Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd has said he “absolutely, unreservedly” apologises for the role he played in Charlotte Brown’s death – but insisted he is not solely responsible for the Thames tragedy.
Awaiting extradition from Georgia, Shepherd said he agreed that he bears “some of the moral responsibility” for the 24-year-old’s death, but rejected the charge that he is to blame.
Speaking from prison in Tbilisi, Shepherd said Ms Brown’s actions “led to the fatal accident”.
“I can understand why her family apportion the entire blame on me. But the reality is not quite so simple,” he told The Sun.
“Absolutely, unreservedly, I apologise for the role I played, and undeniably I did play a part.
“(Ms Brown’s family) have my sincere sympathies and condolences and I understand why they apportion the blame as they do.”
Shepherd, who is reportedly due to be flown back to Britain under police guard on Wednesday, said there were “a number of factors” that led to the accident.
The pair were on a champagne-fuelled first date when they went for a late-night speedboat ride down the Thames in December 2015.
The 14ft Fletcher Arrowflyte struck a submerged log near Wandsworth Bridge and overturned, throwing Ms Brown to her death in the icy water.
Shepherd told the paper that it was a joint decision for the pair to go out on the boat and it was Ms Brown’s desire to drive it.
Shepherd admitted it was his decision to permit her to take the controls, although conceded that he could have given her more instruction.
He said: “But it was ultimately Charlotte’s action to accelerate in the manner that she did, even though I failed to prevent her.”
Shepherd also said there were “matters of luck or fate” involved and highlighted that they did not see the log.
The web designer, who is originally from Exeter, fled his manslaughter trial at the Old Bailey last year.
He was found guilty in his absence and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.
In December he was granted permission to appeal against the conviction and handed himself in to authorities in Tbilisi in January.
His surrender came after repeated public appeals by Ms Brown’s family for him to return to Britain and face justice for her death.
After his extradition was granted by a court in March, her family said he had a weak case and “no choice” but to return.
“We are going to get justice for Charlotte,” her father, Graham Brown, told ITV.
“We’re hoping that he won’t follow through with his appeal, which causes the family more anguish, but I guess that could be a forlorn hope.”
The Sun said Mr Brown had no comment on his apology, while her mother, Roz Wickens, told the paper: “I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but nothing he says will bring my daughter back.”
Shepherd also faces a grievous bodily harm charge over an alleged assault in Devon on March 16 last year.
A warrant for his arrest was issued by magistrates in Newton Abbot after he failed to attend the court.
Following his extradition, Shepherd will be returned to the Old Bailey before he is committed to prison.
No date has yet been set for the appeal hearing.