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Appeal to trace man jailed in his absence for manslaughter

News   •   Jul 27, 2018 13:43 BST

A man who was responsible for the death of his date on the River Thames has been sentenced to six years in prison.

The court had heard how Jack Shepherd had allowed the woman to drive his defective speedboat at speed on the River Thames after dark and without a life jacket.

Jack Shepherd, 30 (17.08.87) from Abergavenny, Wales was convicted at the Old Bailey on Thursday, 26 July, of manslaughter by gross negligence following the death of Charlotte Brown in the River Thames in 2015.

Today he was sentenced to six years in prison and will have to serve at least three years.

Shepherd was found guilty and sentenced in his absence. Officers are appealing for assistance from the public in tracing Shepherd, who was last seen in March 2018 in Devon. A warrant has been issued for his arrest. Anyone who may know his whereabouts is urged to call police on 101. For an immediate sighting, call 999.

Investigating officer, DS Christopher Davis from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Firstly I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Charlotte’s friends and family. My thoughts are with them at this difficult time. I would also thank them for their patience and understanding during the long and difficult investigation into Charlotte’s death.

“A jury has decided that Charlotte’s life was lost due to Jack Shepherd’s reckless actions. To take his boat out at night, whilst drinking, in winter conditions and without offering Charlotte a life jacket or even asking if she could swim was a recipe for disaster. That night ended in a tragedy and the consequences will live with Charlotte’s family forever.

“I must also recognise those members of the public and the many different emergency services, who all worked together on that terrible night to try and save lives. This was a very complex enquiry; it started as a rescue operation, but as evidence emerged of Shepherd’s actions, it became a criminal investigation.

“During the investigation the MPS had to seek advice from numerous marine experts. It was with their help, together with extensive forensic and CCTV enquires, that we were able to build a successful case against Shepherd. Shepherd did not attend court and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. I would appeal to him directly to give himself and up and face the consequences of his actions.

"We are currently conducting numerous inquiries to find Shepherd and speaking to his friends and family. We are keeping an open mind on whether he has left the country. If anyone knows where Shepherd is, or has any information on his whereabouts, I would ask them to contact police immediately on 020 8721 4005 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

“We are fully resolved to ensure that Charlotte family get the justice and closure they deserve."