One of Britain’s most wanted men, Shane O’Brien, has been found guilty of murder after slashing a man’s neck in a bar.
Josh Hanson, 21, died after being slashed in the neck in west London in 2015.
O’Brien fled the country in a private plane after the act of “pitiless savagery”, sparking a three and a half year manhunt.
Mr Hanson, a council worker, was left clutching his neck as his horrified girlfriend watched blood pour from the (cm) 14. 5in) wound, which stretched from his left ear to the right side of his chest .
O’Brien, a father-of-two, walked out of the bar in Hillingdon after the attack on 11 October and enlisted the help of his friend “Vanessa” to get a plane from Biggin Hill to the Netherlands, the Old Bailey heard.
He grew long hair and a beard, and got the tattoo of his child’s name covered over. He used fake identity documents to travel through Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
Friends helped him avoid the authorities as he ended up on the most wanted lists for both Europol and Interpol.
He was arrested in Prague in 2017 for assault but managed to slip through the net by using the alias Enzo Melloncelli. He fled while he was on bail.
O’Brien told jurors he had felt threatened by Mr Hanson’s “very aggressive body language”, claiming he thought the roads’ planner was “ready to attack” him and thought he may have been harmed.
As the bar was closing, O’Brien approached Mr Hanson and asked “what’s your problem?” before pulling a knife from the pocket of his Canada Goose jacket and slashing his victim.
O’Brien claimed he only wanted to “pretend to attack” Mr Hanson, to “scare him”, and added : “From the bottom of my heart, I did not mean to touch him with that blade.”
Jurors took less than an hour in deliberations to convict him of murder.
He will be sentenced by judge Nigel Lickley on 17 October.
While on the run in Prague, O’Brien had his tattoo covered over by an artist named Thiago, who told the court he “cried like a baby” during the third session.
Thiago covered one of O’Brien’s existing tattoos with a large owl and a skull, completing the work in three sittings, over three days, lasting three hours each.
In a statement to police read out to the Old Bailey, Thiago said: “When it came to the third session, when I started tattooing he cried like a baby and said it was really painful.
“He said he would come back the next day, as he would spend more time in Prague as he had found a job.
“I asked him what did he do here? He looked like he didn’t want to tell me. I could see he didn’t want to talk about it.
” He said he was from Italy … then said his parents were from Italy and he was from Ireland. “
The artist added that they spoke about boxing and martial arts and that O’Brien had been training at a gym in Prague.
It was while he was in Prague that O’Brien was arrested for assault, and the new mugshot, with his long hair and beard, sparked a renewed appeal for him.
O’Brien was arrested in Romania on 23 March and brought back to Britain on 5 April.