Thu, 25 Apr 2019

TBILISI -- A British man dubbed the 'speedboat killer' after a manslaughter conviction in London has agreed to be extradited to the United Kingdom from Georgia, where he fled last year ahead of his trial.

Jack Shepherd attended a March 26 court hearing in Tbilisi at which it was decided that he will return to Britain, where he plans appeal his conviction and six-year prison sentence over the death of 24-year-old Charlotte Brown.

Brown died in a speedboat crash on the River Thames in December 2015 while on a first date with Shepherd, whom she had met online.

The extradition order is based on the manslaughter conviction and an assault charge relating to an incident in March 2018 in which Shepherd, 31, is accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Shepherd disappeared shortly before his trial later in 2018 and turned up in Georgia, where he was jailed after he handed himself in to police following 10 months on the run -- mostly in hiding in Tbilisi.

In footage from the court, Shepherd said he felt 'depressed suicidally' for some time after Brown's death and that he was 'sorry for the...suffering' endured by her relatives.

He said that he decided to seek closure following what he called the 'horrible accident' by returning to Britain and appealing his conviction on the charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Safety Concerns

Shepherd had previously vowed to fight extradition, claiming his life would be in danger if he had to serve his sentence in Britain.

A lawyer for Shepherd in Georgia, Mariam Kublashvuili, told the court that he had several 'demands' related to concerns about his safety in jail in Britain, including a single-person cell with 24-hour video and audio surveillance.

Judge Arsen Kalatozishvili agreed to Shepherd's extradition.

During their date, authorities say, Shepherd and Brown were thrown from the speedboat when it hit branches in the water at about midnight.

Brown was found in the water unconscious and unresponsive, and Shepherd was clinging to the upturned motorboat.

With reporting by the BBC and The Telegraph

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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