Speedboat fugitive from Dartmoor

Laura White
Laura White
Pic shows Jack Shepherd leaving the Old Bailey. Old Bailey hearing of Jack Shepherd, up for manslaughter after killing his date he met on OKCupid while driving a speedboat on the Thames

Jack Shepherd could escape justice for glassing a barman on Dartmoor two years after his date, Charlotte Brown, 24, died after a speedboat crash on the Thames.

The attack on David Beech occurred in March last year, around the time he went on the run from justice after being convicted for manslaughter by gross negligence.

He was charged with grievous bodily harm for glassing the barman at the White Hart Hotel in Dartmoor. But prosecutors apparently felt he had been sufficiently punished with his six-year jail term.The Crown Prosecution Service failed to confiscate his passport before he went on the run, as he was complying with the bail conditions set.

It also said the Devon case had been ‘finalised’, even though Shepherd never attended court.  Staff at the rural hotel recalled how he was ‘blind drunk’ when he staggered in on the evening of March 16th.

The attack on Mr Beech was captured on CCTV and immediately reported to Devon and Cornwall Police.

Officers arrested Shepherd and charged him with wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Shepherd failed to appear at Newton Abbot Magistrates’ Court in June and a warrant for his arrest was issued.

The White Hart Hotel, a Grade II-listed establishment dating back to 1639 in Moretonhampstead, has backed the campaign bid to bring Shepherd to justice. The hotel tweeted: ‘Jack Shepherd is on the run. Back in the spring of 2018 he was caught on CCTV attacking a  member of our staff.’

Further pressure has come from Downing Street after the Prime  Ministers spokesman, James Slack, acknowledged the case,  announcing that it raised “significant public concerns”.

“The Prime Minister’s strongest sympathies are with the family of Charlotte Brown, and Jack Shepherd should give himself up right away to face justice,” he said.

The CPS said the case was ‘finalised’ last September, which means Shepherd is unlikely to face prosecution for it. However, police said an arrest warrant was still active.

Scotland Yard have admitted that they do not know of Jack’s whereabouts. Authorities fear that he may have fled overseas after it was revealed that the police failed to confiscate his passport.

Ministers have ordered urgent review into a loophole that has allowed fugitive Jack to claim legal aid while on the run. The Home Secretary Sajid Javid intervened on the case, calling it a ‘heart-breaking’ situation. Justice Secretary David Gauke has asked officials to  examine legal aid rules for such cases. The Solicitor General has  also joined MPs in calling for a review.

Tuckers Solicitors who represent Jack have come under fire for  continuing to represent the fugitive. In a statement the firm said:  “Mr Shepherd is represented by senior partner, Richard Egan. Tuckers position is that we are a criminal defence solicitors and have an  important role in the criminal justice system to represent those accused of criminal offences. We represent. We do not judge. We represent our clients without prejudice and to the best of our ability.”

If you have any information that could lead to his capture, the Daily Mail are offering a £25,000 reward.

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