Sunday 24 February 2019

Speedboat killer who went on the run after woman died on River Thames 'champagne-laden date' expected in court

Undated handout file video grab issued by the Metropolitan Police of Jack Shepherd, who was found guilty of killing his date, Charlotte Brown, in an accident on the Thames, has surrendered to police in Georgia, a spokesman for the countryÕs embassy in London has said. Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Undated handout file video grab issued by the Metropolitan Police of Jack Shepherd, who was found guilty of killing his date, Charlotte Brown, in an accident on the Thames, has surrendered to police in Georgia, a spokesman for the countryÕs embassy in London has said. Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Undated handout file photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of Charlotte Brown who died after a speedboat crash. Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Undated handout file photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of the speedboat owned by Web designer Jack Shepherd who was found guilty of killing his date, Charlotte Brown, in an accident on the Thames Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
The family of Charlotte Brown, (left to right) father Graham Brown, sister Katie and mother Roz Wicken, who died following a speedboat crash on the River Thames, arrive at Portcullis House, London, to meet the Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Yui Mok/PA Wire
In this grab taken from video provided by RUSTAVI 2, British fugitive Jack Shepherd speaks to the media, at the police station, in Tbilisi , Georgia, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (RUSTAVI 2 via AP)
Jack Shepherd, who went on the run last year after killing a woman in a speedboat crash on the River Thames, is seen escorted inside a police station in Tbilisi, Georgia January 23, 2019 in this still image taken from IMEDI TV footage. IMEDI TV/via REUTERS
Jack Shepherd, who went on the run last year after killing a woman in a speedboat crash on the River Thames, is escorted by police officers in Tbilisi, Georgia January 23, 2019 in this still image taken from IMEDI TV footage. IMEDI TV/via REUTERS
Jack Shepherd, who was found guilty of killing his date, Charlotte Brown, in an accident on the Thames, may fight the extradition process, his lawyer has confirmed, despite handing himself in to police in Georgia.Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The family of Charlotte Brown, father Graham Brown (left) sister Katie (2nd left) and mother Roz Wickens (right), who died following a speedboat crash. Yui Mok/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd is expected to appear in a Georgian court - six months after he was convicted of manslaughter in his absence at the Old Bailey.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is working towards requesting the web designer's extradition back to the UK to face justice over the death of Charlotte Brown after he surrendered to police in Tbilisi.

The 31-year-old is due to be produced at Tbilisi City Court on Friday for a short hearing, during which it is believed Georgian prosecutors will apply to keep him in custody.

Ms Brown, 24, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, died after plunging into the icy waters of the River Thames when Shepherd's boat crashed during a Champagne-laden date in London in December 2015.

Undated handout file photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of Charlotte Brown who died after a speedboat crash. Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Undated handout file photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of Charlotte Brown who died after a speedboat crash. Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

Shepherd, originally from Exeter, went on the run before his trial at the Old Bailey and jurors found him guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence.

He was sentenced to six years imprisonment, but remained at liberty.

Undated handout file photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of the speedboat owned by Web designer Jack Shepherd who was found guilty of killing his date, Charlotte Brown, in an accident on the Thames Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Undated handout file photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of the speedboat owned by Web designer Jack Shepherd who was found guilty of killing his date, Charlotte Brown, in an accident on the Thames Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

That was until Wednesday when, wearing a long beard and a smile, Shepherd walked into a Georgian police station flanked by lawyers and gave an interview proclaiming his innocence.

The CPS said prosecutors are currently "consulting with the authorities in Georgia to progress our extradition request".

Tariel Kakabadze, Shepherd's lawyer in Georgia, said he may still fight his extradition to the UK, where his legal team has been granted leave to appeal his conviction.

Mr Kakabadze said: "It's Jack Shepherd's decision not to fight for release on today's court session."

The family of Charlotte Brown, (left to right) father Graham Brown, sister Katie and mother Roz Wicken, who died following a speedboat crash on the River Thames, arrive at Portcullis House, London, to meet the Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Yui Mok/PA Wire
The family of Charlotte Brown, (left to right) father Graham Brown, sister Katie and mother Roz Wicken, who died following a speedboat crash on the River Thames, arrive at Portcullis House, London, to meet the Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Under Georgian law, he can be detained for up to nine months before extradition, he added.

Shepherd is also being represented by Mariam Kublashvili, a lawyer who reportedly appeared on Georgia's version of Strictly Come Dancing.

In this grab taken from video provided by RUSTAVI 2, British fugitive Jack Shepherd speaks to the media, at the police station, in Tbilisi , Georgia, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (RUSTAVI 2 via AP)
In this grab taken from video provided by RUSTAVI 2, British fugitive Jack Shepherd speaks to the media, at the police station, in Tbilisi , Georgia, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (RUSTAVI 2 via AP)

Prosecutors are required to apply for restriction measures for a person wanted in another country within 48 hours of them being arrested.

Cabinet ministers were among those celebrating his surrender, and Theresa May's official spokesman said the Prime Minister "welcomes the news that he is now in custody".

He added: "The Government will now work alongside the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that extradition proceedings are expedited."

Here is a look back at key events since the tragic night the pair first met.

Jack Shepherd, who went on the run last year after killing a woman in a speedboat crash on the River Thames, is seen escorted inside a police station in Tbilisi, Georgia January 23, 2019 in this still image taken from IMEDI TV footage. IMEDI TV/via REUTERS
Jack Shepherd, who went on the run last year after killing a woman in a speedboat crash on the River Thames, is seen escorted inside a police station in Tbilisi, Georgia January 23, 2019 in this still image taken from IMEDI TV footage. IMEDI TV/via REUTERS

- December 8, 2015 - After connecting on a dating site Ms Brown, a 24-year-old business development consultant from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, and Shepherd, a web designer originally from Exeter, meet in person for the first time. They have dinner at The Shard in central London, drinking two bottles of wine, before returning to Shepherd's Hammersmith houseboat. With a bottle of champagne they set off for a late-night speedboat ride towards Westminster. Police were called to reports of someone in distress near Wandsworth Bridge at around 11.45pm. Both were pulled from the water and Ms Brown died in hospital.

- September 20, 2017 - Shepherd is charged with with manslaughter by gross negligence.

- October 18 - He appears at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court and is released on unconditional bail.

Jack Shepherd, who went on the run last year after killing a woman in a speedboat crash on the River Thames, is escorted by police officers in Tbilisi, Georgia January 23, 2019 in this still image taken from IMEDI TV footage. IMEDI TV/via REUTERS
Jack Shepherd, who went on the run last year after killing a woman in a speedboat crash on the River Thames, is escorted by police officers in Tbilisi, Georgia January 23, 2019 in this still image taken from IMEDI TV footage. IMEDI TV/via REUTERS

- January 26, 2018 - Shepherd pleads not guilty in person at the Old Bailey.

- Mid-May - Shepherd tells his legal team he will not attend the trial.

- June - A week before the trial is due to begin, the Crown Prosecution Service is told Shepherd will not be attending.

- July 3 - His trial opens, but the defendant is not in the dock. Judge Richard Marks QC tells jurors that they must not speculate about the reason for his absence nor "hold his absence against him". Shepherd was represented in court.

- July 9 - In a possible legal first, the speedboat is taken to the Old Bailey for jurors to inspect.

- July 10 - Shepherd is found guilty in his absence. It emerges he has skipped bail, although has been instructing his legal team by phone and has been receiving daily updates.

- July 27 - He is sentenced to six years' imprisonment in his absence and an international manhunt is launched by police.

- August 30 - Still a fugitive from justice, Shepherd launches an appeal against his conviction.

- December 19 - A judge at Court of Appeal gives him leave to challenge the conviction.

- January 7, 2019 - Downing Street expresses concern over the case following reports Shepherd has received £100,000 in legal aid despite being on the run.

- January 22 - Home Secretary Sajid Javid "underlines his personal commitment" to finding Shepherd during a meeting with Ms Brown's family.

- January 23 - Shepherd hands himself in to police in Tiblisi, the capital of Georgia, telling reporters it was a "tragic accident". The Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police launch efforts to have him extradited back to the UK.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News