A BRITISH mother has appealed for help in finding her son’s killer after he was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack two years ago.
Shane O’Brien, 28, is the chief suspect in the murder of 21-year-old Josh Hanson, who was murdered in a bar in Hillingdon, west London.
On what is now the second anniversary of the murder, detectives have upped the reward for finding O’Brien to £50,000.
O’Brien heads the National Crime Agency’s ‘most wanted’ list, is believed to have fled abroad and is known to have changed his appearance.
In an appeal launched in Torremolinos last year, detectives believed he had fled to southern Spain.
In February of this year he was arrested in Prague for criminal damage and assault, but used the Italian alias of Enzo Mellonceli, supported by false documentation, and was bailed pending further enquiries.
He has now grown his hair, has a full beard and has a distinctive new tattoo of an owl holding a skull.
Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh said the £50,000 reward for information leading to O’Brien’s arrest and conviction ‘demonstrated the Met’s determination’ in finding him.
He said: “It is clear he is being helped by others to evade police and has the ability to move around without using his own identity.
“That is why we decided to offer such a large reward… I hope it will encourage someone who moves in O’Brien’s circles to come forward.”
“When arrested in Prague, O’Brien had boxing gloves with him.
“He uses gyms and will continue to do so I’m sure.
“His new tattoo is so distinctive it should stick in the mind of fellow boxers, or possibly a new partner.
“I would like to hear from the tattoo artist who covered up his original ‘Shannon 15-04-06’ tattoo – it would have taken several sittings.”
Young Hanson was found with a serious neck wound at the RE Bar in Hillingdon at about 1.10am on October 11 2015, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
He died choking on his own blood.
A reward was set at £10,000, before being bumped to £20,000 last year.
Mum Tracey Hanson said she has been in ‘a living nightmare’ ever since.
She said: “Take a minute and look at your child and imagine your world without him or her…no – neither could have I done before my son was brutally murdered in a totally unprovoked knife attack on 11 October 2015.
“These past 24 months have been a living nightmare, a nightmare that I would not wish on anyone.
“I nurtured my son from the moment I saw him, held his hand while he took his first steps, handed him his school bag on his first day of school and watched him grow into a bright, capable, funny and loving young man who worked hard and provided for his family. We laughed and cried together and shared our innermost thoughts and secrets; he was my son and he was also my best friend.
“Imagine pouring over photos and small video clips because that is all that is left that can bring you close to almost touching your child, and imagine having to share your pain and your grieving alongside a manhunt.
“While we grieve Shane O’Brien, the man the police would like to speak to in connection with my son’s murder, has yet to be caught and we still wait for justice.
“Justice for the most heinous crime that my son had to endure and justice to ensure that innocent people are safe.
“I hope and pray that you only ever have to imagine what I have just shared with you and it never becomes your reality because it rips at your soul and your very being.
“Please can you help us, Josh leaves behind a sister and a family who miss and love him very much.
“Take a moment to look around you and if you think you may have seen O’Brien please call the police.
“Someone has seen him and all it takes is that one phone call to help us get justice so we can grieve in peace.”
O’Brien is described as white and 6ft with grey eyes and dark brown hair.
Anyone with information can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or the police on 020 8785 8099.
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