Hammersmith Speedboat Killer Wins Right to Appeal Against Conviction

Despite international manhunt finding 'no trace' of fugitive Jack Shepherd

Jack Shepherd, who had been living on a houseboat in Hammersmith, has been a fugitive since he was found guilty in July of the manslaughter by gross negligence of 24 year-old Charlotte in December 2015 and sentenced to six years in jail.

And this week Scotland Yard's Detective chief inspector Mick Norman admitted: "Shepherd is subject to an international arrest warrant; however since he failed to appear in court for his trial there has been no tangible trace of him."

It was confirmed in August that Mr Shepherd's lawyers had lodged an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Now the Court of Appeal have confirmed a judge has given him permission to appeal against the conviction, with the appeal funded by legal aid.

Shepherd failed to attend his Old Bailey trial in July, when the court heard how he had allowed the Miss Brown to drive his defective speedboat at speed on the River Thames after dark and without a life jacket.

He is from Abergavenny, Wales but also lived on a houseboat in Hammersmith.

The court heard how on Tuesday, 8 December 2015, Shepherd had met 24 year-old Charlotte, who preferred to be known as Charli, at a restaurant at the Shard. This was their first date and the pair consumed two bottles of wine before they both went back to his houseboat after Shepherd told Charli that he had a speedboat and they could take it out on the river.

They both took a taxi to his houseboat near Hammersmith Bridge. A message from Charli to her sister at 10.12pm said, "Still Alive. Waiting for the tide so we can take it out." When asked she confirmed that they were going out in Shepherd's speedboat.

Later that evening, the couple went out on the speedboat, called Arrowflyte and Shepherd described how he drove the boat from Hammersmith to central London and part of the way back. Neither were wearing lifejackets and Shepherd later told police there were two life jackets stored in the boat, but these were out of view. He also admitted that he did not tell Charli about the lifejackets or asked her if she could swim.

The pair continued drinking alcohol on the speedboat as he drove from Hammersmith Bridge to Waterloo Bridge. Shepherd stated that he was exceeding the speed limit of 12 knots for that stretch of the river and was probably driving erratically, but that he had done it lots of times in the past. He clarified that he normally drove the boat "flat out" on a straight stretch at approx. 30 mph, but 15 mph if there were obstructions in the river.

Charlotte Brown

Charlotte 'Charli' Brown

A witness later told police that at about 11pm he was standing on the pontoon on the river when his attention was drawn to the noise of a boat engine and the sound of shrieks and laughter. He then saw a red Fletcher style boat driving erratically and at speed, which he thought especially unusual due to the late hour. He saw the boat continuing to make manoeuvres at speed before disappearing.

Another witness who lives near Wandsworth Bridge, told police she was watching TV when she was disturbed by the noise made from a boat. When she looked out she saw a poorly lit boat travelling along the Thames which she thought unusual given the time.

She watched it travel along the centre of the river before veering towards the mooring. She believed the boat was heading for shore, as the engine did not sound right. She witnessed it heading towards the mooring wall and then briefly lost sight before hearing a loud crash. After a few seconds she heard a man shouting for help and called police.


At about 11.43pm the speedboat collided with a submerged or partially submerged object in the water, believed to be a tree trunk or piece of timber, which the court were told was not uncommon in the Thames.

Due to the boat's speed and its position in the water, (believed to be caused by taking last minute evasive action to avoid the object) it capsized a few hundred yards before Wandsworth Bridge.

Eye witnesses who were walking along the river path and also residents from flats on both side of the river reported hearing a man calling for help from the river. Shepherd was eventually located clinging to the upturned speedboat which was drifting towards Wandsworth Bridge in a strong current. He was removed from the water just to the east of Wandsworth Bridge, by the Police Marine Unit and informed police and the RNLI that his girlfriend had been with him and was still unrecovered.

The speedboat, Arrowflyte, was partially submerged just under Wandsworth Bridge and was recovered to Putney Pier. The river search continued by marine units from the police, the RNLI, London Fire Brigade, local officers on the river banks and the Police Helicopter. The helicopter crew later reported they had spotted a possible body in the water West of Wandsworth Bridge and directed marine units to the location.

Charli was recovered from the water at 12.10am by the Marine Units and they tried to revive her with CPR whilst they took her to shore. Once there paramedics took over and continued CPR and all available efforts to try to resuscitate her, but despite the efforts of the emergency services Miss Brown never regained consciousness. She was pronounced dead at St George's Hospital at 1.55 am on 9 December 2015.

Shepherd was last seen in March 2018 in Devon, and anyone who may know his whereabouts is urged to call police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers/

For an immediate sighting, call 999.

January 4, 2019