On a Saturday night in October 2015, at the RE Bar in Hillingdon, west London, 21-year-old Josh Hanson was stabbed in an unprovoked attack. Described later as an act of “pitiless savagery,” 31-year-old Shane O’Brien inflicted a 37-centimetre slash wound on Mr Hanson. Extending from his left ear to the right side of his chest, the merciless knife wound left Josh mortally injured. As Josh was left to die of the wound at the scene, before his girlfriend and friends, cold-hearted killer O’Brien casually walked away. In an unprecedented step, the Metropolitan Police released CCTV images of the attack to the public, following a request from Josh’s family. The scenes make for truly horrific viewing and are among the most graphic to be released to the public.
Knife Killer Shane O’Brien Goes on the Run
Alongside the brutal nature of the unprovoked attacked, ruthless killer O’Brien inflicted further suffering on Josh’s family. Immediately after the attack, after calmly fleeing the scene, O’Brien made elaborate plans to evade justice. Using a private plane, O’Brien flew out of Biggin Hill airport to the Netherlands, from where he travelled across Europe. The knife killer grew his hair long, wore a beard, had tattoos altered and used false identity papers to elude authorities for over three years. Finally, 23rd March 2019, O’Brien was arrested in Romania and returned to Britain on 5th April. At his trial in October of last year, O’Brien was sentenced to life with a minimum of 26 years’ imprisonment.
What was the motive behind the murder of Josh Hanson?
Following O’Brien’s conviction, Detective Chief Inspector of the Metropolitan Police Noel McHugh issued a public statement. “This is the day I, and certainly Josh’s family, almost feared would never come. O’Brien finally convicted of that unprovoked and vicious attack in a bar in Eastcote close to four years ago. And we still do not have a clear answer – why?”