Killer jailed for four more years after attack on war hero

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Thursday 6th June 2019 3:06 pm
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JACK Shepherd, the man who fled the UK after killing a woman in a speedboat crash, has been jailed for a further four years for attacking an Afghan war hero with a bottle in a pub in Moretonhampstead.

Shepherd was on bail and awaiting trial for the manslaughter of Charlotte Brown when he attacked former soldier David Beech who was working at the White Hart Hotel in Moretonhamptead on March 16.

He then went on the run to Tiblisi in Georgia and was convicted of manslaughter in his absence in a trial at the Old Bailey in July last year.

Shepherd attacked Mr Beech with a vodka bottle which he pulled from a back pocket and swung with both arms straight into his face, causing a gash which needed to be stitched in hospital.

Mr Beech had been wounded in the head while serving with the British army in Afghanistan and Shepherd’s attack rekindled symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder which he had been battling to overcome for four years.

Shepherd had been drinking all day before he and a friend went into the hotel but were asked to leave by Mr Beech because they were drunk.

He launched his attack from behind as Mr Beech was escorting him out of the front door and the entire incident was caught on CCTV.

Shepherd appeared at Exeter Crown Court by video link from prison, where he is serving a six and a half year sentence for the manslaughter of 24-year-old Charlotte during a first date on the River Thames in December 2015 and jumping bail before the previous trial at the Old Bailey.

He sobbed with his head bowed as a letter of apology which he has written to Mr Beech and Charlotte’s family was read out by his defence barrister.

Shepherd, aged 31, of Charles Street, Bristol, admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and was jailed for four years by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: ‘Mr Beech served his country in the armed services and was wounded in Afghanistan and had undergone rehabilitative work for PTSD. Your assault undid in a matter of seconds the good progress made over a number of years.

‘You used a weapon equivalent and this was not an unpremeditated blow. There was no provocation whatsoever from Mr Beech or anyone else. He was just doing his job calmly and reasonably."

‘You were due in court for this offence but took the cowardly course of action in going on the run.’

Mr Lee Bremridge, prosecuting, said Mr Beech had worked at the hotel for two years and was in the bar when he saw Shepherd and his friend enter and realised they were both drunk. 

He refused to serve the other man and was escorting both out of the lobby of the hotel to the front door when he was attacked. CCTV showed Shepherd taking the bottle from his pocket and hiding it behind his back before swinging it hard into Mr Beech’s face.

He tried to flee but was tackled by fellow hotel worker James Stapley and held down by him and customers. Off duty policeman Lewis Simmonds, who was in the bar, helped restrain him and arrested him.

Mr Stephen Vullo, QC, said Shepherd was apologetic and remorseful. He said he had been a successful IT consultant before the tragedy in which Charlotte died and his life had unravelled since.

He read out a long letter of apology written by Shepherd in which he said he had been drinking before the attack on Mr Beech because he was struggling to cope with the stress of the forthcoming trial.

He had been to visit his mother in Devon before going out drinking with an old friend and ending up in Moretonhampstead. He said he had no memory of carrying out the attack.

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