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‘I'm Innocent' Says UK Speedboat Killer After Surrendering to Police in Tbilisi

© AP Photo / Andrew WhittonThe boats travel through the Thames Barrier at sunset as the river plays host to an epic voyage through British music culture at Red Bull Music Odyssey in London, England
The boats travel through the Thames Barrier at sunset as the river plays host to an epic voyage through British music culture at Red Bull Music Odyssey in London, England - Sputnik International
In July last year Jack Shepherd was convicted in absentia of the manslaughter of Charlotte Brown, 24, who was killed when he crashed a speedboat while "showing off" on their first date on the river Thames in London in 2015.

Shepherd, 31, a website designer, fled his home in Exeter in March 2018 and became a fugitive from justice but on Wednesday, 23 January, he suddenly turned up in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, and handed himself in to police.

"I'm confident justice will be done… and that everyone can move forward with their lives," Shepherd told Rustavi-2 television in Tbilisi as he insisted he was innocent of the crime.

He said Charlotte — known to friends and relatives as Charli — was driving the speedboat at the time of the impact and denied he was legally responsible.

But her sister Katie said he had shown "unbelievable arrogance" and said Shepherd had been enjoying himself in nightclubs in Tbilisi while her family was going through the ordeal of the trial.

"I confirm that Jack Shepherd handed himself to Georgian police today," interior ministry spokeswoman Sopho Mdinaradze told AFP on Wednesday. An international arrest warrant had been put out for Shepherd.

Scotland Yard will be seeking his extradition and when he returns to the UK he will begin serving the jail sentence he was given, although he reportedly plans to appeal.

Shepherd said he initially flew to Istanbul in March 2018 and then travelled on to Georgia, where he had remained ever since.

Charli was thrown overboard and drowned in the cold waters of the river Thames in London in December 2015 after the pair drank champagne on Shepherd's speedboat.

Shepherd also fell into the water but survived and in July 2018 he was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence and sentenced to six years in jail.

But he had already gone on the run after skipping bail.

The jury heard he bought the speedboat "to pull women" and after meeting Charli on dating website OKCupid he took her for a meal at The Shard — London's tallest building, with impressive views over the city — and then drove the speedboat past the Houses of Parliament.

The pair had drunk two bottles of wine between them and the boat capsized near Wandsworth Bridge and she was hurled into the water.

Her body was recovered half an hour later but she could not be resuscitated.

The trial heard the 75-horsepower vessel, which had been moored next to Shepherd's houseboat in Hammersmith, had a number of defects.

The jury also heard the speed limit on that stretch of the Thames was 12 knots but Shepherd had been doing 29.9 knots.

The boat — a red Fletcher Arrowflyte GTO — was produced as an exhibit in the car park of the Old Bailey courthouse for the jury to examine during the unique trial.

Shepherd had not offered Miss Brown a lifejacket and they were still tucked away at the front of the boat.

Port authority surveyor Andrew Thomas, who compiled a report on the speedboat, said the kill cord on the boat was poorly maintained and had no attachment.

He also said the steering wheel had a "degree of play", giving it a "good deal of wobble backwards and forwards".

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