Billionaire Lord Ashcroft paid for police gym & jail on island where Jasmine Hartin is charged over ‘shooting cop dead’
BRITISH billionaire Lord Ashcroft paid for a police gym and jail on the island where his son’s partner is charged with shooting a cop dead.
Jasmine Hartin, 32, is facing manslaughter by negligence charges after the body of Superintendent Henry Jemmott was found floating in the sea near San Pedro in Belize on Friday.
Jasmine Hartin/Linked InJasmine Hartin, 32, is facing manslaughter by negligence charges[/caption]
pixel8000The body of Henry Jemmott was found floating in the sea near San Pedro on Friday[/caption]
AFPLord Ashcroft paid for a police gym and jail on the island where his son’s partner is charged[/caption]
The peer, who lives in Belize but remains active in British politics, has been a major investor in the Caribbean country for decades – including to its police force, MailOnline reports.
In February, he officially opened a new $135,600 gym he funded at the main Belizean police station.
He also donated $60,000 worth of Covid protective equipment to police after being awarded an ‘outstanding citizen award’ for his generosity in July last year.
Even Belize’s infamous Central Prison – which featured on the Netflix doc Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons and is where daughter-in-law Hartin was moved on Tuesday – has benefited directly from Lord Ashcroft.
Known as the “Hattieville Ramada”, the facility currently houses 1,041 prisoners in small concrete cell blocks where they are held for months and sometimes even years as they await trial.
The Kolbe Foundation, which runs the prison, is listed as one of Lord Ashcroft’s Foundation’s key charitable projects on his website.
In his 2005 biography, Lord Ashcroft – who served as the Belizean Ambassador to the United Nations from 1998 to 2000 – admitted his interests there have been “exempt from certain taxes for 30 years”.
FacebookHartin, pictured with a rifle, said she shot the cop by accident[/caption]
The San Pedro SunHartin was transferred to one of Central America’s toughest prisons[/caption]
Four years later, the country’s then prime minister Dean Barrow, told his parliament: “Ashcroft is an extremely powerful man.
“His net worth may well be equal to Belize’s entire GDP. He is nobody to cross.”
He was caught up in controversy in 2007 when his Belize Bank faced 80 separate charges of failing to comply with anti-money-laundering laws, but the case was withdrawn over fears any financial damage to the bank would trigger the collapse of the Belizean economy.
There was no suggestion of wrongdoing by Lord Ashcroft, whose son Andrew is in a long-term relationship with Hartin.
The mother-of-two is charged with fatally shooting Supt Jemmott on May 28, but she has insisted it was an accident.
She said she had been giving him a massage on a pier after a boozy night out when she attempted to hand his service pistol back to him and it suddenly fired.
Family members of the slain cop have slammed law enforcement’s decision to charge the Canadian-born socialite with manslaughter rather than murder, insisting “this is not justice”.
FacebookCherry Jemmott and her brother Henry Jemmott[/caption]
The San Pedro SunHartin was escorted by a policewoman out of the station and transferred to a tiny concrete cell[/caption]
One of the cop’s sisters, Marie Jemmott Tzul, who is currently looking after her brother’s five kids, told 7 News Belize: “I would just say I am disappointed in the police department and that’s not only my opinion but it’s a consensus of my family, his friends and the general Belizean people.
“I had faith in all the police department. It’s one of their own and I think in my honest opinion with due respect to them, I think they should have took that to court as murder and let the court decide.
“That’s my humble and honest opinion. It’s a big disrespect to my brother who have served for 23 years plus and if it was anybody in his shoes, if the tables were turned, they would have done the correct thing.”
Hartin, after being deemed a flight risk, was denied bail on Monday and was transferred to one of Central America’s toughest prisons after four days cramped in a tiny concrete cell inside the magistrate’s court complex in San Pedro.
Wearing a pink hoodie and a face mask, Hartin was escorted by a policewoman out of the station and put onto the back of a golf cart.
Her partner Andrew is the youngest of Lord Ashcroft’s three children from his first marriage and is a citizen of Belize. They run swanky local hotel Alaia together.
Lord Ashcroft has not yet commented on the incident.
Facebook / Henry JemmottSenior cop Henry Jemmott was shot dead in the early hours of Friday morning[/caption]
Hartin was initially uncooperative with investigators after her arrest
As Hartin was charged with manslaughter by negligence, rather than fully-fledged manslaughter or murder, she faces a maximum sentence of five years behind bars.
But she could also escape with just a fine of around US$10,000, local reports say.
Her lawyer, Godfrey Smith, is a former Attorney General and Foreign Affairs minister of Belize and a member of the ruling People’s United Party, according to MailOnline.
Another sister of the slain cop, Cherry Jemmott, who is also an assistant superintendent in the Belize Police, voiced outrage over the socialite’s charges.
“It’s not right. It’s not right. The family will feel really bad. This is not justice,” she told the Daily Mail.
“My brother will have a state funeral on June 12. He gave 24 years to the police. And this is the value they put on his life?”
Cherry also said she believes Hartin should have been charged with murder and then taken to trial, where a jury could decide whether or not the killing was manslaughter.
“Within seven working days she will get bail, I predict it. She can afford it,” she said.
Hartin was reportedly ‘hysterical’ when she was found at the scene of the shootingFacebook / Henry JemmottHenry Jemmott’s body was later discovered by someone on a passing boat[/caption]
Facebook / Henry JemmottFamily of the victim have insisted there was no romantic relationship between Hartin and Jemmott[/caption]
And a former colleague of Supt Jemmot, Darrell Tutsi Usher, said he “can’t get his head round” Hartin’s story and said a “disciplined” officer would never have turned his back on a loaded weapon.
“To the all accounts that I heard from it, it’s not adding up, especially to the last account when they say they were playing with the gun and the gun gone off and shot him in his head back,” he told 7 News Belize.
Hartin told police she had been giving Supt Jemmott a massage on a pier near the shuttered Mata Rocks hotel, with the cop placing his gun on the ground.
‘STATE OF PANIC’
She claims he asked her to hand his gun back to him when suddenly it went off in her hand, with a single bullet striking him in the head.
Cops said Supt Jemmott then fell on top of her and, in a state of panic, Hartin tried to push him off of her causing his body to fall into the water.
His corpse was later discovered by someone on a passing boat and Hartin was reportedly “hysterical” when she was found at the scene.
Police in Belize said that a single gunshot was heard – and officers then found the woman on the pier with “blood on her arms and her clothing”.
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Friends and family of the victim have insisted there was no romantic relationship between Hartin and Jemmott.
But Jemmott’s family has raised doubt over Hartin’s version of events, with one of his sisters saying he “had a gunshot behind his ear like an assassination”.
Sources have claimed to 7 News Belize that Jemmott’s gun had a trigger safety mechanism which made it “impossible” for it to be fired accidentally.