London

Speedboat death trial: Boat taken to Old Bailey as evidence

Speedboat Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The boat from which Charlotte Brown was thrown was taken to the Old Bailey car park to be inspected by jurors

A speedboat has been taken into the Old Bailey as evidence in a manslaughter trial in what could be a legal first.

Jack Shepherd, 30, is accused of Charlotte Brown's manslaughter when they both fell from his boat during a first date in London in December 2015.

The boat, which Mr Shepherd bought online to allegedly "pull women", was brought to the court's car park for jurors to see at the trial.

Mr Shepherd, from Paddington, denies manslaughter by gross negligence.

The trial is taking place in his absence.

Mr Shepherd had tried to impress Ms Brown, 23, with a boat trip past the Houses of Parliament after a meal at The Shard, the court heard.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Charlotte Brown was driving the boat "at full throttle" before it crashed, Jack Shepherd told police

But when he let her drive, the boat hit a log and flipped over, and the pair were thrown into the River Thames.

The red 14ft Fletcher Arrowflyte GTO was transported on a trailer into the court through the rear gates to be produced as evidence.

The 12 jurors, who were accompanied by the judge and barristers, spent about 15 minutes inspecting the boat.

Judge Richard Marks QC encouraged them to to walk around and "have a good look" at it.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption A prosecution witness showed jurors various alleged defects with the boat, such as a "wobbly" steering wheel

Prosecutors allege the 75-horsepower vessel, which had been moored beside Shepherd's houseboat in Hammersmith, had a number of defects and was speeding before the crash.

Earlier, port authority surveyor Andrew Thomas pointed out to the court various problems with the four-person 1980s vessel.

He said there was impact damage to the starboard bow, the cockpit windscreen showed general deterioration and the plywood seat bases had been water-damaged.

Its engine kill-cord was also "poorly maintained" and had no attachment, jurors heard.

Mr Thomas also said the steering wheel wobbled "backwards and forwards".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Web designer Mr Shepherd bought the red 14ft Fletcher Arrowflyte GTO from Gumtree to "pull women", the court has heard

The life jackets were tucked in a container at the front of the boat, where they had been stored at the time of the crash, the court was told.

Jurors were also shown a video of tests on the water by officials after the crash, in which the boat reached a speed of 29.9 knots at 75% throttle.

The speed limit on the stretch of the Thames where the accident happened is 12 knots.

The trial continues.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites