The British billionaire’s daughter-in-law who killed a top police officer in Belize is breaking her silence to tell the story of how she accidentally shot him—and how she is now locked in a battle to see her own children.
Hartin is charged with manslaughter by negligence in the shooting death of Police Superintendent Henry Jemmott last month—a sensational case that has gripped the Central American country and made headlines around the world.
Jemmott’s family has demanded she be charged with murder and suggested she got special treatment because of her connection to Ashcroft, who has extensive business holdings in Belize and is a major backer of the U.K.’s Conservative Party.
But Hartin, 32, says the shooting was a pure accident—one sparked by the victim.
By her account, after she was nearly raped after a party last month, she turned to Jemmott for help. He said she needed to learn how to use a gun, she said.
A week later, the police superintendent was visiting San Pedro, where Jasmine and Andrew Ashcroft live with their two children—and they found him a free place to stay.
After the couple attended a May 28 party with Jemmott, he and Hartin slipped off to a pier to continue drinking, she told the Mail. Jemmott wanted to see her handle his service pistol.
“He’s telling me, let’s see how you can refill the clip. Then he’s like, OK, let’s go back in,” she said. “So I went to hand it to him and he said to take the magazine out. I tried to but it was stuck. It went off.
“He fell on me. I panicked, I tried to get loose from under him to try to render CPR or something,” she said. “I didn't know what was going on. When I tried to get loose from underneath him he slipped into the water.”
Police arrived on the pier to find Jemmott dead in the water of a bullet that entered behind his ear and Hartin, bloodied, on the pier. She was immediately taken into custody.
“I’m in the police station covered in blood. I’m having an anxiety attack. I’m freaking out. I can’t believe this,” she recalled.
She said Ashcroft arrived at the station and picked up all her belongings, but she was not allowed to speak to him.
“The next day I spoke to the lawyer and he said, ‘I could try to get you out today but this is a big deal. They think you’re a privileged, rich, white girl and they’re coming down hard on you, so we need to have you at least stay the weekend,’” she said.
“I slept the weekend on a cement floor with no pillow, no blanket, no bathroom.”
Hartin eventually gave police a statement and prosecutors made the decision to charge her with manslaughter, which can carry a penalty as low as a fine. She was transferred to the nation’s prison until a judge granted her bail.
Since she was freed, she has seen her 4-year-old twins only once, for five hours. In a shocking turn of events, she recorded herself earlier this week showing up to the resort Ashcroft built, where she once worked as lifestyle director, to demand to see the children.
“Why won’t you let me see the kids, Andrew? Why won’t you let me see the children?” Hartin says as Ashcroft scurries away on the video posted by her mother to Facebook.
Hartin said she has been told that the confrontation violated the conditions of her release but added, “I would rather go back to prison than give up fighting to see them. I will fight until I have no fight left in me.”
She told the newspaper it’s ridiculous that anyone would think she killed Jemmott intentionally.
“Henry was my friend. It was an accident, I didn’t flee the scene. The first thing I did was call the police myself,” she said.
“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.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t cry for the loss of a friend and the pain the family are going through. It’s something that will never leave me. Henry was a great man. He was protecting me.”
Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here