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The socialite daughter-in-law of a British billionaire accused in the fatal shooting of a Belize police officer last month has broken her silence, claiming the man’s death was accidental.
Jasmine Hartin, 32, said she’d mistakenly opened fire on her policeman friend, Henry Jemmott, as he instructed her how to use his service pistol during the deadly incident on May 22.
Jemmott, who served as a superintendent of police in Belize, was found shot to death off the coast of San Pedro, having sustained a gunshot wound to his head. Authorities have said they suspect the shot was fired with his own sidearm.
“Henry was my friend,” Hartin told the Daily Mail in an exclusive interview. “It was an accident, I didn't flee the scene. The first thing I did was call the police myself.”
The shooting occurred on a hotel pier on Ambergris Caye, a popular island resort destination. A security guard reported hearing a “loud bang” around 12:45 a.m. on the night of the shooting. He later saw Jemmott submerged in the surf face up, roughly 30 feet from the shoreline.
Police found Hartin in an “emotional state walking herself on the pier," following the shooting, according to Commissioner of the Belize Police Department Chester Williams, ABC News reported. She was reportedly covered in blood.
Hartin has been charged with manslaughter by negligence.
The Canadian national claimed she’d been sexually assaulted days before the deadly shooting and insisted Jemmott was teaching her to use the Glock firearm when a round was mistakenly discharged, striking and killing the officer.
“There's literally not a day that goes by when I don't cry and my frigging chest doesn't hurt and ache for his kids, for his family, for him,” Hartin said.
She described the 42-year-old as her “friend” and a “great man.”
“It's something that will never leave me,” Hartin said. “He was protecting me.”
Hartin is romantically involved with Andrew Ashcroft, the son of Lord Michael Ashcroft, the British billionaire, who has multiple real estate assets in the country, according to CNN. Hartin claimed that her partner has since denied her the opportunity to see her four-year-old twins ahead of her trial in Jemmott’s death.
“I'm fighting for my life right now, I've lost everything and the only thing I have left is my children,” she said.
Authorities have said they suspect Hartin and Jemmott may have been intoxicated at the time of the shooting.
Jemmott was a father of five children and was engaged to be married at the time of his death.
"We owe it to [Jemmott] to ensure that we investigate properly," Commissioner Williams said.
Hartin was reportedly released after posting a bond of roughly $15,000.
Jemmott’s family, meanwhile, have urged prosecutors to upgrade Hartin’s manslaughter charges to murder.
“I would say that I’m disappointed in the police department,” Marie Jemmott Tzul, his sister, told local media. “And that’s not only my opinion but the consensus of my family, his friends, and the general Belizean people.”
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