Smirking speedboat killer Jack Shepherd called himself a victim today as he launched his brazen attempt to avoid being dragged back to the UK by claiming he is ‘suicidally depressed’ and a drunk who could be murdered in a British jail.
Shepherd, 31, caused more upset to his victim’s grieving family by telling a Georgian judge there is ‘no evidence’ he is guilty of causing Charlotte Brown’s death on their first date in 2015.
After he contested Britain’s extradition application on human rights grounds, Judge Roman Khorova remanded him in custody for three months – but it is likely to be at least nine months until the case is finished.
MailOnline can exclusively reveal he will be locked up at Tblisi’s Gldani maximum security prison – nicknamed Georgia’s Abu Ghraib.
It means the fugitive would rather spend his time in a foreign jail notorious for poor conditions and high-profile prisoner abuse cases than face the music in Britain.
Today, amid extraordinary scenes in a Tblisi courtroom, the self-pitying speedboat killer claimed that the British jury that convicted him of manslaughter made a mistake because they didn’t hear his defence – even though he fled to Georgia via Turkey to avoid his Old Bailey trial.
Shepherd, who has spent the past ten months partying, learning to ski and dating new women, said: ‘The decision to go out on the boat is my greatest regret. Not a single day passes when I don’t think about the loss of Charlotte’s life’.
He claimed he has depression, is suicidal and an alcoholic, and said: ‘I wish I’d sat down with Charlotte’s family and explained what happened. I know it’s caused them even more suffering and that’s why I handed myself in to draw to a close this horrible accident and the terrible consequences.’
Smiling killer Shepherd speaks to his lawyer Mariam Kublashvili – who once starred on the Georgian version of Strictly Come Dancing and says her client has ‘every right to fight’ extradition
Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd is in the dock of a Georgian court today as Britain started extradition proceedings and told the judge: ‘I want to tell the truth’
Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd (left today) is paying up to £15,000 to Georgian lawyers to fight extradition to Britain – while still claiming legal aid – after his arrest
Shepherd said he is an alcoholic and depressed who should not face justice in the UK for humanity reasons
Jack Shepherd (right) was convicted of killing 24-year-old Charlotte Brown (left) during a speedboat date on the Thames – he fled before the end of his Old Bailey trial (right)
Shepherd’s new wife told Met he was in Georgia six months ago – so why did it take them so long to act?
Scotland Yard detectives last night faced questions about why they failed to act when Jack Shepherd’s wife told them at least six months ago that he was in Georgia.
When he did not appear for his Old Bailey trial, officers told Charlotte Brown’s family they questioned Shepherd’s wife about his whereabouts and were told he had travelled to the former Soviet republic.
Officials in Georgia’s interior ministry insisted the first they knew of the fugitive was last Monday, when the Metropolitan Police made an official request for help.
It is now known that Shepherd had been hiding in Georgia since March 21 last year after arriving in the capital Tbilisi at 3.31am. But it emerged last night that Scotland Yard did not ask for an international arrest warrant until January 11.
On that date the force contacted the National Crime Agency for the first time about the case and asked it to place a ‘red letter’ alert with Interpol. This means the earliest that Georgia or any other country would have been officially notified about the fugitive would have been that day. Sources say it is highly unlikely that the Scotland Yard officers in the case would have been allowed to go to Georgia to catch Shepherd.
Forces in the UK have to seek permission from the appropriate authorities in other countries before they are allowed to travel for investigative purposes. This can be a lengthy and complicated bureaucratic process, taking many months before the relevant permission is granted.
Even relatively simple requests such as getting criminal records, fingerprints or intelligence from foreign judicial authorities can take a long time with countries outside the European Union.
Last night a Met Police spokesman said officers had been working with the CPS to get on an Interpol red letter since Shepherd’s conviction.
The spokesman added: ‘It is obviously a very complex legal process.’
She refused to say when officers received information that he was in Georgia.
His £15,000 legal team, led by star lawyer and Georgian Strictly Come Dancing contestant Mariam Kublashvili, are helping him block extradition by claiming he had an unfair trial and his human rights have been breached.
Shepherd says he had received a phone call telling him he could be murdered if he goes to a UK jail – meaning he plans to use the European Convention’s ‘humanity’ clause that blocks extradition if a criminal’s life is in danger.
The convict fled to Georgia via Turkey ten months ago and has spent his time on the run learning to ski, hanging out in glitzy bars and clubs and dating new women, despite having a wife back home.
The Foreign Office’s legal team said today he must not be granted bail because there is evidence he ‘will flee again’ with Indonesia or Thailand his planned destination.
Two days after he grinned as he was arrested in Tblisi, the court heard that he had entered the country in March last year after travelling via Turkey.
Shepherd is paying up to £15,000 to Georgian lawyers to fight extradition to Britain – while still claiming legal aid.
The fugitive sparked outrage by taking thousands of pounds in UK taxpayers’ money to fund an appeal against his conviction for manslaughter while on the run.
It has emerged that he is continuing to get legal aid in Britain – while privately paying for two top Georgian lawyers, including a glamorous former model who appeared on Georgia’s version of Strictly.
Today Shepherd is facing Georgian judge Roman Khorova, and first spoke in English to confirm his name, date of birth and that he entered the country in March last year.
His victim Charlotte Brown’s father Graham said last night: ‘He’s a man who has clearly stuck two fingers up to the judiciary and legal system, and has no respect for the law.
‘It sounds like he’s been living his life to the full out in Georgia, while my daughter is dead and he is responsible.’
Among other developments:
– Theresa May praised the Daily Mail’s campaign to bring the killer to justice – and pledged to press for his speedy return to Britain;
– Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s Georgian counterpart, Giorgi Gakharia, promised to do his best ‘to resolve the issue as soon as possible’;
– Shepherd’s local lawyer Mariam Kublashvili – who once starred on the Georgian version of Strictly Come Dancing – suggested he had ‘every right to fight’;
– The killer’s stepmother, Hannelore Shepherd, 78, said she was ‘not happy at all’ about him being ‘blamed for everything’ over Miss Brown’s death;
– It emerged that the fugitive has been skiing, wining and dining women and living it up in nightclubs while on the run.
Jack Shepherd (pictured above) surrendered at a police station in Georgia on Wednesday where he grinned and smirked at the media
Back home Charlotte Brown’s father Graham, sister Katie and mother Roz have said her killer ‘has no respect for the law’
Miss Brown, 24, died when Shepherd’s ageing speedboat flipped on the Thames while he was showing off on their first date in December 2015.
Timeline: How speedboat fugitive killed his date and fled for Georgia
December 8 2015: Jack Shepherd and Charlotte Brown meet for a date where he takes her to the Shard for dinner, before taking a taxi back to Shepherd’s home, a houseboat in Hammersmith, where they took champagne on board his speedboat for their ride past parliament.
March 2018: Shepherd was charged with GBH following an incident in which he allegedly knocked a barman unconscious with a vodka bottle in a pub while ‘blind drunk’. He then failed to appear at a hearing for that case at the Old Bailey regarding Miss Brown’s manslaughter.
July 2018: An international arrest warrant is issued for Shepherd
July 26 2018: Shepherd, despite being absent from court was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence
July 27 2018: Shepherd is sentenced to six years’ imprisonment – Shepherd’s wife is then said to have told police that the 33-year-old had travelled to Georgia.
January 22 2019: Family of Charlotte meet with Savid Javid before making a television appeal for Shepherd to ‘do the right thing’
January 23 2019: Shepherd hands himself in to police in Georgia
He was jailed in his absence for six years for her manslaughter at the Old Bailey last July – but only handed himself in to the authorities in Georgia on Wednesday.
Miss Kublashvili met Shepherd tonight and said afterwards: ‘Everyone knows he is not a killer. But there is a question: we know there was an incident that happened, but who was guilty of this accident? He was not at the wheel.
‘We may request not to extradite Jack Shepherd. We do not have the right documentation yet so we are not quite ready to speak about whether we will or not.’
Shepherd’s other Georgian lawyer, Tariel Kakabadze, added: ‘We just need to study the case documents and I need to discuss it with my client before making the final decision about it.
‘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.’
One of Georgia’s most senior judges said Shepherd’s legal bill for the extradition hearings could reach £15,000.
Levan Meskhoradze, the country’s judge at the European Court of Human Rights, said: ‘Normally, extradition cases are expensive. This is a very complicated case and normally people who are extradited need to have a very well-qualified lawyer in our country. The bill could reach £10,000 or even £15,000.’
Shepherd has so far received £93,000 in British legal aid, which paid for his defence at the Old Bailey trial. He will receive more public money for his legal bill for his forthcoming appeal.
All the money will go to his UK lawyers, and will not be used to fund his extradition case in Georgia.
His victim’s father said: ‘Hearing that Shepherd is paying for his own lawyer in Georgia just makes me ask – how on earth is he entitled to legal aid in Britain?’
Mr Brown, 55, said those in charge of legal aid rules should be making inquiries into how the killer has been able to support himself while on the run for ten months. The civil servant added: ‘Shepherd has got £15,000 for legal fees, living costs on top – clearly he’s got an income from somebody. But he surely hasn’t told the legal aid people about that income, or his new address in Tbilisi – and both of those are a requirement.’
The speedboat (pictured above) owned by Jack Sheperd, who was found guilty of killing Charlotte Brown
Shepherd won the right to appeal his original conviction while on the run under European human rights law. Officials say there was nothing in the legal aid rulebook to stop him. MPs, the current and former Solicitor Generals, and members of the public have demanded action to end the abuse of taxpayers’ money.
Experts fear Shepherd’s Georgian lawyers could use every legal trick in the book to delay or stop him being flown back to Britain.
The killer is due to appear in court this morning in the capital Tbilisi, and has apparently vowed to battle for his freedom.
There is even a slim chance he could be freed on bail today, pending a full extradition hearing, Georgian legal experts said.
Shepherd fled to Georgia after he was allegedly involved in the glassing of a barman in a Devon hotel.
Friends said war hero David Beech remained severely affected after being hit in the face last year at the White Hart Hotel in Dartmoor, Devon.
The senseless attack on Mr Beech was captured on CCTV and immediately reported to Devon and Cornwall Police. Shepherd was arrested and charged with causing grievous bodily harm but went on the run.
The Crown Prosecution Service has promised to ensure that Shepherd goes before a court over the attack. Before being clapped in handcuffs this week, Shepherd gave a breath-taking interview to Georgian TV in which he blamed Miss Brown for her death, claiming she was at the helm of the boat when the accident happened – despite an Old Bailey jury ruling he was responsible as the master of the defective vessel.
The killer tried to justify going on the run with a hurtful broadside at Mr Brown, saying he was scared of his supposed ‘influence’ as a civil servant in the prison service. Mr Brown said yesterday that he was semi-retired, and it was a ridiculous suggestion.
Last night Mrs May’s spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister commends the Daily Mail for its work to highlight this case. It is now essential the judicial process is completed in the UK as soon as possible.’
During a phone call with Mr Javid yesterday, Georgia’s minister of internal affairs Mr Gakharia promised to do his best ‘to resolve the issue as soon as possible’. Scotland Yard said it was aiming to ‘swiftly’ get Shepherd extradited.
But experts said it might not be so simple, and could take weeks even if he does not fight the process.
British extradition lawyer Thomas Gardner, of Gherson Solicitors, said: ‘Were (Shepherd) to consent to his return, he could be back in the UK in a matter of weeks. But in the event that he contests, the matter could take a considerable period of time.’
Revealed: Speedboat killer hires ex-model who appeared in Georgia’s version of Strictly Come Dancing as his defence lawyer
Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd has hired a former model who once appeared on the Georgian version of Strictly Come Dancing as his defence lawyer, it has emerged.
Shepherd, 31, who handed himself in at a police station in the nation’s capital of Tbilisi last night, has secured the services of Mariam Kublashvili, considered a tabloid icon in Georgia.
Ms Kublashvili, believed to be in her 30s, was hired privately by Shepherd, who was apprehended six months after being convicted of killing 24-year-old Charlotte Brown during a speedboat date on the Thames.
On Georgia TV tonight she told how she may block Shepherd’s extradition back to the UK to face justice.
She said: ‘We may request not to extradite Jack Shepherd. We do not have the right documentation yet so we are not quite ready to speak about whether we will or not.’
The lawyer, who once starred in Georgian dance show ‘The Stars Are Dancing’ and appeared in a Martini Royale casting video, has insisted she is not being paid with British legal aid cash. He has, however, qualified for this in the UK with the taxpayer taking care of his appeal costs.
Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd has hired former model Mariam Kublashvili (pictured) who once appeared on the Georgian version of Strictly Come Dancing as his defence lawyer, it has emerged
Shepherd, 31, who handed himself in at a police station in the nation’s capital of Tbilisi last night, has secured the services of Mariam Kublashvili (pictured), considered a tabloid icon in Georgia
Ms Kublashvili, who runs her own law firm, lost her father at the age of five and had a tough life raised by strict mountain traditions, say reports
A local source said Ms Kublashvili thrives on high profile cases, adding: ‘I believe she had a huge interest in taking Shepherd’s case because it is an opportunity for publicity.’
Ms Kublashvili’s most famous case is defending Temirlan Machalikashvili’s family, a man allegedly linked to ISIS and killed by Georgian law enforcement.
Temirlan is from Pankisi Gorge, a place that Ms Kublashvili is connected to as she is ethnically Kist – a Chechen ethnic group in Georgia – from her mother’s side.
The Home Office and Sajid Javid are under pressure to secure Shepherd’s extradition ‘swiftly’ after the 31-year-old handed himself in.
He is due to appear in court either this afternoon or tomorrow and if everything goes smoothly the extradition is likely to take around two months, meaning he would finally be back behind bars in Britain by April.
Ms Kublashvili, who runs her own law firm, lost her father at the age of five and had a tough life raised by strict mountain traditions, say reports.
She was said to be very young when her first husband ran away to America and started a new life with another woman, say reports. Then she started her own law company, and won several tough cases.
She is now married to actor Levan Khurtsia and the couple have a son.
Ms Kublashvili once appeared in a Martini Royale casting video in Ibiza introducing herself as a 27-year-old lawyer.
‘I am lawyer by profession. Established my own company with a big staff which is very successful and I do women’s rights.
‘I want to show the whole world the real way to success, hard work, the value of time.
‘I think that success and luck can be achieved by the person who seeks for necessary possibilities and opportunities. For example, if I don’t find them I create them myself. Luck is not coming from the sky.’
Jack Shepherd (right) was convicted of killing 24-year-old Charlotte Brown (left) during a speedboat date on the Thames
Ms Kublashvili (pictured), who once starred in Georgian dance show ‘The Stars Are Dancing’ and is married to an actor, has insisted she is not being paid with British legal aid cash
Mariam Kublashvili is pictured with another of Shepherd’s lawyers, Tariel Kakabadze
News of the appointment comes as a top barrister warned Shepherd may never return to Britain if Georgia wants to ‘stand up’ to the UK by declining an extradition request.
George Hepburne Scott, a leading British barrister in the extradition field, warned that Shepherd may stay in Georgia ‘indefinitely’ if the country refuses a request from the UK Government to bring him home. Mr Scott said Georgia could easily decline the bid and may want to be seen to be ‘standing up’ to the UK.
This morning Miss Brown’s grieving sister Kate Brown slammed Shepherd for his ‘unbelievable arrogance’, while her father broke down in tears as he admitted there was ‘overwhelming relief’ as the family got a step closer to getting justice for their ‘beautiful’ daughter.
On Wednesday night the Crown Prosecution Service was preparing an extradition request to be lodged with Georgian legal authorities. However one of Shepherd’s lawyers has said it could be ‘months’ before he returns to the UK, despite experts suggesting the UK authorities would want to ‘urgently extradite him’.
It is said that Shepherd, from Exeter, could appear in court on either Thursday or Friday, but it is not clear how long the extradition process could take from there.
The length of the process will depend on both the Georgian authorities and on whether or not Shepherd consents to his return, if he does it could be a matter of weeks.
If he refuses to return to the UK, extradition could take a ‘considerable amount of time’.
Meanwhile, leading barrister Mr Hepburne Scott said: ‘The National Crime Agency will have to make a request of the Georgian State through the extradition treaty between the UK and Georgia.
‘In reality it will be highly political. There have been no extradition requests from Georgia to the UK in the past 10 years, so the UK has nothing Georgia wants in return.
‘Georgia may want to be seen as standing up to the UK and not bowing down to requests from the West. Mr Shepherd has also indicated he would fight extradition, so even if Georgia accepts the request to extradite him and a judge grants it, he can appeal that decision. This could take months and months.
‘Mr Shepherd is also saying that he’s an innocent man who was wrongly convicted.
‘If he’s claiming he has suffered a miscarriage of justice, a Georgian judge could refuse to extradite him on those grounds and he could remain in Georgia indefinitely.
‘But he would likely be confined to the state or other countries who are less UK-friendly such as Russia. He would not be able to live anywhere in the EU or America.’
Ms Kublashvili once appeared in a Martini Royale casting video in Ibiza (right) introducing herself as a 27-year-old lawyer
Jack Shepherd looks a different man having grown a thick beard during his time on the run. He is pictured at the Old Bailey in 2016
The speedboat (pictured above) owned by Jack Sheperd, who was found guilty of killing Charlotte Brown
This is while 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’.
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.
He is said to have fled to Georgia because he has friends there and had stated that ‘there’s a lot going for Georgia’.
When arriving at the station in Georgia, he was seen laughing and joking with officers who then had to Google his name, before understanding that he was a man on the run, ITV News said.
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.
However, speaking to the Press Association, another of Shepherd’s lawyers, 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.’
Charlotte’s sister Kate (right with Charlotte) has slammed Shepherd for his behavior
A spokesman for the Extradition Lawyers Association said: ‘I would imagine it will take an age. Unless he consents to extradition, it will largely depend on political will.
‘There is very little extradition to or from Georgia. It happens very, very seldom and I can’t think of a single case. In terms of how long it would take, I would say it would be a very lengthy process unless the defendant consents to be extradited or he is deported as a result of his visa being revoked.’
Scotland Yard, the force leading the investigation, have now been updated by the National Crime Agency on the development and are awaiting confirmation of Shepherd’s identity and once his identity is secured, the Metropolitan Police have said proceedings ‘will begin immediately’ to extradite Shepherd, who has been 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.
Revealed: Speedboat killer spent his time on the run learning to ski, hanging out in glitzy bars and clubs and dating – as witnesses say he was spotted getting close to a blonde English woman
During his time on the run Jack Shepherd took to the skip slopes of Georgia, taking lessons at one of the former Soviet republic’s most exclusive reports.
‘Since leaving the UK, Jack has been learning to ski,’ said a confidante. ‘Georgia has some fantastic ski slopes and he has been making the most of them.’
Shepherd, 31, is understood to have gone to Gudauri, a resort north of the capital Tbilisi.
Jack Shepherd took to the skip slopes of Georgia, taking lessons at one of the former Soviet republic’s most exclusive reports during his time on the run
Glitzy nightlife: Restaurants and bars in the centre of the Georgian capital where Jack Shepherd had made his home as he fled the British police
While his victim’s family waited for justice, the married father-of-one appears to have treated his time on the run as the holiday of a lifetime and he’s also wasted no time in dating women in Georgia.
He married just two months after the speedboat death of Charlotte Brown in December 2015.
He fled to Georgia in March 2018, after his wife threw him out after discovering he had cheated on her by dating Miss Brown.
Living in the Tbilisi suburb of Bagebi, he rented a flat in a high-rise block in a relatively cheap neighbourhood.
He was seen dining with a blonde English woman at a local restaurant in Bagebi twice, two months ago. The waiter who served them said: ‘They took a booth and spent an hour here. They were speaking in English.’
He would often visit the restaurant where he drank Georgian beer for 3GEL (about £1).
Seeing the sights: The convicted killer has visited the ski resort of Gudauri
The waiter added: ‘He would usually come alone but twice came with a woman. He would come once a week and stop for an hour and eat Georgian food.’
Shepherd would stay for hours as he pondered how to handle the rest of his life after fleeing British justice. ‘He always drank draught Georgian beer,’ said barman Mikhael Gabrichidze. ‘He was in here many, many times and sat in the corner over by the window.’
Another local said: ‘He would also sometimes have something to eat and usually it was a kebab with his beer. He would usually have two or three pints.’
The Gudauri ski resort lies 75 miles from Tbilisi in the Caucasus mountain range. It boasts more than 40 miles of ski runs. One tourist website calls it a must for ‘adrenaline seekers’.
In Tbilisi, Shepherd, who is known to have taken out £50,000 worth of loans before going on the run, shopped in the city’s H&M store and staff recall seeing him as recently as three weeks ago.
Shepherd was also spotted enjoying some of Tbilisi’s most popular nightclubs and bars.
One of his favourite haunts was Bassiani, a controversial techno club populated by young men dressed head to toe in latex.
He is also said to have enjoyed the delights of Fabrika – a former Soviet sewing factory which is now a popular haunt for international travellers and contains cafes, bars, a hostel and a yoga studio.
He also partied into the early hours of the morning at the techno nightclub Bassiani in Tbilisi
However, he may not want to stay if there is a chance he will end up in one of Georgia’s jails. They have a notorious reputation for degrading conditions, beatings, torture and severe overcrowding.
In 2013 a study found 75 per cent of inmates claimed they had been tortured physically. A similar number claimed they had developed health problems behind bars. It is thought there has been some improvement since a change of government that year. But Nick Vamos, of law firm Peters & Peters, and a former head of extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service, said Shepherd might decide not to fight extradition.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘What normally works on the mind of people in his position are the conditions in which they are detained while they are awaiting extradition.
‘I’m reasonably sure the conditions in Georgian prisons will be horrendous. In fact, that’s a reason we have refused to extradite people to Georgia in the past, because we think their prisons breach human rights.’