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New leads in hunt for suspected killer Shane O’Brien, spotted in Ashford's Designer Outlet

By Sean Axtell

Police are investigating new leads surrounding the whereabouts of a suspected killer who was spotted in Kent while on the run.

The Metropolitan Police today said it is making fresh inquiries into a number of potential sightings of Shane O’Brien.

O'Brien, who is wanted in connection with the murder of Josh Hanson, 21, was placed on Interpol’s World’s Most Wanted List last month.

Shane O'Brien (2222635)
Shane O'Brien (2222635)

The 30-year-old was spotted in Ashford’s Designer Outlet after Mr Hanson was fatally stabbed at a bar in west London, on October 11 in 2015.

O’Brien fled the country on a private plane immediately after the killing, according to Scotland Yard.

After Interpol put up a £50,000 reward for information leading to O’Brien’s arrest there have been 15 potential sightings reported to the authorities.

A total of four have been investigated and eliminated from enquiries but work continues, according to the Met.

In particular efforts are focused on Marbella in Spain, Bangkok in Thailand and Dubai, the Met said.

Det Ch Insp Noel McHugh, from Homicide and Major Crime Command, added: "We are really pleased with the response to our appeals since O'Brien was placed on Interpol's list and would urge people to keep their eyes open wherever they are in the world.

“Please don't be discouraged by the fact some potential sightings have been investigated and discounted - we want to hear from anyone and everyone who thinks they see O'Brien or has any information no matter how small.”

He also urged people to save a wanted poster of O’Brien on their phones as a reminder of what he looks like.

"We would encourage everyone to save the 'wanted' poster to their phones so they have all the information they need, and importantly if you are abroad and think you see O'Brien tell local police or call the National Crime Agency's public line on 0370 496 7622, which is staffed 24 hours a day, immediately - it is really important we are able to act quickly," he added.

The day after the attack, O’Brien was spotted in Camber Sands in East Sussex.

Shane O'Brien (2222726)
Shane O'Brien (2222726)

Then on Tuesday, October 13, he was seen in Ashford at the Designer Outlet Centre in Kimberley Way buying clothes.

O’Brien then fled the country on a private plane, Scotland Yard believes.

The Met Police said O’Brien has been travelling “extensively” since.

He was arrested in Prague, in the Czech Republic, for criminal damage and assault under the Italian alias Enzo Mellonceli and released on bail in February 2017.

Sightings have also been reported in Gibraltar off Spain and Nice in France.

DCI McHugh added: "Were these sightings of Shane O'Brien? We know he has been travelling extensively since Josh's murder and has the ability to move around without using his own identity with the help of others.

"Based on what we know about O'Brien's lifestyle and interests, we are looking to people in nightclubs and boxing gyms as well as ex-pats and any women he may have become involved with to come forward.

“Those who have been in close proximity to him may well have seen his distinctive and rather poor quality cover-up tattoo of a owl holding a skull.

“As always, any calls we receive with information will be dealt with in the upmost confidence.”

O'Brien is believed to be in Europe and has changed his appearance since Josh's murder.

Custody snaps show him with long hair, a full beard and a tattoo of an owl holding a skull covering a previous identifying "Shannon 15-04-16" tattoo.

Wanted - Shane O'Brien
Wanted - Shane O'Brien

He has been using the Italian aliases Enzo Melloncelli and Enzo Machado.

The suspect, originally from Ladbroke Grove in west London, is described as 6ft tall, with dark brown hair and grey eyes.

Mr Hanson, from Kingsbury, in north west London, was in the RE Bar, in Eastcote, with his girlfriend, friend and cousin when he was fatally wounded.

The seemingly unprovoked attack is said to have happened in front of 40 horrified onlookers and was captured on CCTV, which has been watched repeatedly by the Met’s homicide team.

The National Crime Agency maintains O’Brien is dangerous and should not be approached.

He was also featured on Monday’s BBC1 Crimewatch Roadshow, where members of the public were urged to come forward with any information.

Mr Hanson's mother Tracey and sister Brooke said in a statement: "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.

“Someone, somewhere also knows where O’Brien is and can change the pain and uncertainty that each day brings for us.

“We ask you to try and imagine the emptiness that we have been left to live with, please, please, please do the right thing and make that call or encourage someone else to.”

Tracey added in the statement released last month: “Brooke and I count down the days, hours and minutes hoping and praying that we receive a call to tell us that Shane O’Brien has been arrested, so that we can grieve and mourn Josh in peace.”

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