(SAN PEDRO, Belize) — The longtime partner of a British billionaire’s son has been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a top police officer in Belize.
Jasmine Hartin, 38, has been charged with manslaughter by negligence, her lawyer Godfrey Smith told reporters outside a court in the resort town of San Pedro on Monday. She remained in custody after her bail application was denied.
“We appeal to the Supreme Court, as is normal,” Smith said.
Hartin is the director of lifestyle and experience at Alaia Belize, a boutique resort in San Pedro run by her husband, real estate developer Andrew Ashcroft, in partnership with hotel giant Marriott International, according to Hartin’s biography on the resort’s website and her LinkedIn profile. Andrew Ashcroft also referred to Hartin as his wife during the resort’s grand opening last month, but it was unclear whether they are legally married. The couple have two children.
Andrew Ashcroft is the youngest son of Lord Michael Ashcroft, a major financial backer of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom and its former deputy chairman. Lord Michael Ashcroft, who holds dual U.K. and Belizean citizenship, has an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion, according to Forbes.
The charge stems from the death of Henry Jemmott, superintendent of the Belize Police Department, whose body was discovered early Friday in the water off a San Pedro pier with one apparent gunshot wound behind his right ear, according to Chester Williams, commissioner of the Belize Police Department.
“The injury is not consistent with suicide and the manner of death is homicide,” Williams told reporters Monday.
Hartin “was somewhat in an emotional state walking herself on the pier” when police found her near Jemmott’s body with “what appeared to be blood on her arms and on her clothing,” Williams said during a press conference Friday.
“We believe that she is to some extent affected by it,” Williams told reporters.
Police recovered Jemmott’s service weapon from the scene. The incident “seems rather personal and not an attack on law enforcement,” Williams said. Investigators believe the pair were friends and had been drinking. They were alone together on the pier and were both found fully clothed, according to Williams.
“We owe it to him to ensure that we investigate properly,” he said.
Jemmott’s family said they are desperate for answers. He leaves behind five children and a fiancée.
“What happened? We don’t know, I don’t know,” Jemmott’s sister, Marie Jemmott Tzul, told reporters Monday. “So we are depending on the police investigation to set the record straight for us.”
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