Efforts begin to extradite 'speedboat killer'
24 January 2019, 06:23 | Updated: 24 January 2019, 06:33
Efforts to "swiftly" extradite a man convicted of killing a woman from Clacton-on-Sea in a speedboat crash in London are under way after he finally handed himself in to police in Georgia.
Fugitive Jack Shepherd, 31, 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.
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."
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!"
Ms Brown 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.
The family of Ms Brown, known to loved ones as Charli, ramped up pressure in recent weeks and renewed their calls for Shepherd to surrender after they met with Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday.
A day later Shepherd - wearing a long coat, jeans and a checked scarf - waved and smiled as he walked into the station from a black car, footage on Georgian television station Rustavi2 showed.
Speaking to journalists, he said: "Yes, my name is Jack Shepherd. I was involved in a tragic accident... in which a lady called Charlotte Brown tragically died."
Billed by the network as an "exclusive interview", Shepherd added he hopes "justice will be done" with his pending appeal against the conviction.
He continued to say he hopes "I can just", before pausing to correct himself and add, "everybody can move forward with their lives".
The family's MP, James Brokenshire, said Shepherd's "wanton and selfish actions" had heaped further strain on the family "at a time of unimaginable grief".
While Shepherd was on the run, his lawyers have been working to appeal against the conviction.
Shepherd's UK solicitor Richard Egan said: "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."