Case: Eastcote stabbing: Josh Hanson
Josh Hanson
Case unsolved
Status: Unsolved
Categories: Uncategorised
Case synopsis:

Josh Hanson, 21, was stabbed to death in Eastcote on 11 October 2015.

Police were called to the RE bar in Field End Road at around 1.10am.

Mr Hanson, who worked as a roads planner and lived with his mother in Kingsbury, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A postmortem gave the cause of death cause of death as haemorrhage, inhalation of blood and an incised wound to the neck.

On 14 October police launched a national manhunt for Shane O'Brien, 27, of Ladbroke Grove, who left the country after the murder on a privately-chartered plane from Biggin Hill Airport. He was thought to have sought refuge in the Netherlands.

A £10,000 reward for information was increased was increased to £20,000 on 7 July 2016 as detectives revealed that O'Brien was believed to be in Dubai.

Wanted: Shane O'Brien (left, white t-shirt), suspected of the murder of Josh Hanson

In October 2017 detectives revealed O'Brien had been arrested in Prague for assault and criminal damage in February that year while using the Italian alias of Enzo Mellonceli - only to be released on bail.

His custody photo showed him with long hair and a distinctive new tattoo of an owl which covered up his previous “Shannon 15-04-06” tattoo.

O'Brien, who fled the country after the murder on a privately-chartered from Biggin Hill Airport, now tops the NCA 'Most Wanted' list and the reward has been increased to £50,000.

Suspect Shane O'Brien and his new back tattoo

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "£50,000 is a huge amount of money which demonstrates the Met’s determination and commitment in finding O'Brien and bringing him before the courts.

“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

"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. If you have been debating whether to make that call, just listen to the pain in the voices of Josh’s mum Tracey and his sister Brooke. Your silence is denying justice to Josh’s family.

“When arrested in Prague, O’Brien had boxing gloves with him. He uses gyms and will continue to do so I’m sure. Hs new tattoo is so distinctive it should stick in the mind of fellow boxers, or possibly a new partner. 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.

"I have the greatest respect for Josh's family who have acted with such dignity and patience during what can only be described as a living nightmare. Tracey and Brooke have been inspirational in leading personal campaigns against knife crime; but of course they are desperate to see the person responsible for Josh's murder brought to justice. When pondering on whether to make that call, imagine the relief your information could give to Josh’s family."

In an emotional appeal Josh’s mum Tracey 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.

“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. 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.

“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.”

Any witnesses or anyone with any information for detectives are urged to contact the incident room on 020 8785 8099 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via

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