Josh Hanson murder: Fugitive Shane O’Brien convicted of fatally stabbing Kingsbury man
- Credit: Archant
A fugitive has been convicted of murdering a Kingsbury man after a three-and-a-half-year international manhunt.
Shane O'Brien slashed 21-year-old Josh Hanson's neck in an act of "pitiless savagery" at a west London bar before fleeing the country in a private plane in 2015.
Council worker Mr Hanson clutched his neck as his horrified girlfriend watched blood pour out of a 37cm (14.5ins) gaping wound from his left ear to right chest.
Father-of-two O'Brien then calmly walked out of RE Bar in Hillingdon in the early hours of October 11 before enlisting the help of a friend called "Vanessa" to secure a private four-seat plane to take him from Biggin Hill airport to the Netherlands, the Old Bailey heard.
The 31-year-old grew long hair and a beard and got the tattoo of his child's name covered over as he used false identity documents to travel to countries including Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
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Friends helped the boxing and martial arts fan avoid authorities 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.
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O'Brien told jurors he had felt threatened by Mr Hanson's "very aggressive body language", saying he felt the roads planner was "ready to attack me" and may have been armed.
At bar closing time, he approached Mr Hanson, asking him "what's your problem?" before pulling the knife from a pocket of his expensive Canada Goose jacket and fatally slashing his victim.
O'Brien claimed he wanted only to "pretend to attack" Mr Hanson with the blade to "scare him", adding: "From the bottom of my heart, I did not mean to touch him with that blade."
But jurors convicted him of murder after 55 minutes of deliberations.
O'Brien, who fled the country in a private plane shortly after the killing in October 2015, stared ahead and showed no emotion as the guilty verdict was returned.
He will be sentenced by judge Nigel Lickley QC on October 17.
After an international manhunt O'Brien was finally arrested in Romania on March 23 and brought back to Britain on April 5.