Jack Shepherd: who is the captured ‘speedboat killer’?
The fugitive surrendered to police in Georgia six months after being convicted over fatal crash
A British fugitive found guilty of killing a woman in a speedboat crash may fight his extradition to Britain, his lawyer has said.
Torquay-born web designer Jack Shepherd, 31, handed himself in yesterday at a police station in Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet state of Georgia. He fled the UK last March, and four months later was convicted of manslaughter in his absence over the death of Charlotte Brown, 24, who died after the boat crashed on the River Thames during their first date.
Shepherd was sentenced to six months in prison, but according to the London Evening Standard, he “smiled as he walked into the station some 2,000 miles away while flanked by lawyers”, and told reporters he intended to clear his name.
The Crown Prosecution Service has said it is drafting an extradition request to bring Shepherd back to the UK. The Metropolitan Police added that proceedings “will begin immediately” once his identity has been confirmed.
However, his lawyer, Tariel Kakabadze, told Sky News that his client believes he is innocent and is considering contesting the extradition efforts.
“Many people have opinions which are not based on facts. Every person who is blamed of a crime has the right to efficient and good legal help,” said Kakabadze, who added that Shepherd thinks it is wrong to criticise someone for “trying to protect himself”.
What happened to Charlotte Brown?
After meeting on the dating website OkCupid, Shepherd and Brown went on a date on 8 December 2015.
Shepherd “spent £150 on wine and food at a restaurant in The Shard before taking Brown on a speedboat he claimed he owned”, says the BBC.
The pair were thrown from the boat after it hit branches in the water near Wandsworth Bridge close to midnight. During Shepherd’s trial at the Old Bailey in July, the court heard the boat flipped over after he gave Brown the controls, reports The Daily Telegraph.
She was recovered from the water unconscious and unresponsive and later died. Shepherd was found clinging to the upturned hull by rescuers.
He was not charged with causing Brown’s death until September 2017, following a campaign by her family.
Three months later, he was released on unconditional bail pending a trial, but absconded “just days after being charged with GBH following an incident in which he allegedly knocked a barman unconscious with a vodka bottle in a pub while ‘blind drunk’”, says the newspaper.
He subsequently failed to appear at a hearing for that case and then also missed his trial over Brown’s death, where he was found guilty.
Yesterday Shepherd told Georgian television that the death was a “tragic accident”.
“The boat had faults, but experts invited by my defence established that these faults developed when the boat was removed from the water,” he said.
“Charlotte was driving the boat when the accident happened but, unfortunately, this fact was forgotten and the media did not mention it either.”
Speaking to the BBC, Brown’s sister Katie said that he had shown “unbelievable arrogance” in his comments and that her family felt “increasingly angry”.
Brown’s father, Graham, added: “My opinion towards Jack Shepherd is that he’s a very crass, reckless man, who managed to abscond and stick two fingers up at the judiciary.”