Billionaire’s socialite daughter-in-law in tough Belize jail on manslaughter charge
Jasmine Hartin’s policeman friend was shot dead
The socialite daughter-in-law of a billionaire British businessman is languishing in one of the harshest prisons in the world.
In a case that gripped Belize, in Central America, Jasmine Hartin faces a charge of manslaughter by negligence after a policeman friend was shot dead on a waterfront pier in San Pedro.
Ms Hartin, 32, was found on a dock near to where the body of Superintendent Henry Jemmott, 42, was discovered early on Friday morning last week.
She is the partner of Andrew Ashcroft, son of Lord Michael Ashcroft, a former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party and a major financial backer of the Tories.
She was unexpectedly refused bail on Monday and told she would be held in prison.
On Tuesday, she was escorted by a policewoman out of the station and on to the back of a golf cart. Wearing a red hoodie and a black face mask, she was put on a fishing boat to be transferred to Belize City, before being taken by police van to the jail in the village of Hattieville.
The jail, Belize Central Prison, was featured in the Netflix documentary series Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons.
According to Ms Hartin’s LinkedIn profile, she works as director of lifestyle and experience at the Alaia Belize Autograph Collection Hotel, which invites guests to embrace the “Belizean spirit with genuine hospitality, barefoot luxury and an adventurous soul”. The rate starts at $2,239 a night. The hotel’s managing director is her partner, Mr Ashcroft.
Before working at the hotel, Ms Hartin was an estate agent for Sancas Realty in Belize.
Before arriving at the facility, her lawyers were seeking a Supreme Court hearing to free her from detention.
However, it is understood they were unable to overturn the decision by the local magistrate.
Police Commissioner Chester C Williams previously said a single gunshot was heard “and upon investigating, police found the female on a pier, and she had what appeared to be blood on her arms and on her clothing”.
The gun involved belonged to Jemmott.
Mr Williams said the policeman’s death "seems rather personal and not an attack".
"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,” he said.
Ms Hartin, he said, was found in an “emotional state” and appeared “to some extent affected” by Jemmott’s death.
Lord Ashcroft, who has dual British and Belizean nationality, has several business interests in the central American country. He has not commented on the case.
Updated: June 2, 2021 07:13 PM