THE family of a woman who died in a speedboat crash are "shocked and relieved" after her fugitive killer handed himself in to police in Georgia.

Jack Shepherd, 31, has been on the run since July when he was convicted of killing 24-year-old Charlotte Brown, from Clacton.

He was understood to have travelled to Georgia after refusing to appear before a jury.

Charlotte died after the boat he had bought to “pull women” flipped into the icy waters of the River Thames during her champagne-fuelled first date with Shepherd in December 2015.

The web designer was sentenced to six years imprisonment after being found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence in his absence having fled his Old Bailey trial.

Brentwood Live:

  • The speedboat that crahed on the Thames in 2015

Charlotte's sister Katie said when the family heard Shepherd had handed himself in they were all "very shocked and relieved".

"Last night as we saw his TV interview, increasing feelings of anger.

"To see him just stroll into the police station smiling and waving it was unbelievable - his arrogance over everything."

She said she thinks Shepherd went to the police station for "purely selfish reasons" because he wants his appeal to be successful and that she believes he thinks he will not serve his sentence.

Asked how she feels about the comments Shepherd made to reporters in Georgia, where he said he was frightened about what might happen and how he hopes justice will prevail, she said: "He seems to be concerned about his own feelings and how he's felt throughout the whole thing, and has had no empathy or remorse for his reckless actions.

"He has caused the loss of my sister's life and whilst he's been off in Georgia, he claims that he went to see friends and he has always wanted to see the scenery there - almost like he was claiming it was a holiday.

"He said that he has been out socialising, going to nightclubs, so whilst he has been doing that we have been back here, had the agony of the trial, left to pick up the pieces.

"He is not thinking about Charlie, us, respect for the legal system, all he is thinking about is himself and his feelings."

On why Shepherd has surrendered himself now and whether there is a reason, she speculated that it was possibly as a result of the increased media attention and after the family had a meeting with the Home Secretary.

"I can only imagine it almost forced him to have to give himself in because he probably knew that it was either that or he'd be found sooner rather than later," she added.

With suggestions it could be some time before Shepherd returns to the UK and whether that is frustrating, she said it is but the family are relieved he is in police custody and it is a "step in the right direction".

"The bottom line is that Charlie lost her life from this, from his actions. It never goes away and Charlie was a special person," she said of the impact.

"We hope some good can come from this and tightening of the laws on waterways will be Charlie's legacy."

Ms Brown's father, Graham Brown, celebrated the "overwhelming" development, writing on Facebook: "Justice for Charlotte is close!"

"My opinions towards Jack Shepherd is that he's a very crass, reckless man, who managed to abscond and stick two fingers up at the judiciary," Mr Brown told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"He's got to come back to atone for all that and I think that he's done the right thing and thank goodness he's realised that now and handed himself in."

A spokesman for the country's embassy in London said Shepherd has surrendered to police in Georgia.

He said: "He has just surrendered himself to the Georgian Police and now the police undertake relevant detaining formalities."

The family of Ms Brown, known to loved ones as Charli, ramped up pressure in recent weeks and met with Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) confirmed Shepherd was in custody.

Scotland Yard, the force leading the investigation, said officers had been updated by the NCA on the development and are awaiting confirmation of his identity.

The Metropolitan Police said once identity was secured extradition proceedings "will begin immediately" against Shepherd, who was wanted on an international arrest warrant.

Brentwood Live:

  • Arrested - Jack Shepherd handed himself in to police in Georgia

The 31-year-old surrendered at a police station in the nation's capital of Tbilisi on Wednesday - six months after he was convicted of killing Charlotte.

Shepherd - wearing a long coat, jeans and a checked scarf - waved and smiled as he walked into the station from a black car, footage on Georgian television station Rustavi2 showed.

He vowed to local reporters he would clear his name over the "tragic accident".

Speaking to journalists, he said: "Yes, my name is Jack Shepherd. I was involved in a tragic accident... in which a lady called Charlotte Brown tragically died."

Billed by the network as an "exclusive interview", Shepherd added he hopes "justice will be done" with his pending appeal against the conviction.

He continued to say he hopes "I can just", before pausing to correct himself and add, "everybody can move forward with their lives".

Under Georgian law, prosecutors are required to apply for restriction measures for a person wanted in another country within 48 hours of them being arrested.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said it is "vital Charlotte Brown's family see justice done" and UK law enforcement will "seek to swiftly extradite him to Britain".

Jack Shepherd's Georgia lawyer has hit out at the fugitive's critics, saying "many people have opinions which are not based on facts".

Tariel Kakabadze said the 31-year-old believes he is innocent and it was wrong to criticise someone for "trying to protect himself".

The web designer's vanishing act while awaiting trial for the speedboat death of date Charlotte Brown - and subsequent efforts to track him down - have been covered extensively.

The case has also raised wider questions over rules that allow fugitives from justice to claim legal aid in order to challenge convictions while remaining at large.

A decision to allow Shepherd to appeal against his conviction for manslaughter sparked controversy after it emerged in December.

Speaking to the Press Association, Mr Kakabadze said he had seen "a lot of negative comments" about Shepherd online and his client is "extremely sad" about Ms Brown's death.

"Many people have opinions which are not based on facts. Every person who is blamed of a crime has the right to efficient and good legal help. Criticising somebody for protecting himself is not right. He believes that he is innocent."

The lawyer said he had "huge respect for the United Kingdom, for the UK Government and the people," but added: "As a lawyer, I believe that evidence is what we should make the decisions on.

"The judges should not be interrupted and they should not feel pressure from people, from politicians. Judges should be left to make objective decisions. Judges are the only people who should make the final decision about the case."

Ms Brown's family have campaigned tirelessly for Shepherd to face justice, appealing directly to him and calling for authorities to do more to track him down.

Shepherd failed to attend his trial at the Old Bailey in July and was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence in his absence and sentenced to six years in prison.

He blamed his decision to flee the country rather than participate in the trial on Ms Brown's father, saying the civil servant has "power within the prison system".

Mr Kakabadze said his client is now "ready to participate in the court sessions to find out the truth" and first contacted him by phone on Wednesday.

"I told him to go to the police and this would be easier for him to fight legally. But it was also his desire," he said.

"I believe his evidence will be extremely important. But he needs to work legally and not just escape from the police, that's not going to help him out."

Mr Kakabadze declined to comment on how Shepherd is paying for his representation.

He said: "For me it's most important to talk about the case, to talk about the facts, about the evidence and to help find out the truth and to protect my client's interests in the best way possible - legally, of course. It is not my duty to talk about fees."