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  1. ITV Report

Jack Shepherd's lawyer says fugitive killer may fight extradition and warns of 'danger to him in UK'

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers

The lawyer of fugitive speedboat killer Jack Shepherd has said his client may fight his extradition from Georgia as he warned of a "danger to him in the UK".

British authorities are bidding to "swiftly" extradite the 31-year-old Shepherd, who attempted to justify his decision to flee his trial to a TV crew, after he surrendered to authorities in Tbilisi.

He had been on the run since last summer after he was sentenced to six years imprisonment for the manslaughter of Charlotte Brown by gross negligence, in his absence.

The Metropolitan Police said once identity was secured extradition proceedings “will begin immediately” against Shepherd.

But Tariel Kakabadze, Shepherd's lawyer in Georgia, suggested it may be “some time” before his client - who was the subject of an international arrest warrant - returns to the UK.

How did Shepherd attempt to explain his decision to run?

Speaking to Georgian television on Wednesday evening, Jack Shepherd said he fled his trial in fear.

Shepherd, who had grown a bushy beard in the months since he fled the UK, stopped to talk to reporters on his way in.

"I hope the truth will be discovered, my appeal will end successfully and everyone can move on," he said.

Shepherd said he is worried about going to prison in England, due to victim Charlotte's father Graham Brown's role working for the Prison Service.

He also claimed he had spoken to Mr Brown on the phone.

How have the Brown family reacted?

Mr Brown denied a phone conversation had taken place.

He told ITV News he believes Shepherd handed himself into the authorities out of "self-interest" rather than any feeling of guilt, adding that he had never shown any remorse for his actions.

"He [Shepherd] is motivated by self-interest clearly. I don't think he has the slightest remorse or empathy with our family," he said.

Mr Brown earlier broken down on ITV's Good Morning Britain as he paid tribute to his "most beautiful" daughter.

Ms Brown, 24, was killed after the speedboat Shepherd had bought to "pull women" flipped into the icy waters of the River Thames during their first in December 2015.

"At last we're getting closer to justice for my daughter," he said, adding that Shepherd gave up his right to hear his defence when he didn't appear at his trial.

He said Shepherd's disappearance left an "emptiness" for the family and said news of his surrender was "welcoming and heartening" for the family.

Are Georgian police cooperating with the extradition?

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers, reporting from Tbilisi, said Georgian police had suggested the process of extraditing the 31-year-old back to the UK - who is believed to have been in Georgia since March 2018 - could take up to two months.

He also said a police source admitted officers didn't know who Shepherd was when he first arrived at the station, and resorted to Googling his name to find out more.

The former web-designer was said to be laughing and joking with officers as he was processed after handing himself in.

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

How are Shepherd's lawyers justifying the extradition delay?

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.

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 his client returns to the UK, adding that Shepherd might appeal the extradition.

"We just need to study the case documents and I need to discuss it with my client before making the final decision about it," Mr Kakabadze said.

"As a lawyer I have to agree each step with my client.

"If the extradition happens, it is important to make sure there will not be a danger to him in the UK.

"If I get assurances that his extradition is not dangerous, we might not disagree with extradition. Each step will be decided after we carefully study all the possibilities and options."

Timeline of events in the Jack Shepherd case

  • 8 December, 2015: Charlotte Brown killed in speedboat date
  • 2 July, 2018: Trial starts in Shepherd's absence
  • 26 July, 2018: Shepherd found guilty of manslaughter; it is reported that defendant did not attend trial after skipping bail and is in hiding
  • 27 July, 2018: Shepherd sentenced to six years in jail
  • 30 August, 2018: Shepherd launches an appeal against conviction remotely
  • January 9, 2019: Lawyer says he is in contact with Shepherd but will not reveal his location
  • January 23, 2019: Shepherd arrested in Georgia

What was the reaction to Shepherd handing himself in?

Prior to Shepherd's surrender in Georgia, Ms Brown's family met Home Secretary Sajid Javid to seek assurances on Tuesday that everything possible is being done to bring on-the-run Shepherd to justice.

Mr Javid tweeted on Wednesday: "I welcome the 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."

Ms Brown's family was joined by their local MP James Brokenshire and Home Secretary Sajid David on Tuesday. Credit: ITV News

James Brokenshire, their local MP, has welcomed the development.

“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 for them", he added.

Jack Shepherd's boat capsized in the Thames after hitting a log. Credit: Metropolitan Police

There was outrage earlier this month when reports suggested that Shepherd had received up to £100,000 in legal aid.

His solicitor in the UK - Richard Egan - previously told ITV News he had "no idea" where Shepherd is.

"There's been a lot of misinformation about costs in relation to the appeal," he said on January 9.

"We will not get a single penny for appealing Mr Jack Shepherd's case."

Mr Egan added: "The only funding will be for the barrister who attends the appeal and makes submissions on his behalf. He will be paid for his time to do that."

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, who was the subject of an international arrest warrant.

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