The partner of the son of millionaire Tory peer Lord Ashcroft accused of shooting dead a policeman in Belize has reportedly claimed she had ‘no idea’ the gun was still loaded.
Jasmine Hartin, 32, was arrested earlier this week in the Caribbean tax haven after her friend Henry Jemmott, a local police superintendent and father of five, was killed with his pistol.
She was charged with manslaughter by negligence and remanded in Belize Central jail, which once appeared on the ‘World’s Toughest Prisons’ documentary series and is said to be plagued by scorpions and gang tensions.
Forensic evidence convinced prosecutors that Ms Hartin had been practising unloading and loading Supt Jemmott’s police-issue handgun, according to reports.
Police have said initial investigations indicate the pair had been drinking alone on a pier in the town of San Pedro where the 42-year-old officer was found dead on May 28.
Days earlier, Supt Jemmott is said to have suggested Ms Hartin get a gun after a man became aggressive towards her at a party.
He reportedly first gave her his pistol to practice unloading and reloading the bullets as he drove her home after the incident.
Ms Hartin, originally from Canada, is not believed to have spoken to the media about the incident.
But the Mail on Sunday reports she told police: ‘We’re sitting on the pier and I start loading and unloading his gun again.
‘The last time I did it, he took the bullets as I was unloading and placed them on the left side of him. I then put the gun, with the magazine clipped inside it, beside me to the right.’
At one point, the 32-year-old reportedly moved behind Supt Jemmott to give him a shoulder-rub, after which he suggested heading back into town and her to hand him the magazine so he could reload his weapon.
Ms Hartin is said to have added: ‘I picked up the gun and tried to eject the magazine clip but it was stuck.
‘I struggled with it, trying to get the magazine out, when the gun suddenly went off. I had no idea it still had a bullet in the chamber.’
Supt Jemmott was found in the water with a single bullet wound to the head
Ms Hartin, partner of Andrew Ashcroft, was found nearby with what appeared to be blood on her arms and clothes, Belize Police Commissioner Chester Williams told a news conference. The mother-of-two is next due in court on Wednesday.
Mr Ashcroft’s father holds Belizean citizenship and was once its representative at the United Nations.
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