Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd told a court he fears his life will be in danger in a UK jail as he was held in custody in Georgia for three months.
The 31-year-old web designer appeared before a judge in Tbilisi as he fights extradition after spending six months on the run over the manslaughter of Charlotte Brown.
He fled the UK after Miss Brown, 24, was killed during a speedboat date on the River Thames in December 2015, before being convicted in his absence.
Sky News’ crime correspondent Martin Brunt, who was at Tbilisi City Court, said Shepherd was brought into the hearing in handcuffs flanked by about six guards.
He was held in a glass-walled dock during the hour-long hearing as a translator relayed to him the remarks of the prosecutor.
Addressing the court, Shepherd said he had been “suicidally depressed” about Miss Brown’s death.
He said: “The decision to go out on the boat is my greatest regret. Not a single day passes when I don’t think about the loss of Charlotte’s life.
“Sometime after the accident I get suicidally depressed about what had happened. That’s why I’ve been unable to speak about it.
“I regret not taking part in the court proceedings. I wish I’d sat down with Charlotte’s family and explained what happened
“I know it’s caused them even more suffering and that’s why I handed myself in to draw to a close this horrible accident and the terrible consequences.”
Shepherd’s lawyers also claimed he had been warned in a phone call his life might be in danger if he goes to a UK jail.
There was no request for bail as his lawyers argued Shepherd should be allowed to remain in Georgia to conduct his appeal against his conviction, potentially via Skype.
One of his lawyers said a reason he was not applying for bail was that he did not have any money to put up the required sum.
Shepherd, originally from Exeter, faces a six-year jail sentence for Miss Brown’s manslaughter and also faces an allegation of GBH against a barman in Devon, the court heard.
Prosecutors said there was evidence that he was planning to travel to Thailand or Indonesia, even if his passport was confiscated.
But three defence lawyers representing Shepherd said he should not be extradited because he had been convicted in his absence in “highly emotional circumstances”.
They said Miss Brown’s death was an accident and claimed Shepherd was also a victim of the incident.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it was “doing everything it can to help make sure Jack Shepherd faces justice through the proper legal channels”.
“Extradition is a complex process and we are continuing to work with UK colleagues and the authorities in Georgia to progress it as quickly as possible,” a CPS spokeswoman added.
Shepherd handed himself at a police station in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, on Wednesday and gave an interview proclaiming his innocence.
Miss Brown, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, died after plunging into the icy waters of the Thames when Shepherd’s boat crashed during a Champagne-laden date in December 2015.