By Amie Gordon For Mailonline
Published: 16:33 GMT, 1 February 2019 | Updated: 16:49 GMT, 1 February 2019
Justice Secretary David Gauke said stopping Jack Shepherd's legal aid could encourage more criminals to flee the UK
Stopping speedboat killer Jack Shepherd's legal aid could encourage more criminals to flee the UK and evade justice, an MP has warned.
Jack Shepherd, who killed 24-year-old Charlotte Brown, while drunkenly showing off in his speedboat on the Thames, fled the country before standing trial because he was 'too cowardly' to face her family in court.
He was convicted in his absence and sentenced to six years.
Despite being on the run, he was awarded thousands of pounds in legal aid to appeal.
There was public outcry that a convicted killer, who did not attend his court case, was able from his hiding place to take taxpayers’ money to stage a second hearing.
The Justice Secretary last month ordered an investigation into the loophole.
But he has now said that denying the convicted killer tens of thousands of pounds in legal aid could lead to other criminals leaving the country ahead of their trial.
He claims criminals who flee and are subsequently denied legal aid may not bother to return to the UK if they had no rights to