Jasmine Hartin: the mysterious case of Lord Ashcroft’s daughter-in-law and the shot police officer
Canadian socialite charged with manslaughter after Belize superintendent killed during massage
A Canadian socialite has been jailed and charged with manslaughter by negligence after reportedly shooting a police chief dead while giving him a shoulder massage during a night of drinking.
Jasmine Hartin, who is married to the son of British billionaire and Conservative grandee Michael Ashcroft, was taken into custody in San Pedro, Belize, on Friday after Superintendent Henry Jemmott was “shot behind the ear with his own revolver”, the Daily Mail reports.
The exact details of how Jemmott was shot remain unclear. However, in her statement to police, Hartin claims he was killed after “she invited the veteran officer to her apartment where the pair drank and discussed her personal security”, the paper continues.
They then walked a short distance to a nearby dock, where Jemmott complained to Hartin about shoulder pain and she offered to give him a massage, according to the statement. During the massage “he placed his service weapon on the dock”, the Daily Mail reports, but “it was when she picked it up to pass it back to him that that loaded gun fired accidentally”.
Police Commissioner Chester C. Williams told local media that a single gunshot was heard and that “upon investigating, police found the female on a pier, and she had what appeared to be blood on her arms and on her clothing”, Sky News reports.
“A firearm was also seen on the pier that has been retrieved and we have learned that the firearm belonged to the police and was assigned to Mr Jemmott,” Williams told a press conference.
He continued that the incident “seems rather personal and not an attack”, adding: “From what we know is that they are friends. From what we have been made to understand they were drinking. From investigation, they were alone on the pier and yes they were both fully clothed.”
Hartin has “spent the past four days holed up in a tiny concrete cell at the stiflingly hot police and magistrates court complex” in San Pedro, the central American nation’s only town, the Daily Mail says. Sources told the paper that she is facing “a maximum of five years”, despite the punishment for manslaughter normally being “up to life” in prison in the Belizean criminal justice system.
“Sources with knowledge of the island's secretive justice system” also told the paper that Hartin could escape without serving jail time in exchange for “a fine of around $20,000 Belizean dollars”, which equates to just over £7,000.
Her attorney, Godfrey Smith, said on Monday that she has been denied bail and will appeal the decision in the Supreme Court.
Hartin’s father-in-law Lord Ashcroft is a former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party and holds Belizean citizenship, at one point representing the country at the UN.
He is a major financial backer of the Tories and made headlines in 2015 when his unauthorised biography of David Cameron claimed that the former prime minister took part in an “obscene act with a dead pig’s head” during an initiation ceremony while at Oxford University.