A SPEEDBOAT owner who killed a date while showing off on the River Thames has been branded “an extremely arrogant young man who thought he was better than anyone else” by his former teacher.
Richard Pennell gave an insight into ex-student Jack Shepherd – saying he feared a tragedy would happen and describing it as “his comeuppance.”
Shepherd, 30, was jailed for six years on Friday in his absence after it emerged he is on the run.
The teacher from Newton Abbot, Devon, who still works at the school where Shepherd once studied, said he was anti-authority and disruptive and “caused us a great deal of trouble.”
He spoke out as The Sun offered a £10,000 reward to help catch the runaway criminal dubbed “champagne casonova.”
Police suspect he has fled abroad and have launched an international manhunt for him as his victim’s family issued an appeal to hand himself in.
Shepherd from Paddington, central London, skipped bail but was still convicted of Charlotte Brown’s manslaughter by gross negligence.
Mr Pennell, told BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show: “Unfortunately from my encounters with Jack Shepherd this is not at all surprising. He was an extremely arrogant young man. The fact that he was not wearing a life jacket sums him up. He thought he was better than everyone else.
“This has been his comeuppance resulting in the tragic, tragic loss of the life of a young lady. I send my condolences to Charlotte’s family.”
He told how Shepherd had “a campaign of plugging in an electrical outlet and tripping all the electrics” in the school which he did not want named.
He said: “For about six months we had electricians in trying to diagnose the fault and we could never get to the bottom of it until he was found with this device he had constructed to cause this chaos, and it did cause a lot of problems.
“We reflect on students and I have discussed this with others, he had this arrogance about him and we felt at some point something bad would happen and tragically this is what it resulted in.
“Despite everyone’s best efforts at the school to try, we weren’t able to help him behave with a bit more sensibility and turn his life around.”
Web designer Shepherd, originally from Exeter, wed his childhood sweetheart after the tragedy and now has a two-year-old child.
The couple have since split and he has been on the run since March and has not even spoken to his mum.
He was blasted for his “cowardice” for failing to face justice at the Old Bailey.
Charlotte, 24, was thrown into the river after she and Shepherd took his boat out onto the water during a first date in December 2015 after a champagne dinner at The Shard.
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He had been trying to impress her and didn’t even ask if she could swim. His date could be heard screaming “you’re going so fast” in her mobile phone video before the crash.
Tragedy struck when she took the wheel and the boat hit a log and capsized – catapulting the pair into the freezing water. Shepherd managed to cling on to the upturned bow and call for help but Charlotte died from cold water immersion.
He was convicted after a jury heard the boat was speeding at more than twice the limit when it capsized and also had a number of defects, including faulty steering.
COWARD ON RUN The Sun is offering £10,000 reward to find on-the-run speedboat killer Jack Shepherd
THE Sun is offering a £10,000 reward to help catch speedboat killer Jack Shepherd.
The show-off, 30, is on the run after he skipped bail before his trial for Charlotte Brown’s death.
Police hunting Shepherd, of Paddington, central London, but originally from Exeter, suspect he may have fled the UK.
His barrister Stephen Vullo QC said “cowardice” stopped him facing her family in court. Charlotte’s mum Roz Wickens, of Clacton, Essex, said: “When he is enjoying himself with his family, I will be “visiting Charlotte’s grave”.
Det Sgt Christopher Davis said: “The family and the police are very grateful for the reward put up by The Sun.”
- CALL POLICE ON 020 8721 4005, CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111 OR THE SUN020 7782 4104
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- CALL POLICE ON 020 8721 4005, CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111 OR THE SUN 020 7782 4104