Most wanted fugitive facing life in jail

One of Britain’s most wanted fugitives will finally face justice for murder following a three-and-a-half year international manhunt.

Shane O’Brien, 31, slashed the neck of Josh Hanson, 21, in an act of “pitiless savagery” at a west London bar before fleeing the UK in a private plane.

The father-of-two used false travel documents to evade police until he was arrested in Romania and brought back to Britain on April.

Josh Hanson death
CCTV of the incident (Met Police/PA)

During his Old Bailey trial, jurors were shown CCTV footage of the attack on roads planner Mr Hanson in the early hours of October 11 2005.

Mr Hanson could be seen clutching his throat and stumbling as his horrified girlfriend watched blood pour out of a 37cm (14.5ins) gaping wound from his left ear to right chest.

After calmly leaving the bar, O’Brien got a friend called “Vanessa” to secure a chartered four-seat plane to take him from Biggin Hill airport to the Netherlands, the court heard.

O’Brien grew long hair and a beard and got a tattoo of his daughter’s name covered over as he used false identity documents to travel to countries including Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

Josh Hanson death
Josh Hanson (Met Police/PA)

Friends helped the boxing and martial arts fan lay low after he was added to both Europol and Interpol’s most wanted lists, his trial heard.

Despite being arrested in Prague in 2017 for assault, he managed to slip through the net after using the alias Enzo Melloncelli and fleeing when released on bail.

O’Brien denied murder, claiming he felt threatened by Mr Hanson’s “very aggressive body language”.

He told jurors he only wanted scare Mr Hanson and did not mean the blade to touch him.

O’Brien was found guilty of murder after a jury deliberated for 55 minutes.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, from Scotland Yard, described the hunt for O’Brien as “hugely challenging”.

He said: “He was funded, provided with false documents, encrypted mobile phones, well beyond the capability of the ordinary criminal.”

O’Brien will be sentenced by Judge Nigel Lickley QC at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.

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