CPS refutes speedboat killer’s claim that victim’s father forced charges

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Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd’s claim that his victim’s father wielded “leverage” to force charges to be brought against him has been rebutted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The web designer surrendered to police in Georgia on Wednesday after months on the run from justice following his conviction for killing 24-year-old Charlotte Brown when his boat crashed in the River Thames.

Shepherd told a television station at a Tbilisi police base that he fled because he feared the “power within the prison system” held by Ms Brown’s father, Graham Brown.

Jack Shepherd talks to journalists as he hands himself in at a police station in the Georgian capital Tbilisi (Rustavi2/AP)

But a CPS spokesman said on Thursday: “It is not accurate that we ever made a decision not to charge Mr Shepherd.

“As with all our cases, we review all available evidence once it has been submitted by the police and make decisions in line with CPS guidelines.

“In particularly complex cases, it is not unusual to instruct Queen’s Counsel to provide advice.”

Shepherd is expected to appear in a Tbilisi court on Friday, but his lawyer warned he may fight the CPS as it pursues an attempt to extradite him to the UK.

Originally from Exeter, Shepherd surrendered six months after an Old Bailey jury convicted him of manslaughter by gross negligence and he was sentenced to six years in prison in his absence.

Jack Shepherd case
Charlotte Brown’s father Graham Brown, sister Katie and mother Roz Wickens (Yui Mok/PA)

On Wednesday, a heavily-bearded Shepherd smiled and waved as he walked into the Georgian police station flanked by lawyers and gave an “exclusive interview” to Rustavi2.

He claimed Mr Brown is “a civil servant of some influence” and that he “felt at risk from him and his power within the prison system, and that’s the reason I ran away from the trial”.

He said: “The CPS initially decided not to prosecute, he appealed this, he was able to leverage his power in the system to get a QC appointed to oversee the whole process, which is very unusual.”

He also claimed he told rescuers to “Leave me in the water and help her, please”, while he nearly drowned.

Shepherd also reportedly said “it’s an established fact that Charlotte was driving at the time of the accident”.

The CPS replied: “It was never our case that Mr Shepherd was driving the boat at the time of the collision but witness evidence confirmed it was being driven with speed.”

Mr Brown could not be contacted for comment on Shepherd’s “leverage” claims, but had earlier told the BBC the fugitive is “a very crass, reckless man, who managed to abscond and stick two fingers up at the judiciary”.

Jack Shepherd case
Charlotte Brown was killed during a speedboat date on the River Thames with Jack Shepherd (Metropolitan Police/PA)

She added: “He seems to be concerned about his own feelings and how he’s felt throughout the whole thing, and has had no empathy or remorse for his reckless actions.”

While Shepherd was on the run, his lawyers have been working to appeal against the conviction.

Cabinet ministers were among those celebrating his surrender, and Theresa May’s official spokesman said the Prime Minister “welcomes the news that he is now in custody”.

He added: “The Government will now work alongside the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that extradition proceedings are expedited.”

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.

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