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, topped the NCA 'Most Wanted' list and the reward was increased to £50,000.

Suspect Shane O'Brien and his new back tattoo

In May 2018 O'Brien was added to Interpol's Most Wanted list.

Detectives revealed he was last sighted in Prague in September 2017 and may also have visited Nice and Gibraltar.

Investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Were these sightings of Shane O’Brien? We know he has been travelling extensively since Josh’s murder and has the ability to move around without using his own identity with the help of others.

“Based on what we know about O’Brien’s lifestyle and interests, we are looking to people in nightclubs and boxing gyms as well as ex-pats and any women he may have become involved with to come forward. Those who have been in close proximity to him may well have seen his distinctive and rather poor quality cover-up tattoo of a owl holding a skull. As always, any calls we receive with information will be dealt with in the upmost confidence.

“Please do not assume that someone else will call in; what you perceive to be a small piece of information could in fact be the missing piece of the jigsaw that gets justice for Josh.

“After more than two-and-a-half years, some may feel that will we never catch O’Brien. But with the work that has and continues to be done, I believe we are making it more and more difficult for those supporting and 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. It is hugely significant that he is now included on Interpol’s world-wide Most Wanted list, it is about reducing O’Brien’s options.

“I would urge the public to remain vigilant wherever they are in the world. I am going to ask that we all save the poster to our phones and share it as widely as possible, especially when out of the UK or with colleagues, family or friends abroad. If you think you see O’Brien, please make that call immediately – I can’t emphasis enough how important it is for us to move quickly. The best number to call is the National Crime Agency’s public line on 0370 496 7622, which is staffed 24 hours a day.

“As well as contacting the NCA, please also inform local police so they can act immediately – show them the poster saved on your phone.

“Of course, in an emergency always call 999 - O’Brien is dangerous and should not be approached. A substantial reward of £50,000 remains on offer for information leading to his arrest and prosecution.”

Josh's mum Tracey, and sister Brooke, said: "We have lived for two years and seven months without Josh but we still have hope that we will get justice for him. Imagine if together, we could get justice for Josh. Well I believe we can, I believe that by sharing the wanted poster, home and away, justice will be ours in a matter of time.

"Brooke and I count down the days, hours and minutes hoping and praying that we receive a call to tell us that Shane O’Brien has been arrested, so that we can grieve and mourn Josh in peace. Our lives will never be the same without Josh and I would not wish our living nightmare on anyone, it is a pain that no words alone can describe.

"Now with O'Brien on Interpol’s Most Wanted list we encourage people from all over the world to get in touch for a copy of the Metropolitan Police Wanted Poster, which currently has a £50,000 reward on offer for information leading to his arrest and prosecution.

"We need your help, can you please share the wanted poster, if you are going on holiday or if your local shops are happy to display it, please ask and we will send them out to you. If you can help us please get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @JusticeforJoshHanson. Brooke and I would also like to thank those of you who have already shared the poster on social media and those who have displayed the poster home and away, your efforts mean that the police receive calls of possible sightings, and no call is a wasted call.

"Someone, somewhere also knows where O’Brien is and can change the pain and uncertainty that each day brings for us. We ask you to try and imagine the emptiness that we have been left to live with, please, please, please do the right thing and make that call or encourage someone else to."

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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