Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 June 2019

Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd jailed after fleeing UK

Jack Shepherd spent 10 months in hiding in Georgia and had an extra six months added to his sentence for absconding

Jack Shepherd fled the UK last year after killing Charlotte Brown on a first date on the River Thames in London and was sentenced to six years in jail for manslaughter in July. MEDI TV/via REUTERS
Jack Shepherd fled the UK last year after killing Charlotte Brown on a first date on the River Thames in London and was sentenced to six years in jail for manslaughter in July. MEDI TV/via REUTERS

A British man who killed a woman in a speed boat crash has been jailed for an extra six months for fleeing the country.

Jack Shepherd fled the UK last year after killing Charlotte Brown on a first date on the River Thames in London and was sentenced to six years in jail for manslaughter in July.

Shepherd fled to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, where he went into hiding for 10 months.

The 31-year old web developer admitted breaching bail and absconding in front of the Old Bailey in London for the first time since he ran away.

The court heard that he fled to Georgia in March 2018 and was in contact with lawyers on May 14.

At the Old Bailey, Shepherd did not make eye contact with Brown’s parents following his extradition from Georgia.

Judge Richard Marks QC said: "Charlotte's family were, of course, devastated by the circumstances by which she met her death, and those feelings were greatly exacerbated by the fact you chose to go on the run.

"Your conduct in absenting yourself from justice for so long was as cowardly as it was selfish.”

Mr Marks suggested Shepherd had only handed himself in when the “net was closing in”, but his lawyer, Andrew McGee denied this.

Addressing Mr McGee, the judge said: “It was widely publicised your client was understood to be in Georgia and against that background it does seem to me this is not a case of somebody who entirely off his own bat has thought better of his situation and decided to surrender rather that this was somebody who realised the net was closing in and that was the background in which he surrendered.”

In a statement read outside of court, Brown’s family said: “As a family, we are relieved that Shepherd is now back in the country and commencing his prison sentence. It is a step closer to justice for Charli.

“Shepherd has continued to prolong our agony, making wild accusations against our family and the events of the fateful night in December 2015, which are inconsistent to Shepherd's own police interview and testimonies given during the manslaughter trial."

Shepherd claimed Brown took control of his boat before crashing it, which the family said was an account contradictory to eyewitness testimony.

“During his time on the run in Georgia, both he and his legal team have stated various versions of events and accusations that are simply untrue, and due to the reckless and negligent actions of Shepherd, isn't here to defend herself," Brown's family said, adding that Shepherd had not shown any remorse or accountability for his actions.

“We hope that Shepherd's appeal against his conviction will be dismissed and, as a family, we can continue to fight for a change in the laws on our waterways."

Shepherd arrived at London’s Gatwick Airport last night accompanied by Metropolitan Police officers ahead of his court appearance on Thursday.

He handed himself into the police in January and was jailed for three months in the Tbilisi while his extradition was arranged by the British and Georgian authorities.

Speaking to the BBC in Georgia before he left for the UK, Shepherd said he ran away out of “animalistic fear”.

"I am terribly sorry for my involvement in Charlotte's death and subsequent actions which have made things worse and I'd like to make amends for that,” he said.

"I ran for fear. It wasn't premeditated, it was just a case of being driven by an animalistic fear and jumping on a plane with not much of a plan."

Updated: April 11, 2019 05:11 PM

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