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A socialite whose romantic partner is the son of British billionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft is being held without bond in Belize after being charged in the shooting death of one of the country’s top cops.
Jasmine Hartin, 32, is facing charges of manslaughter by negligence in the death of Henry Jemmott, a Belize superintendent of police who was found dead in the water off San Pedro after being shot behind the ear with his own gun, according to CNN.
Hartin—who shares two children with the well-known developer Andrew Ashcroft—is being held without bond after a judge determined during an arraignment on Monday that she was flight risk, The Daily Mail reports.
Hartin left a police cell Tuesday in handcuffs, wearing a red sweatshirt, jeans and a black face mask, as she was transferred to a Belize prison known to house some the country’s most serious offenders. Hartin kept her head down and carried a plastic bag that hid her handcuffs as she was escorted onto a waiting golf cart to begin the transfer.
“We made sure she was in handcuffs,” one source told the news outlet. “There was no special treatment. [Jemmott] was our friend.”
Hartin allegedly had invited Jemmott, a father of five, to her apartment on Friday night to talk about security, The Independent reports. The two, who have been described as friends, had allegedly been drinking when at some point they decided to walk to a nearby dock—breaking the city’s 10 p.m. curfew in place due to COVID-19.
She allegedly offered to give him a massage for some shoulder pain he was experiencing. She later told police Jemmott was killed accidentally when she went to hand him back his service weapon and the gun went off.
Police Commissioner Chester C. Williams told the media that security reported hearing a single gunshot wound and “found the female on a pier, and she had what appeared to be blood on her arms and on her clothing,” Sky News reports.
He said the incident had seemed “rather personal” and did not appear to be an attack.
“From what we know is that they are friends,” Williams said. “From what we have been made to understand they were drinking. From [the] investigation, they were alone on the pier and yes they were both fully clothed.”
Authorities opted not to charge Hartin with the more serious charges of murder or manslaughter. Instead, if convicted of manslaughter by negligence, she could face up to five years in prison. However, some insiders believe its more likely she could face a fine of around 20,000 Belizean dollars, which equates to about $10,000 in the United States, The Daily Mail reports.
“It’s not right. It’s not right. The family will feel really bad. This is not justice,” Jemmott’s sister Cherry Jemmott told the news outlet of the charge.
Cherry, who herself is an assistant superintendent within the Belize police force, said she would have liked to see Hartin go on trial for murder, so that a jury would be able to determine if the lesser charge of manslaughter was appropriate.
“He was our only boy. She took his life. She deprived him of his family. She deprived us of his love,” Cherry said.
He leaves behind five children and a long-time partner of 14 years.
Just weeks before the fatal shooting, Hartin had helped Andrew Ashcroft unveil his new luxury hotel, the Alaia Belize Hotel, Autograph Collection, on the island of San Pedro.
Ashcroft referred to Hartin at the time as his wife, although it's unclear whether they are legally married.
His father, British billionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft, once served as the former deputy chairman of the British Conservative Party and holds dual citizenship in Belize, where he grew up.
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