SPEEDBOAT killer Jack Shepherd will return to the UK to begin serving his prison sentence after a judge ruled he must be extradited from Georgia.
A court in Tbilisi approved Britain’s extradition request today after Shepherd said he wishes to take part in an appeal against his conviction over the death of 24-year-old Charlotte Brown.
Shepherd surrendered to authorities in Georgia six months after he was convicted of manslaughter in his absence at the Old Bailey.
The pair had been on a first date when Shepherd’s speedboat overturned, plunging Ms Brown into the icy water of the Thames in London.
Shepherd, 31, was sentenced to six years in jail after he absconded, but has been granted permission to appeal against the conviction.
He told the court that he made the ‘difficult decision’ to not fight extradition ‘because I wish to participate in the appeal process, to fight for my freedom and to be reunited with those I love, my family, my son’.
No date has yet been set for the appeal hearing.
One of Shepherd’s lawyers in Georgia, Tariel Kakabadze, estimated Shepherd could return to the UK within two weeks.
Shepherd also faces a grievous bodily harm charge over an alleged assault in Devon on March 16 last year.
A warrant for his arrest was issued by magistrates in Newton Abbot after he failed to attend the court.
Charlotte’s father, Graham Brown, said the extradition brings the family ‘a bit closer’ to winning justice for Ms Brown.
‘When Shepherd does come back, hopefully he will start showing some remorse and accept responsibility for his part,’ Mr Brown told ITV News.
‘We’re hoping that he won’t follow through with his appeal, which causes the family more anguish, but I guess that could be a forlorn hope.’
Shepherd’s legal team had mulled fighting extradition altogether and successfully delayed his return by convincing a judge to rule out a fast-tracked process.
Then the Crown Prosecution Service formally requested his extradition on March 1.
Shepherd appeared at the Old Bailey on January 26 last year to deny manslaughter by gross negligence but jurors were made aware of his absence at the start of his trial in July.
In January, the web designer, originally from Exeter, handed himself in to authorities in Tbilisi, where he has been detained ever since.
The family of Ms Brown, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, have fought a battle for justice following her death in December 2015.