ARMS raised towards the bars of a suffocating concrete cell in Central America, Jasmine Hartin is not charged with any ordinary crime.
The glamorous daughter-in-law of billionaire conservative businessman Lord Ashcroft has been accused of shooting a police officer under strange circumstances.
What would have taken place on the Caribbean coast of Belize in the early hours of Friday morning seems too strange, even for the Death In Paradise television series.
Police reports say that a single shot rang out over a short jetty at the popular tourist resort of San Pedro, in the former British colony.
When the police arrived, Jasmine, who is married to the youngest son of Conservative donor Lord Ashcroft, was found with “what appeared to be blood on her arms and clothes”.
Floating in the nearby water was the body of Superintendent Henry Jemmott, 42, with a fatal gunshot wound behind his right ear.
Hartin, a Canadian, was in an “emotional state” when a local security officer arrived at the scene.
When officers wanted to question the socialite about what happened to their colleague, she initially declined to report – but has since claimed her death was an accident.
Yesterday, Hartin, 38, was charged with negligent manslaughter.
Although Superintendent Jemmott had requested “personal leave” prior to his death, suicide was not considered likely.
And while there was an early suggestion that a bullet might have been fired from a passing boat, it wasn’t until Hartin’s attorney arrived that she was ready to give her account of the events on the pier.
Leaked reports say the mother-of-two told police she massaged the cop’s back on the small wooden jetty after he asked her for shoulder pain relief.
The officer asked Hartin to hand her his Glock pistol, which he had left on the pier – and as she returned it to him, it accidentally went off.
Local media say that when his lifeless body fell on Hartin, who is significantly smaller than him, she pushed him away and he landed in the warm waters.
Chester Williams, the Belize Police Commissioner, said: “We cannot say that we have a clear understanding of what happened.
“The only two people who could have told us this were the deceased and Mrs. Hartin.”
Hartin runs the luxury hotel Alaia on the island of Ambergris Caye and with her husband Andrew Ashcroft, 43, who has played a key role in its development.
The boutique complex, which opened this year, is one of many businesses owned by the Ashcroft family in Belize.
Lord Ashcroft, 75, is the former vice-chairman of the Conservative Party and the founder of the UK Crimestoppers charity.
Like his father, Andrew, of British origin, would spend most of his time in Belize, of which he is a citizen.
Superintendent Jemmott had been involved in policing San Pedro and got to know the Ashcroft family.
Hartin reportedly took the short walk from his hotel to the pier near the Mata Rocks hotel in San Pedro on Thursday night to meet him.
She has been described as an “old friend” of his. Relatives of the cop denied that their meeting could have been romantic.
Commissioner Williams said they were both “fully clothed” after the shooting, so no sexual intercourse appears to have taken place.
The father of five, Superintendent Jemmott, who has had a partner for 14 years, is said to have gone to the resort to relax after enduring personal issues. His sister Cherry, who is the Belize Police Deputy Superintendent, dismissed the idea that he was suicidal.
She said, “My brother would never kill himself. He had his plans.
“In September he was to be promoted to chief superintendent and he was to be transferred to another unit.”
Police said the couple had been drinking for “a few hours” before the gun was discharged.
The shooting happened half an hour after midnight, which means they both broke the country’s Covid curfew at 10 p.m.
Only one gunshot was heard, which is not uncommon in Belize, where drug gangs wage turf wars and violent crime is rife. But that is not expected on the tourist beaches visited by wealthy foreigners around the world.
There are no CCTV cameras near the pier and as of yet, no one appears to have witnessed the tragedy.
Upon his arrest, Hartin exercised his right to remain silent until his lawyer arrived.
‘GIVE THE CLOSURE OF THE FAMILY’
She has now made a statement to the officers, but Commissioner Williams would not be drawn to its content when pressed by the media.
Now, Hartin’s legal team is trying to get her out of the dirty San Pedro cell where she is being held.
She has been denied bail and will have to endure hellish conditions for at least another night.
Hartin awaits his transfer to the country’s central prison in Hattieville.
The exact sentencing guidelines in Belize are unclear, but if she is convicted of negligent manslaughter, it is believed she could face a fine of £ 7,000 to a five-year sentence of jail.
If she pleads guilty, her testimony will not be heard by the court. But one of Superintendent Jemmott’s sisters hopes to hear answers from Hartin.
Prince Andrew drives past travelers who have set up caravan camp outside Windsor
MALALA ME TIME
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has time for herself and poses for Vogue
Dad, 35, beaten to death while trying to protect his girlfriend from a gang of muggers
Human bones found meters away from Harry and Meghan’s $ 16million LA mansion
“STOLEN MY CHILDHOOD”
23-year-old woman tricked pedo grandfather after secretly recording confession
Retired social worker Marie Jemmott Tzul said, “What I would say to Jasmine is shut down the family. Tell us what happened.
“We want to know for the sake of our family. He was my only brother.
“Every time I look at my nieces and nephews, I break down and cry. Please tell us what happened.