'Crass and arrogant' speedboat killer Jack Shepherd arrested in Georgia

23 January 2019, 16:33 | Updated: 23 January 2019, 21:06

Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd has been called "crass and arrogant" by his victim's father after the fugitive handed himself in to police in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

Mr Shepherd, from Exeter, appeared to smile at TV cameras as he entered the police station in the European country's capital Tbilisi.

He told the Georgian television station Rustavi2: "Yes my name is Jack Shepherd, I was involved in a tragic accident... in which a lady called Charlotte Brown tragically died."

Ms Brown, 24, was killed when Shepherd's speedboat overturned in the River Thames during a first date in December 2015.

Her father, Graham Brown, told Sky News: "He comes across as crass and arrogant with a disregard for the rules and doing the right thing.

"He still has not accepted that he is responsible for the death of my daughter."

Shepherd was sentenced to six years in prison after he was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter in July 2018.

He denied the charge but was convicted in his absence.

An international manhunt started last year after he fled before the start of his three-week Old Bailey trial.

There had been reported sightings of Shepherd in Thailand and Turkey before he handed himself in to police on Wednesday.

Mr Brown was told by police at 4pm that Shepherd was in custody in Georgia.

He continued: "It was such an overwhelming sense of relief.

"I cried.

"It's been such a journey these last three years, we've been through every emotion possible."

Mr Brown added: "You don't get closure when you're a parent who has lost your loved one.

"I think what you do get though is a sense of being able to deal with it better."

Mariam Kublashvili, Shepherd's legal representative in Georgia, told Sky News the 31-year-old is "ready" to prove that he is innocent.

Ms Kublashvili said he will be held for 48 hours before a judge will rule with regards to the extradition process.

She added: "Mr Shepherd says that he is not guilty.

"He says that this was an accident and that he lost confidence in his lawyer before the UK trial.

"He has friends in Georgia, that is why he came here and then decided to stay because of the false information that was being said about him in the media."

The Metropolitan Police has said "extradition proceedings" will begin immediately if the man in Tbilisi is confirmed to be Shepherd.

The force said: "We have received information from the National Crime Agency that Jack Shepherd, who is wanted on an international arrest warrant, is in the custody of police in Georgia.

"His identity has yet to be officially confirmed."

Sopho Mdinaradze, a spokeswoman for Georgia's interior ministry, said: "I confirm that Jack Shepherd handed himself to Georgian police today, 30 minutes ago."

She added that he "will be detained and afterwards legal procedures will be launched into his extradition to the UK".

Georgian law states that extradition is granted over convicted individuals if they have been sentenced to at least four months' imprisonment.

Shepherd was trying to impress Ms Brown after they met on the dating site OkCupid, but the boat flipped over after he handed her the controls.

Ms Brown, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, was recovered from the water unconscious.

Shepherd was rescued after being found clinging to the upturned hull.

He has handed himself in a day after Ms Brown's father, mother and sister met with the home secretary.

Sajid Javid made a "personal commitment" to ensure the fugitive was arrested.

The family had wanted to know what could be done to gain digital forensic evidence from Shepherd's contact with his lawyer, as they believe this could have help pinpoint his location.

Mr Brown told reporters afterwards: "Our message is clear - there can be no hiding place for Jack Shepherd."

He added: "The family will not rest until justice is done and Shepherd is held to account for the loss of our beautiful daughter."

The family's local MP James Brokenshire said: "Shepherd's wanton and selfish actions have placed additional strain on the family at a time of unimaginable grief.

"In contrast, the family's dignity, composure and incredible resolve in such circumstances has been extraordinary.

"Nothing can take away their loss, but I hope this may now offer some sense of justice."

Mr Javid tweeted after news of Shepherd's arrest: "I welcome news that Jack Shepherd is in police custody in Georgia.

"We will seek to swiftly extradite him to Britain.

"It is vital Charlotte Brown's family see justice done."

Shepherd's lawyer Richard Egan had refused to reveal where he is and helped him appeal against his conviction while he was on the run.

Mr Egan said after Shepherd's arrest on Wednesday: "In the light of today's developments I don't think it would be appropriate to comment further until Mr Shepherd is back in the jurisdiction."