Speedboat killer: Jack Shepherd to stay in Georgian prison

Jack Shepherd
Image caption Jack Shepherd appeared at Tbilisi City Court earlier

A man convicted of killing his date in a speedboat crash on the River Thames will be held in a Georgian jail for three months, a judge has ruled.

Jack Shepherd’s defence team did not challenge the decision to keep him detained before an extradition hearing.

He was in hiding in Georgia throughout his trial in the UK for the manslaughter of Charlotte Brown.

British Prime Minister Theresa May “welcomes the news that he is now in custody”.

One of Shepherd’s defence lawyers told Tbilisi City Court on Friday he should not be extradited because he was warned in a phone call his life might be in danger if he goes to a UK jail.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service said it was “doing everything it can to help make sure Jack Shepherd faces justice through the proper legal channels”.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Charlotte Brown, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, died after plunging into the icy waters of the River Thames in December 2015

Shepherd told the court he had been working in Georgia, and he greatly regretted going out on the speedboat, adding the accident had left him depressed and suicidal.

The 31-year-old had been in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi since March, but he handed himself into police on Wednesday.

Shepherd told the court: “Not a single day passes when I don’t think about the passing of Charlotte’s life and the effect on her family.”

He also said he regretted not being at his UK trial.

“I wish I’d sat down with Charlotte’s family to explain,” he said.

The court also heard that Shepherd had alcohol dependency and wanted to conduct the appeal against his conviction from Georgia.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Shepherd’s boat was found to have several defects

Shepherd met Ms Brown online and they went on a date on 8 December. Later in the evening he invited her on a speedboat he claimed he owned.

The pair were thrown from the boat when it hit branches in the water near Wandsworth Bridge at about midnight. Ms Brown, from Clacton in Essex, was pulled from the water unconscious and unresponsive.

A post-mortem examination found she died from cold water immersion.

Shepherd made his first appearance at the Old Bailey on 26 January 2018, when he entered a not guilty plea to a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.

He was released on unconditional bail by Judge Richard Marks QC, but failed to show up for his trial and was sentenced to six years in July.

Despite being on the run, Shepherd had won the right to appeal against his conviction.

Image copyright Rustavi2
Image caption Shepherd on Wednesday gave an interview to Georgian media proclaiming his innocence

Mrs May “welcomes the news that he is now in custody”, her official spokesman said.

“The government will now work alongside the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that extradition proceedings are expedited,” he added.

Shepherd’s defence team did not challenge the ruling that he should be kept in custody while his extradition was pending.

His lawyer in Georgia, Tariel Kakabadze, said: “It’s Jack Shepherd’s decision not to fight for release on today’s court session.”

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, who told the BBC her client had been earning money making websites while in Georgia.

Meanwhile, it emerged that Shepherd also faces a charge of GBH with intent following an alleged assault on 16 March 2018 in Moretonhampstead in Devon.

Shepherd “was due to have his first appearance in June 2018 but did not turn up and a warrant is live relating to this incident,” a spokeswoman for the CPS said.

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