Mystery still surrounds the shooting death of a top police officer in Belize after the daughter-in-law of billionaire Tory donor Lord Ashcroft’s was charged in the case.
Canadian socialite Jasmine Hartin, who is married to the peer’s son Andrew, allegedly told police she accidentally shot superintendent Henry Jemmott in the head with his Glock 9mm service pistol as they met late at night.
Mr Jemmott, 42, was found dead in shallow water next to a hotel pier in the upscale coastal enclave of Ambergris Caye, and Hartin, 32, was charged with manslaughter by negligence and denied bail.
The shooting has shocked the Central American country and left the public in search of answers amid speculation that Hartin could escape with just a fine after police decided not to charge her with murder or manslaughter.
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Questions still surround her late-night meeting with Mr Jemmott on May 28, how he suffered a fatal gunshot wound behind his right ear, the gun used in the shooting, and his claims that he was going on a date.
Hartin and her husband Andrew, 44, reside in the country, which is set on the Caribbean Sea, and run the Alaia Belize hotel group.
Mr Ashcroft is the youngest child of billionaire Tory donor and businessman Lord Ashcroft, 75, who holds dual British and Belizean nationality.
Mum-of-two Hartin remains in custody after being denied bail on Wednesday, as prosecutors argued she is a flight risk.
Here are some of the mysteries surrounding the case.
What was the reason for the meeting?
A criminal complaint obtained by MailOnline states Hartin and Mr Jemmott had been “socialising” on the wooden pier at the Mata Rocks hotel for an hour when a security guard heard a “loud bang” at about 12.45am on May 28.
It is thought the pair, out late despite an overnight Covid curfew in Belize, had been drinking together.
Hartin was found “covered in red substance as that of blood” and Mr Jemmott was found floating on his back about 30ft from the shore.
He had suffered a gunshot wound behind his right hear, the document states.
Did the officer go on a date?
Dad-of-five Mr Jemmott, who has a long-term partner, told a friend he was going on a date the night he was killed, it is claimed.
He allegedly joked he would take his secret “to the grave” when his friend asked him who he was going on a date with.
The friend told MailOnline that Mr Jemmott had boasted about being “friends” with the Ashcrofts and staying at the couple’s Grand Colony Villas for free.
The friend said: “I said, ‘where are you going tonight’ and he said, ‘I have a date’.
“He called the girl. When I heard the voice I asked who she was. He joked, ‘that’s my secret, this one I’m taking to my grave’ and he did take it.”
How did the shooting occur?
Sources claim to 7 News that Hartin initially told police that Mr Jemmott was shot by someone in a passing boat, but changed her story after officers threatened to charge her with cocaine possession.
It is alleged she later told officers she was giving Mr Jemmott a shoulder massage when he asked her to hand him his Glock pistol, which had been placed on the pier.
Hartin allegedly told police the gun accidentally went off as she passed it to Mr Jemmott, the report added.
She is said to have told detectives that he collapsed onto her and he fell into the water as she pushed him off.
It appears there were no independent witnesses and her account is the only one police have to go on.
Was it a ‘pistol game’?
Earlier this week, a police source told the Times that the investigation was operating on the belief that Hartin and Mr Jemmott had been playing with his pistol under the influence of alcohol.
Mr Jemmott’s friends and family described him as a responsible officer who was careful with his service weapon.
Was Hartin in possession of cocaine?
Police Commissioner Chester Williams told 7 News that a charge of cocaine possession could be laid.
It comes following reports alleging a small amount of the drug was found in Hartin’s purse.
Mr Williams said: “That is something that, I’m not too sure at this time where that small amount of drugs was found, but it is something that will be looked at.”
A reporter asked: “So there may be subsequent charges for that?”
The police commissioner replied: “There could be, yes.”
Was the gun’s safety lever off?
The type of Glock 9mm pistol involved in the death has a built-in safety lever over the trigger to prevent accidental shootings, say experts.
Both have to be depressed for the weapon to fire.
Retired police captain Michael Van Durme, 65, who teaches gun safety in the US, told the Sun: “You have to have a firm grip on the trigger and pull it all the way back for it to go off.
“It has a safety built into the trigger – there’s a lever in the middle of it which also has to be pulled back the whole way in order for it to shoot.
“I guess someone could grab hold of the gun, stick their finger in it and hit the trigger by accident. That’s certainly a possibility.”
Will Hartin avoid jail if convicted?
It has been speculated that Hartin could receive a fine of about 20,000 Belizean dollars (£7,000) and avoid a prison sentence if she were to plead guilty to a charge of manslaughter by negligence
Police have not charged her with murder or manslaughter.
She remains in custody and is due to return to court on May 8.
Prosecutor Shanice Lovell described Hartin as a “serious flight risk”.
Meanwhile, Mr Jemmott’s family have slammed the decision to charge Hartin with the lesser offence of manslaughter by negligence.
They say she should have been charged with murder.
His sister, Marie Jemmott Tzul, told Belize Breaking News they are planning to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Hartin.
Mr Williams, the police commissioner, defended the decision to lay a charge of manslaughter by negligence instead of a more serious offence.
He told reporters: “I have said from day one that we were going to do this investigation as impartially as we possibly can and that there was going to be no special treatment.”