Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd 'may fight extradition' as he maintains innocence

Preparations under way to extradite speedboat killer Jack Shepherd from Georgia

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Efforts to "swiftly" extradite fugitive Jack Shepherd are under way after he finally handed himself in to police in Georgia.

The 31-year-old surrendered at a police station in the nation's capital of Tbilisi on Wednesday - six months after he was convicted of killing 24-year-old Charlotte Brown during a speedboat date on the Thames.

The web designer was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence and sentenced to six years in prison in his absence, although he was controversially granted leave to appeal in December.

Ms Brown's family said they were overwhelmed with emotion after it emerged Shepherd had surrendered and her father said it was time for him to "atone" for his actions.

Sky News' crime correspondent Martin Brunt told, speaking from Tbilisi, told Julia Hartley-Brewer: He handed himself in yesterday voluntarily.

"Perhaps there was an assumption he would not fight extradition, but I’ve just spoken to one of the Georgian lawyers he’s hired and she said it’s by no means clear that he’ll agree to be extradited.

"He told her he’s innocent, that Charlotte Brown died of nothing but an accident. He wants her to represent him in court. She thinks he may resist extradition." 

 

'See justice done'

Charlotte Brown. Image: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

On Wednesday night the Crown Prosecution Service was preparing an extradition request to be lodged with Georgian legal authorities.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said it is "vital Charlotte Brown's family see justice done" and UK law enforcement will "seek to swiftly extradite him to Britain".

Scotland Yard, the force leading the investigation, said officers had been updated by the National Crime Agency on the development and are awaiting confirmation of Shepherd's identity.

The Metropolitan Police added that once identity was secured extradition proceedings "will begin immediately" against Shepherd, originally from Exeter, who was the subject of an international arrest warrant.

Under Georgian law, prosecutors are required to apply for restriction measures for a person wanted in another country within 48 hours of them being arrested.

Speaking to the Press Association, Shepherd's lawyer, Tariel Kakabadze, said he may go before a court in Tbilisi on Thursday or Friday, but suggested it may be "some time" before he returns to the UK.

"Extradition doesn't happen in one or two days. All the documents will need to be translated, many things will need to be made ready," he said.

"Depending on what evidence they show us... it might be very soon or it might be several months."

 

'A crass, reckless man'

Charlotte Brown's father Graham Brown gives a statement to media. Image: Getty

Ms Brown's family had reiterated their calls for the 31-year-old to hand himself in after he fled justice ahead of his trial at the Old Bailey.

On Wednesday a heavily-bearded Shepherd smiled as he walked into the station some 2,000 miles away while flanked by lawyers.

He vowed to local reporters he would clear his name over the "tragic accident".

Ms Brown's father, Graham Brown, celebrated the "overwhelming" development, writing on Facebook: "Justice for Charlotte is close!"

"My opinions towards Jack Shepherd is that he's a very crass, reckless man, who managed to abscond and stick two fingers up at the judiciary," Mr Brown told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"He's got to come back to atone for all that and I think that he's done the right thing and thank goodness he's realised that now and handed himself in."

Ms Brown, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, died in December 2015 when Shepherd's boat flipped into the wintry waters of the River Thames in London after they shared a champagne-fuelled first date.