Socialite Jasmine Hartin has reportedly confessed to the fatal shooting of a police officer in the Central American nation of Belize.
Initially, the 32-year-old daughter-in-law of British billionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft claimed that 42-year-old San Pedro Superintendent Henry Jemmott had been shot dead on Friday by someone on a passing boat, local law enforcement officers told 7 News Belize.
However, after investigators threatened her with a drug charge for cocaine possession, Belize Commissioner of Police Chester Williams said the socialite "provided a statement under caution."
According to local reports, Hartin – a Canadian who lives in Belize with her husband, Andrew Ashcroft, a well-known developer – said she was giving Jemmott a shoulder massage while they were drinking together on a San Pedro pier. She told cops she accidentally shot him while handing him his service Glock pistol.
Hartin said Jemmott then fell on her, and in her panic to get him off, his body fell off the pier and into the water, where it was found, police have said.
However, Jemmott's family isn't totally buying the story, as his sister, Assistant Police Superintendent Cherry Jemmott, pointed out that he "had a gunshot [wound] behind his ear like an assassination."
"He was a top cop," she argued. "I don't know how he let down his guard to be shot with his own gun."
Additionally, sources told 7 News Belize that that an accidental discharge from Henry's Glock was almost impossible, given that it had a trigger safety built into it.
Hartin's attorney – Godfrey Smith – told reporters on Monday that his client had been charged with one count of manslaughter by negligence and that her bail had been denied.
"Manslaughter by negligence is an eminently bailable offence and police don't usually object to bail," noted the local news outlet. "But, in this case they did – because Hartin is a Canadian, and, thus, a flight risk."
In Belize, a charge of manslaughter by negligence is more often accompanied by a fine than a prison sentence.