Now po­lice ad­mit: We don’t know if speed­boat fugi­tive has even lef t UK

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Neil Sears

PO­LICE ad­mit­ted yes­ter­day they ‘have no idea’ if fugi­tive speed­boat killer Jack Shep­herd is in the coun­try or not – partly be­cause not enough of­fi­cers are look­ing for him.

Scot­land Yard said there was no straight­for­ward way of find­ing out whether an in­di­vid­ual had left Bri­tain with­out a date to nar­row the search.

Even with a date, any­one us­ing a fake or stolen pass­port could still be un­trace­able.

Shep­herd, 31, was con­victed of man­slaugh­ter after drunk­enly show­ing off to his date Char­lotte Brown, 24, as they sped along the Thames in his age­ing and de­fec­tive speed­boat, which flipped over.

He called for res­cuers to ‘help me’, not ‘help us’, and Miss Brown was

‘He needs to be brought to jus­tice’

pulled un­con­scious from the cold wa­ters and pro­nounced dead.

Shep­herd fled be­fore his Old Bai­ley trial and is on the run from a six-year prison sen­tence – yet has been granted leave to ap­peal against his con­vic­tion, and le­gal aid that has al­ready ap­proached £100,000.

Crit­ics point out he has not served a sin­gle day in prison, and did not turn up in court over sep­a­rate al­le­ga­tions he glassed a bar­man in the face.

The Daily Mail is of­fer­ing a £25,000 re­ward for his cap­ture, with the sup­port of po­lice and Miss Brown’s griev­ing fam­ily.

But a spokesman for the Metropoli­tan Po­lice, who are un­der fire for fail­ing to bring Shep­herd to jus­tice, said de­tails of peo­ple’s com­ing and go­ings from the United King­dom were not stored on a sin­gle search­able data­base avail­able to po­lice hunt­ing fugi­tives.

The spokesman said: ‘We have no idea if he is in the coun­try or not... we can­not be cer­tain. If there were more of­fi­cers on the case, we might be able to do some­thing. If this was a counter-ter­ror­ism op­er­a­tion, we might be able to do some­thing.

‘Nor­mally it is rel­a­tively easy be­cause we have a fairly good case of know­ing when a per­son left and where from. But in this case, the time frame is a wide one of many months and that is harder.’ The Mail un­der­stands that the Home Of­fice re­lies on air­lines and other firms pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion to Bor­der Force re­gard­ing pas­sen­gers en­ter­ing and leav­ing the UK.

This in­for­ma­tion is then shared with po­lice and other law en­force­ment agen­cies.

Scot­land Yard has said the Mail’s cam­paign to find Shep­herd had gen­er­ated new leads, but the re­cent ac­tiv­ity by of­fi­cers ap­pears to be in re­sponse to me­dia pres­sure.

Shep­herd is be­lieved to have fled last March, with his pass­port, shortly after the griev­ous bod­ily harm with in­tent in­ci­dent in a pub in More­ton­hamp­stead, Devon, where he grew up.

There has been spec­u­la­tion friends could be shield­ing him in Bri­tain – or, more likely, that he has fled over­seas. He took out loans to­talling at least £50,000 and has failed to pay back a penny.

Of­fi­cers orig­i­nally told Miss Brown’s fa­ther, civil ser­vant Gra­ham Brown, from Sid­cup, south Lon­don, of claims that Shep­herd had flown to the for­mer So­viet repub­lic of Ge­or­gia – al­though that could have been a red her­ring cir­cu­lated by his friends.

Mr Brown said: ‘The po­lice have as­sured me they are do­ing all they can. But I am wor­ried the sys­tem sim­ply isn’t in place to look for fugi­tives – once they are abroad, we do not have ex­pert teams ded­i­cated to find­ing them.

‘And Jack Shep­herd needs to be brought to jus­tice.’

Vic­tim: Char­lotte Brown died when the speed­boat flipped in the Thames

On the run: Jack Shep­herd

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