The man wanted in connection with the murder of Josh Hanson was arrested in Prague earlier this year, police have revealed on the second anniversary of the 21-year-old’s death.
Officers have released a new image of Shane O’Brien, who police want to speak to after the unprovoked murder of Josh at an Eastcote bar in 2015, and announced the reward for finding him has increased to £50,000.
Scotland Yard has also issued a new image of O’Brien, from Ladbroke Grove and who tops the National Crime Agency’s Most Wanted list, which shows a noticeable change in appearance.
Josh, from Kingsbury, was stabbed in the neck and pronounced dead at the RE Bar in Field End Road in the early hours of October 11 2015.
Following the murder, O’Brien was flown out of the UK in a privately chartered plane from Biggin Hill Airport.
At that time it was believed he could be hiding in the Netherlands but information later indicated he had travelled to Dubai .
Now police have revealed his last known appearance was in Prague, where he was arrested in February for criminal damage and assault.
But he used the Italian alias of Enzo Mellonceli, supported by false documentation, and was bailed pending further enquiries.
He is also known to have used the alias Enzo Mellonceli.
An image taken by Czech Republic police shows he has grown his hair and has a full beard and a distinctive new tattoo on his back of an owl holding a skull, which covers up his previous “Shannon 15-04-06” tattoo.
Police say the £50,000 Met reward is for information leading to O’Brien’s arrest and prosecution.
Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Today marks the second anniversary of Josh’s brutal and senseless murder and my team, supported by the National Crime Agency, have been working tirelessly to track O’Brien’s movements.
“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 - £50,000 is a substantial amount of money and I hope it will encourage someone who moves in O’Brien’s circles to come forward.”
In an interview, Josh’s mother Tracey Hanson said on Wednesday (October 11) that the past 24 months had been “a nightmare that I would not wish on anyone” and urged people with information to come forward.
DCI McHugh continued: “If you have been debating whether to make that call, just listen to the pain in the voices of Josh’s mum Tracey and his sister Brooke. Your silence is denying justice to Josh’s family.”
He said that O’Brien had boxing gloves with him when arrested in Prague, and believes he is still using gyms in his hide-out.
He appealed for anyone who recognises him or has sparred with him, and hoped the distinctive new tattoo will help jog memories.
Police are also keen to hear from the artist who inked the new tattoo.
O’Brien is white, 6ft tall with grey eyes and dark brown hair.
Anyone who sees O'Brien should not approach him but call police immediately on 999.
On October 28 2015 investigating officers arrested two men on an inbound flight on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender.
They were bailed to return on a date in October pending further enquiries.
Anyone with information about O’Brien or his whereabouts can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org or the police incident room on 020 8785 8099.
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