A suspected killer who has been on the run for more than two years may have been spotted in Gibraltar early last year, the Metropolitan Police said yesterday as he was placed on a worldwide most wanted list.
Shane O’Brien, 30, is alleged to have killed 21-year-old Josh Hanson in an unprovoked knife attack in a bar in Hillingdon, west London, in 2015.
O’Brien fled in the wake of his death and was thought to be in the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates before returning to Europe.
He has been placed on Interpol’s worldwide most wanted list and there is a £50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and prosecution.
Last October police in the UK issued an appeal and received information that a man matching O’Brien’s description had been seen in central Prague on several occasions, the last time around mid-September 2017.
Detectives know O’Brien had been in Prague as he was arrested there in February last year for criminal damage and assault and now believe he was in the city for at least seven months. They have carried out extensive appeals in Prague to try to build up a picture of his lifestyle.
“Another person came forward to say O’Brien may have been in Gibraltar around the same time,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
“Information was also received that O’Brien may have been in Nice in early November.”
The Royal Gibraltar Police said it had not received any direct reports of any sightings of O’Brien here and that there was no evidence to confirm the veracity of the information received by the Met following the UK appeal.
However officers here continued to look into the matter following his inclusion on the Interpol list.
Mr Hanson’s mother Tracey and his sister Brooke said: “Our lives will never be the same with- out Josh and I would not wish our living nightmare on anyone, it is a pain that no words alone can de- scribe.”
“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.”
Met Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh said: “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 expats and any women he may have be- come involved with to come forward.”
“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.”
Mr Hanson, from Kingsbury, north-west London, was stabbed in the neck at the REBar in the early hours of October 11 2015 and died from his injuries at the scene.
O’Brien, originally from Ladbroke Grove, is described as white, 6ft, with grey eyes, dark brown hair, a full beard and a tattoo on his back of an owl holding a skull, covering up a previous one of “Shannon 15-04-06”.
Police say he is dangerous and should not be approached.
Anyone with information about O’Brien or his whereabouts can call Crimestoppers anonymously on +44 800 555 111 or vis- itcrimestoppers-uk.org, the police incident room on +44 20 8785 8099 or the National Crime Agency’s public line on +44 370 496 7622, which is staffed 24 hours a day.
In Gibraltar, the RGP Duty Officer at New Mole House Police Station can be contacted on telephone 200 72500.
Main photo: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire