A club-goer killed a 21-year-old with a single slash to the throat in an ‘act of pitiless savagery’ before going on the run for almost four years, a court heard today.
Shane O’Brien brought a knife to the RE bar in Hillingdon, north west London on October 11 2015.
After a row ensued between him and Joshua Hanson, 21, he produced the weapon and killed him with a ‘single slashing motion’, the Old Bailey was told.
He went on the run and was finally arrested by police in March this year.
Jurors heard on Monday that O’Brien hid a knife in his designer Canada Goose jacket before ‘surreptitiously’ reaching for it to kill the victim.
Mr Hanson had been enjoying an evening with friends with ‘no difficulties’ until O’Brien dealt his ‘catastrophic’ blow within 10 seconds of the confrontation, jurors heard.
Shane O’Brien brought a knife to the RE bar in Hillingdon, north west London on October 11 2015 when he used it to kill Joshua Hanson, 21 (right), a court heard today
Crime scene: The RE bar in Hillingdon, north west London, is pictured in October 2015 after Mr Hanson’s death
Opening the prosecution case, Mark Heywood QC said: ‘For reasons that have yet to be fully explained, the defendant stood up, he approached the other man.
‘As they spoke briefly, with others around them, the defendant reached for his blade and with a single downward slashing motion, he used it.
‘He quite simply cut the throat of the man he was facing.
‘You will judge for yourselves how best to categorised that even once you have heard all of the evidence.
‘The prosecution will describe it as an act of pitiless savagery.’
He told the jury: ‘This case is all about the events that happened at the end of a Saturday night out in a north London bar.
‘For most there that night, none of them could have predicted what would happen, so sudden and shocking was it.
O’Brien is pictured in another mugshot
‘They had gone out in the company of others for a good time.
‘But by two o’clock in the morning that followed one young man lay dead and another, a little older, was beginning a life on the run.’
Mr Heywood said O’Brien and Joshua Hanson did not know each other and went into the bar in separate groups of friends, adding: ‘Their paths crossed for only a matter of seconds, perhaps a few minutes at most.’
O’Brien allegedly concealed the weapon at his side before striking.
Mr Heywood went on: ‘You will see that it was the defendant who approached Josh Hanson and not the other way round.
‘He suddenly raised his right hand, holding the blade, to a level above the head of Josh Hanson.
‘He then brought the blade down in a sweeping, slashing motion, aimed at and striking the exposed skin of Josh Hanson’s ear, neck and also his chest.
‘It was a deliberate, swiping motion intended to cause, at the very least of it, serious injury to Josh Hanson with that razor-edged blade – aimed at the vital structures of his neck.’
Pictured: Joshua Hanson, 21
‘The way he used the knife was so concealed that it was only one of the doormen who saw or realised what had been done and how.
O’Brien then eyeballed Mr Hanson before walking ‘calmly out of the bar as if nothing had happened,’ the court heard.
‘He looked to see the damage he had done.
‘He then turned on his heel and walked purposefully towards the front door of the bar, using both hands to both secret and close the knife as he did so.
‘The defendant then walked calmly out of the bar as if nothing had happened,’ Mr Heywood said.
‘What he left behind was not just really serious harm and chaotic reaction; it was in fact lethal injury.
‘The deliberately inflicted, catastrophic effect of his blow was such that no amount of intervention was likely to succeed in saving Josh Hanson’s life.’
Mr Hanson’s sister Brooke (left) and mother Tracey (right) are pictured outside the Old Bailey
Father-of-two O’Brien, of no fixed address, denies murder.
He said O’Brien, of no fixed abode, accepted bringing the knife to the bar and using it ‘to cause death’ but that he denied being responsible for the ‘fatal harm’ cause.
The QC said: ‘The prosecution says that he did it deliberately, intending to cause at least really serious harm.
‘One of the men was armed with an extremely sharp blade and the other one was not, he was wholly unarmed and that was the deceased.
‘There could be no justification in law for the killing he did. He denies that and says that even the blow was something that he did not mean to happen.’
The now-bearded father-of-two, of no fixed address, denies murder.
The trial, attended by Mr Hanson’s sister Brooke, mother Tracey and several of his friends, continues.