SPEEDBOAT killer Jack Shepherd has lost a Court of Appeal challenge against his conviction for the manslaughter of 24-year-old Charlotte Brown, from Clacton.

He was jailed for six years over the death of Ms Brown, who was thrown from his boat when it capsized on the River Thames during their first date in December 2015.

The 31-year-old web developer challenged his conviction for manslaughter by gross negligence at the court in London last week.

His lawyers argued the conviction was unsafe because some of the evidence at his trial came from an interview during which he was not cautioned or offered a solicitor because of a "mistake" by police.

But his appeal was dismissed by Sir Brian Leveson and two other senior judges on Thursday.

Sir Brian said: "When granting leave (to appeal), the single judge made the point that the appellant should not be overoptimistic as to the outcome.

"That warning was prescient. The appeal against conviction is dismissed."

Shepherd, originally from Exeter, went on the run ahead of his Old Bailey trial and was convicted in his absence in July 2018.

He was later extradited to the UK from Georgia after handing himself in
to police in the capital Tbilisi in January.

Jurors at Shepherd's trial heard that he and Ms Brown had been drinking champagne and went on a late-night jaunt in his boat past the Houses of Parliament.

Shepherd handed the controls to Ms Brown just before it struck a submerged tree and overturned, tipping both of them into the cold water.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Speedboat -  Charlotte Brown who was thrown from Shepherd's boat when it capsized on the River Thames during their first date

He was plucked from the Thames alive, but Ms Brown was found unconscious and unresponsive.

Following his return from Georgia, Shepherd appeared at the Old Bailey in April and was sentenced to an additional six months for breaching bail.

The Court of Appeal quashed his bail conviction and sentence on Thursday, but said he may face further proceedings in relation to his "egregious breach".

He was jailed for a further four years at Exeter Crown Court earlier this month after he admitted wounding with intent in relation to a drink-fuelled attack on a barman.

The court heard he struck former soldier David Beech with a vodka bottle on March 16 2018 after being asked to leave The White Hart Hotel in Newton Abbot, Devon.

Speaking outside court after the ruling, Charlotte's twin sister Katie Brown said: "We are relieved as a family that Shepherd's appeal against his manslaughter conviction has been thrown out and justice has prevailed.

"My sister Charlie is not here with us today because of Shepherd's negligence and reckless actions.

"He hasn't once shown any remorse or respect to our family, or to the legal system, or to even Charlie."

Katie said the family found it "difficult to accept" that Shepherd's conviction and additional six-month sentence for going on the run had been overturned because of a technicality.

She added: "During the 10 months he spent on the run in Georgia, Shepherd caused our family further anguish and pain whilst he lived a normal life.

"Despite all sense and logic, he appears to have been able to abscond without penalty.

"What deterrent is this to other criminals not to do the same?"

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Extradition - Shepherd was extradited to the UK from Georgia after handing himself into police in the capital Tbilisi in January

Katie​ said the family will campaign to change the laws governing waterways to establish her sister's legacy.

She told reporters: "We hope we can now bring this heartbreaking chapter to a close and fight for a change in our waterways and waterways laws for Charlie's legacy."

Charlotte's father Graham Brown added: "I think the right decision has been made and as a family we are very relieved that the appeal has not been upheld."

He said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) should bring further proceedings against Shepherd for skipping bail and going on the run.

He added: "They have indicated that they are. It does seem bizarre to the layman that (Shepherd) has been able to abscond to Georgia without consequence.

"I think it is very important that that bit is looked at and that people should face consequences for not appearing at their trial."

Mr Brown thanked reporters for their support throughout the trial.