- Video report by ITV News social affairs editor Penny Marshall
Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd has been sentenced to an additional six months for skipping bail while awaiting sentencing for the manslaughter of Charlotte Brown.
The 31-year-old was wanted over the death of Ms Brown, who died during a late-night speedboat ride down the River Thames, but the defendant spent 10 months on the run in Georgia before being flown back to Britain last night.
The web developer, who was sentenced to six years in absence for the death of Ms Brown, will serve the six months consecutively on top of his previous conviction.
Speaking outside the Old Bailey this morning, Ms Brown's sister, Katie, and her father Graham spoke of their "relief" that Shepherd was finally facing justice in the UK.
Ms Brown's tearful sister Katie said: "As a family we are relieved that Jack Shepherd is now back in the country and commencing his prison sentence. It's a step closer to justice for Charlie.
"Shepherd has continued to prolong our agony, making wild accusations against our family."
Her father, Mr Brown, thanked the police, the Georgian authorities and the press following the hearing.
He added: "Due to Shepherd's recklessness and negligence, Charlotte isn't here to defend herself.
"There is a sense of relief, finally, that we are going to get some justice for Charlotte.
"To us he has shown no remorse and he hasn't taken any responsibility for the dreadful actions he caused that night. Charlotte would still be here today if wasn't for Shepherd."
The web developer came face-to-face with Ms Brown's family but Shepherd, flanked by two guards, did not make eye-contact with his victim's parents in court.
During today's trial, Judge Richard Marks QC suggested Shepherd only handed himself into authorities in Georgia as he knew the "net was closing in".
Shepherd's lawyer, Andrew McGee, said his client was "ashamed" of failing to attend his trial and now recognised it was "cowardly".
Mr McGee added: "It was motivated entirely by a fear of the possible outcome of proceedings.
"He was terrified by the prospect of a prison sentence and he remains terrified by that prospect.
"It was not deliberately callous or cavalier. It was not cynical or calculated."
The lawyer said the defendant had "ultimately chosen to acquiesce to extradition" against legal advice in Georgia and said the judge should take note of his guilty plea on Thursday.
Ordering him to serve a further six months on top of his six-year sentence for manslaughter, Judge Marks said: "Your conduct in absenting yourself from justice for so long was as cowardly as it was selfish."
The court heard Shepherd travelled to Georgia in March 2018 and was in phone contact with his lawyers on May 14.
McGee, who acknowledged the "upset to the Brown family", admitted Shepherd had received daily transcripts of the evidence in his trial while he was absent.
Judge Marks said: "A serious and highly unusual feature of the case was the fact that, although your lawyers were unaware of your whereabouts, you have provided them with a means of communicating with you, although I was not told of the mechanism as to how this worked.
"The effect of this was, as I gleaned during the trial, that notes of the entirety of the evidence were being sent to you on a frequent basis via the internet were received from you about certain aspects of the case.
"In other words, you were in effect having your cake and eating it. This is not how our system of justice is intended to operate."
Shepherd was wanted over the death of Charlotte Brown, 24, during a ride down the River Thames in December 2015.
Angela Deal, head of extradition at the CPS said: "Jack Shepherd has returned to the UK to face justice following close co-operation between the CPS extradition unit, UK colleagues and the Georgian authorities, to ensure a successful extradition.
"He will first appear at the Old Bailey to be sentenced for the gross negligence manslaughter conviction in connection with the death of Charlotte Brown, and then at a later date in the South West over the grievous bodily harm charge."
Home Secretary Sajid Javid thanked Georgian authorities after Shepherd arrived back in the UK.
He said: "My thanks to the Georgian authorities for their assistance in extraditing Jack Shepherd to the UK. Charlotte Brown's family have endured immeasurable pain & are now one step closer to getting the justice they deserve."
During his original trial, the jury was told Shepherd's 14ft Fletcher Arrowflyte, which had a series of defects, was speeding when it was thought to have struck the submerged log near Wandsworth Bridge and overturned, throwing Ms Brown to her death in the water.
His return to the UK follows a ruling in December which granted him permission to appeal against the conviction, leading to him handing himself in to authorities in the Georgian capital the following month.
His surrender came after repeated public appeals by Ms Brown’s family for him to face justice for her death.
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
- 9 January, 2019: Lawyer says he is in contact with Shepherd but will not reveal his location
- 23 January, 2019: Shepherd arrested in Georgia
- 25 January, 2019: Shepherd detained in Georgia for three months as his lawyers say he will fight his extradition
- 24 March, 2019: Lawyer confirms Shepherd will return to the UK
- 10 April, 2019: Shepherd returns to the UK ahead of court appearance