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Jasmine Hartin: socialite pleads guilty over shooting of police officer in Belize

A 34-year-old Canadian socialite has pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the shooting of a police superintendent in Belize.

Jasmine Hartin, who shot and killed police superintendent Henry Jemmott in May 2021 in what she insisted was an accidental discharge from the officer’s firearm, “entered a tearful plea” at the nation’s supreme court before the start of a scheduled trial, said The Guardian.

Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, she 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.”

She was linked to the death of Jemmott after police found her on a pier near where his body was recovered on 28 May 2021. Officers said she was distressed and covered in blood.

During her bail hearing, it was revealed that Hartin and Jemmott were at a party together on the night of his death. Later, they sat down on a pier, and the officer handed her his gun to put down. When he asked for it back, she struggled with the gun and it accidentally discharged, she told investigators, adding that she had been drinking at the time.

Hartin is a former partner of Andrew Ashcroft, the son of UK businessman Lord Ashcroft. Since the shooting, Hartin has “found herself facing off against the country’s establishment, police service and her former in-laws, the most powerful family in the country”, said the Edmonton Sun, and now her “nightmare odyssey in paradise is slowly marching toward its finale”.

The maximum prison sentence in Belize for manslaughter by negligence is five years. However, reported Channel 5 Belize news, the judge overseeing the case had indicated that Hartin may receive a non-custodial sentence and instead pay a fine.

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