Speedboat killer may fight extradition from custody in Georgia

Jack Shepherd appeared in court in Tbilisi, Georgia on Friday after handing himself in to police on Wednesday.

(CNN)Jack Shepherd, who was found guilty of manslaughter for the death of a woman in a London speedboat accident, has been remanded in custody in Georgia, as his lawyers plan to fight his extradition back to Britain, the UK's Press Association (PA) news agency reported.

Shepherd, 31, appeared in court on Friday in Tbilisi, the capital city of the former Soviet republic. After fleeing Britain in March 2018, he was found guilty in July of manslaughter by gross negligence and sentenced to six years in prison in his absence, before spending spent months on the run as the subject of international arrest warrants.
The British web designer surrendered himself at a Tbilisi police station on Wednesday, according to the Georgian embassy in London. Shepherd did not request bail at Friday's hearing and will remain in custody in Georgia for three months, PA reported.
    He now faces extradition requests to the UK over the December 2015 death of 24-year-old Charlotte Brown, who was killed after being thrown from a speedboat into the River Thames while on a first date with Shepherd.
    The court also heard Friday that Shepherd intends to contest his extradition. His defense lawyers argued against the proceedings, citing European convention rulings that ban extraditions if the life of an individual is in imminent danger, PA reported. The defense said Shepherd had been warned in a phone call that his life might be in danger if he returned to UK jails.
    The lawyers also argued that UK courts had never considered Shepherd's psychological state, saying he is alcohol-dependent and has suffered from suicidal depression.
    CNN has contacted Shepherd's lawyers for comment.
    Shepherd did not request bail at the hearing and will remain in custody for three months while extradition requests proceed.
    Shepherd told the court of his remorse at Brown's death and missing his trial in London.
    "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 said, according to PA. "Some time after the accident I got suicidally depressed about what had happened."
    The UK's Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement to CNN that it is doing "everything it can to help make sure ... Shepherd faces justice through the proper legal channels."
    It added: "Extradition is a complex process and we are continuing to work with UK colleagues and the authorities in Georgia to progress it as quickly as possible."
    London's Metropolitan Police also confirmed that extradition proceedings are underway.
    Shepherd expressed his regret over missing his trial in London during the hearing.
    Shepherd had taken Brown out on his speedboat on the River Thames after drinking large amounts of wine and champagne.
    The London trial in 2018 was told that he had been going at twice the legal speed limit, before inviting Brown to take the helm, PA reported. But after hitting a submerged item, the boat flipped. Shepherd was later found clinging to the hull, while Brown was pulled unconscious from the freezing water.
    Hearing the news of Shepherd's surrender on Wednesday, Brown's father, Graham Brown -- who has long campaigned for justice for his daughter -- wrote on Facebook: "Just been informed that Jack Shepherd has been arrested in Georgia. Justice for Charlotte is close!"
      In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Brown said of the development: "My opinions towards Jack Shepherd is that he's a very crass, reckless man, who managed to abscond and stick two fingers up at the judiciary.
      "He's got to come back to atone for all that and I think that he's done the right thing and thank goodness he's realized that now and handed himself in."