Socialite Jasmine Hartin has pleaded guilty to the ‘accidental’ shooting of a Belizean police chief, telling media she wants his family ‘to have peace now’.
The estranged partner of Lord Ashcroft’s son Andrew broke down in tears yesterday as she entered her plea at Supreme Court in Belize City where she was due to go on trial for the manslaughter of Henry Jemmott by negligence.
Her lawyers had requested a last-minute adjournment to consider pleading guilty. The court will next sit for a sentencing hearing which is expected to take place on May 31.
Outside court, Hartin said: ‘I just want Henry’s family to have peace now and I want this whole thing to be behind all of us so we can heal.’
During Tuesday’s hearing, prosecutors presented Judge Ricardo Sandcroft with a file of evidence which was to have been revealed if the trial went ahead.
Jasmine Hartin, 33, broke down in tears as she entered her plea at Supreme Court in Belize City where she was due to go on trial for manslaughter by negligence
The Canadian socialite (left) pictured outside the Belize City Supreme Court today where she pleaded guilty to manslaughter after shooting a ‘police officer friend dead’
The court heard that the precedence in the case of a guilty plea for the offence was a non-custodial sentence.
With tears streaming down her face and visibly shaking, Miss Hartin’s voice trembled as she stood in the small wooden dock to enter her last minute plea in the packed courtroom.
She was watched by the dead officer’s sisters and his daughter who have stoically attended court proceedings since he was killed almost two years ago
The father of five was killed by a shot to the head while enjoying a late night drink with Miss Hartin on the pier near Mr Ashcroft’s luxury hotel on the island of Ambergris Caye.
The Belizean court house heard that the precedence in the case of a guilty plea for the offence was a non-custodial sentence including a fine.
Judge Ricardo Sandcroft said he was unlikely to ‘veer away’ from the existing precedence but had previously warned Miss Hartin in an earlier hearing that he was ‘not bound’ to it.
She is due to return to the same court on May 31 for a sentence hearing after the judge receives a socio-economic report which will used to determine the amount of the fine.
Hartin has admitted she shot Superintendent Henry Jemmott (pictured) when his gun went off by accident while she handled it as they had a late-night drink together on a pier in May 2021
Pictured are Lord Ashcroft’s son Andrew, 44, (left) and his former partner Jasmine Hartin (right) who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter by negligence in Belize
Pictured is Belize Police Superintendent Henry Jemmott, who was shot dead in 2021
The slain officer’s family were too upset to comment after the hearing having previously being left in tears after being scolded by the judge for wearing t-shirts displaying Supt Jemmott’s photographs.
The judge said he was required by law to remain ‘dispassionate’ and warned them that the t-shirts would not be allowed in court again.
The family were forced to purchase plain t-shirts during a brief adjournment before returning in time to hear Miss Hartin enter her plea.
While on bail awaiting trial, Miss Hartin has given several TV interviews in which she has claimed she shot the officer – who she described as a trusted friend – by accident.
Miss Hartin said Mr Jemmott had offered to teach her how to use a Glock 17 for protection after she had been attacked at a party.
But she said the gun went off as she tried to hand him the magazine and a single bullet struck him in the head causing his body to slump on top of her.
Her lawyer Hubert Elrington said that Miss Hartin has already been paying some compensation to Supt Jemmott’s common law wife and towards his five children who are aged between seven and 18-years-old.
Hartin pictured under a blanket leaving Hattieville Prison in Belize last June
In August last year the socialite claimed vengeful officers plotted to murder her and disguise her death as a botched jail break.
She said at the time that ‘corrupt’ police in Belize City unlocked her cell in the middle of the night and motioned her towards a back door – insisting she was free to go.
Hartin sensed it was a trap and refused to run, telling officers: ‘I know you will shoot me in the back.’
The alleged incident happened when Hartin was detained on May 19 2022 for supposedly arranging ‘hits’ on Belize Police Commissioner Chester Williams and a family court magistrate.
She was cleared this week by Williams who conceded there was never any credible threat to either himself or Dale Cayetano, who oversaw Hartin’s child custody battle with ex-partner Andrew Ashcroft, the son of Britain’s Lord Ashcroft.
‘They came to me and said, you’re free to go. I went to walk out the front door and they said, no, no, no, go out the back door,’ she told the Mail.
‘I knew exactly what that meant. The police are notorious in Belize and it’s a trick they use. They typically either shoot you dead or arrest you again and hit you with more charges for trying to escape.
Hartin and former partner Andrew, 44, had five-year-old twins Charlie and Elle together before opening the sprawling Alaia in May 2021
‘I said, not a chance in hell. I know exactly what you’re up to, you guys will shoot me in the back. They started laughing at me and said, you’re smart Hartin.
‘They also wouldn’t give me food or water and they made me clean out the toilet with my bare hands, it was disgusting.’
In Belize Hartin met Andrew Ashcroft. The manslaughter case brought about the end of their relationship after he allegedly barred her from their apartment and limited access to their five-year-old twins, Charlie and Elle.
Hartin filed for custody in the family court but the case ended abruptly after Commissioner Williams announced that an unnamed woman had allegedly hired a Belize City street gang to take out himself and Cayetano.
On May 26, 2022 – six days after Hartin was taken in for questioning – Cayetano handed legal custody of the children to their father, who soon left Belize and moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands to launch a new hotel.