'Most wanted' fugitive arrested in Romania over 2015 London murder

Lizzie Dearden
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Shane O’Brien: ‘Most wanted’ fugitive charged over murder of Josh Hanson after extradition to UK

One of Europe’s most wanted fugitives has been arrested in connection with the murder of a British man in London.

Shane O’Brien, 31, was put on both Europol and Interpol’s most wanted lists last year and police had offered a £50,000 reward for information.

He was detained by authorities in Romania on Saturday, under a European Arrest Warrant – one of the security tools that could be lost after Brexit.

“This relates to an investigation launched in 2015 by detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command after the murder of Josh Hanson,” a Metropolitan Police spokesperson said.

“The process will now begin in relation to O'Brien's extradition back to the United Kingdom.

“Josh's family have been kept fully up to date with developments.”

Ian Cruxton, head of international operations for the National Crime Agency, said: “O’Brien has spent several years looking over his shoulder as he has been at the centre of an extensive operation to track him down.

“I’m delighted that the pressure brought to bear by this has finally resulted in him being captured as a result of close working with the Romanian authorities.

“I hope his arrest offers some comfort to the family and friends of Josh Hanson.”

Sightings of Mr O’Brien had previously been reported in Gibraltar, Nice, Netherlands, Dubai and other global locations.

In February 2017, he was arrested in Prague but used the Italian alias of Enzo Mellonceli, supported by false documentation, and was released on bail.

Investigators said Mr O’Brien, originally from Ladbroke Grove, could be marked out by a “distinctive and rather poor quality cover-up tattoo of an owl holding a skull”.

Police said he left the country in a privately chartered plane following the 2015 murder of Mr Hanson at a bar in Eastcote, north-west London.

The 21-year-old was stabbed in the neck during a night out with his girlfriend and died at the scene.

Last year his mother Tracey, and sister Brooke, said: “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.”