SPEEDBOAT killer Jack Shepherd has today pleaded guilty to fleeing the UK before he could face justice.
The web developer, convicted over the death of Charlotte Brown, 24, was on the run for nearly a year before being returned to the UK from Georgia last night.
The 31-year-old was arrested and taken into custody at a London police station after touching down at Gatwick Airport at 9.22pm last night.
Today he appeared at the Old Bailey, and admitted breaching bail and absconding before his trial for manslaughter.
Handcuffed Shepherd, 31, was escorted by two Metropolitan Police officers on a flight to Gatwick yesterday.
He said: “There really has been a lot of untruths and lies. In prison I received death threats, my family have received threats; even my lawyer’s home and office are still under protection.”
Charlotte died on a first date with Shepherd during a late-night, drunken jaunt in December 2015 in the speedboat he bought to “pull women”.
The 14ft Fletcher Arrowflyte boat hit an object in the water and both were flipped into the icy River Thames.
The business consultant remained expressionless as he was led aboard the plane.
Wearing an open-neck white shirt, navy blazer and blue jeans, Shepherd was photographed getting into the prison escorted by Georgian officers.
I regret that I did not speak to Charlotte’s parents sooner. I was following legal advice but I wish I’d followed my heart and spoken to them.
On the flight, he told The Sun, which offered a £10,000 reward: “I regret the way I handled things.
“I wish I hadn’t run away. I know it didn’t help my case. But at the time I wasn’t thinking straight. I acted on fear and emotion.
“But I also believe I will be able to clear my name. I feel positive about taking part in the judicial process, giving evidence to the Court of Appeal and ultimately proving my innocence.”
Shepherd was charged with manslaughter but fled to Georgia, where he lived in a tatty Soviet-era flat on the outskirts of capital Tbilisi.
He was convicted in his absence and sentenced to six years. His case caused outrage as his lawyers received £100,000 in legal aid.
Shepherd surrendered in January after an international manhunt — stepped up after our reward and a series of exclusives — saw the net closing.
Last night, wearing a blue open-necked shirt, black cardigan, pale blue jeans and trainers, Shepherd was driven from his prison cell to Tbilisi International Airport.
He was handed over to cops then escorted on board Georgian Airways flight 751.
He said: “I regret that I did not speak to Charlotte’s parents sooner. I was following legal advice but I wish I’d followed my heart and spoken to them. I think things would have been very different if they’d understood what happened, if I’d sat down with them.”
RETURNED TO FACE JUSTICE
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.”
While he was hiding out in Georgia, he started dating amateur model Maiko Tchanturidze,24, who has declared she would visit him in the UK.
She wept as she bid him goodbye and promised: “I will come to England to visit him in prison, if I can get a visa.
“I will definitely stand by him. I can’t wait to see him again. Jack is fearful about what will happen, but he is holding it together.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid thanked the Georgian authorities for their assistance on Twitter, adding: “Charlotte Brown’s family have endured immeasurable pain & are now one step closer to getting the justice they deserve.”
Last week, Shepherd apologised to Charlotte’s family, but still put the blame on her.
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He told The Sun from his prison cell: “Ultimately, it was her action to accelerate in the manner that she did.
“And there are matters of luck or fate — an unseen log in the path of the boat.
“In the end I survived while Charlotte lost her life. These things could have been very different.”
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