last month.
Scotland Yard said he arrived at Heathrow Airport at 7.30pm on Friday and is being held in custody at a London police station.
O’Brien is thought to have left the UK shortly after Mr Hanson was stabbed in RE Bar in Eastcote in October 2015, flying on a private jet from Biggin Hill Airport in south-east London, landing in Germany.
It is believed he spent time in the Netherlands, Dubai and at least seven months in Prague.
Police photos taken at the time show he had changed his appearance, having longer hair and a beard, and a new, large tattoo of an owl holding a skull that covers a large portion of his back.
It covered a distinctive tattoo he had previously, which read “Shannon 15-04-06”.
Josh Hanson’s mother, who has long campaigned for help tracking down O’Brien, thanked lead investigator Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh in the wake of the arrest.
Tracey Hanson said on Twitter: “Today on the 23rd of March 2019 and after 3 and a half years of waiting today is Josh’s day.”
Today on the 23rd of March 2019 and after 3 and a half years of waiting today is Josh’s day
Josh's mum Tracey Hanson
O’Brien had been held in Romania after a dramatic arrest before being held and extradited back to the UK.
The father-of-two had headed the National Crime Agency’s most wanted list .
A post-mortem established Mr Hanson’s death was caused by a haemorrhage, inhalation of blood and an incised wound to the neck.
Police previously revealed that O’Brien was arrested for assault and criminal damage in the Czech Republic capital of Prague in February 2017.
But O’Brien, using the Italian alias of Enzo Mellonceli supported by false documentation, fled after being bailed before his real identity became known.
Custody photos were taken of O’ Brien showing his distinctive new owl tattoo with a death’s head skull shaped into the bird’s body under its wings spanning both shoulders.
Last year cops said he’d been travelling “extensively” with reported sightings in Gibraltar, Nice in France and Prague.
Police had offered a reward of £50,000 for his capture.
He was the subject of a European Arrest Warrant on behalf of the Met Police.
The Metropolitan Police said Mr Hanson’s family have been kept up to date with developments.
After the death of her son Josh, Tracey Hanson released a poignant statement appealing for anyone with information on O’ Brien’s whereabouts to come forward.
The grieving mother 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.”
Mrs Hanson went on: “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.
“Justice for the most heinous crime that my son had to endure and justice to ensure that innocent people are safe.
“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.
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“Please can you help us, Josh leaves behind a sister and a family who miss and love him very much.
“Take a moment to look around you and if you think you may have seen O’Brien please call the police.
“Someone has seen him and all it takes is that one phone call to help us get justice so we can grieve in peace.”
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