Charlotte Brown died after a first date went badly wrong
The jury in the Wandsworth speedboat death case being tried at the Old Bailey has retired to consider its verdict.
23-year-old Charlotte 'Charli' Brown was on a first date with 30-year-old Jack Shepherd from Hammersmith when she died. Shepherd is being tried in absentia for manslaughter by gross negligence. He has pleaded not guilty.
A red 14ft Fletcher Arrowflyte GTO speedboat had been used to bring Charlotte along the Thames after she had been taken to a meal at the Shard on 8 December 2015. Shepherd is believed to have allowed Charlotte to steer the boat but it hit a log while travelling in excess of the speed limit and capsized, throwing both of them into the water. Neither were wearing life jackets. Charlotte was taken to hospital but died a few hours later.
Charlotte 'Charli' Brown
A report presented to the court by port authority surveyor Andrew Thomas outlined a number of issues with the boat (pictured below) including a lack of an attachment on the kill cord of the boat. It also became difficult to steer at high speeds.
A post-mortem examination of Charli was held on 11 December 2015 at St George's Hospital mortuary and her cause of death was later given as cold water immersion and intoxication.
At the time of the accident police treated Charlotte's death as non-suspicious but in September last year Mr Shepherd was charged with manslaughter by gross negligence.
Even though Mr Shepherd failed to turn up for the first day of his trial at the Old Bailey yesterday, a jury was sworn in and proceedings began. Judge Richard Marks explained to the jury that although the defendant had not appeared they must not speculate on his absence and that his absence did not prove guilt.
Miss Brown's parents have been in court throughout the trial.
At the time of the accident police treated Charlotte's death as non-suspicious but in September last year Mr Shepherd was charged.
July 24, 2018