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Jack Shepherd: Speedboat killer loses conviction appeal

Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd has lost an appeal against his conviction for manslaughter.

Jack Shepherd challenged his conviction of manslaughter by gross negligence at the Court of Appeal
Jack Shepherd challenged his conviction of manslaughter by gross negligence at the Court of Appeal

Shepherd was jailed for six years after Charlotte Brown died when she was thrown from his boat when it capsized on the River Thames in 2015.

The 31-year-old, originally from Exeter, challenged his conviction for manslaughter by gross negligence at the Court of Appeal.

But the appeal was dismissed by Sir Brian Leveson on Thursday.

Shepherd’s lawyers had argued the conviction was unsafe, claiming some evidence at his trial came from an interview in which he was not cautioned or offered a solicitor.

Giving his decision, Sir Brian said: “When granting leave (to appeal), the single judge made the point that the appellant should not be over-optimistic as to the outcome.

“That warning was prescient. The appeal against conviction is dismissed.”

Shepherd went on the run ahead of his trial at the Old Bailey and was convicted in his absence in July 2018.

He was discovered to be in the Georgian capital Tbilisi and was extradited to the UK after handing himself in in January.

The trial last year was told that Shepherd and 24-year-old Ms Brown, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, had been out drinking and went on a late-night boat trip on the Thames.

He handed the controls of his boat to Ms Brown moments before the vessel struck a submerged tree and overturned, jurors were told.

Shepherd was plucked from the Thames alive, but Ms Brown was found unconscious and unresponsive.

After his extradition, Shepherd was also sentenced to an additional six months in jail for breaching bail.

But the Court of Appeal quashed that conviction and sentence during the hearing earlier.

However, judges warned Shepherd he could face further proceedings in connection to his “egregious breach”.

Ms Brown’s twin sister said Shepherd had caused her family further anguish and pain while he “lived a normal life” when he absconded.

“Shepherd hasn’t once shown any remorse or respect to our family, or to the legal system, or to even Charlie,” Katie Brown said.

Ms Brown’s father Graham said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had indicated it would bring further proceedings against Shepherd for the bail breach.

He added: “It does seem bizarre to the layman that [Shepherd] has been able to abscond to Georgia without consequence.”

A CPS spokesman said Georgian authorities “did not specifically consent to Shepherd being dealt with for the Bail Act offence” and it was now “considering our options”.

Shepherd was jailed for a further four years at Exeter Crown Court earlier this month after he admitted wounding with intent in relation to a drink-fuelled attack on a barman.

The court heard he struck former soldier David Beech with a vodka bottle on 16 March 2018 after being asked to leave The White Hart Hotel in Newton Abbot, Devon. BBC News