Socialite Jasmine Hartin has insisted she wasn’t drunk and hadn’t taken drugs when she shot and killed Belizean police superintendent Henry Jemmott – as she gave her first TV interview since being charged over the killing.
Hartin, 32, spoke to CBS reporter Peter Van Sant for a world exclusive edition of 48 Hours on Saturday night.
In the interview she admits that she shot and killed Jemmott, a 42-year-old father-of-five, on a moonlit pier in Belize on May 28 – but swears it was accidental.
She also admits that the pair had been drinking cinnamon whiskey before the shooting – but insists she was not drunk.
She also insists she had not taken cocaine, and that the small amount found on her by Belizean authorities was not hers.
But the mother-of-two claims that she is being misjudged, and complained: ‘I’ve been through what I would consider hell on earth.’
She claims that Jemmott was teaching her how to use the gun for her protection, after he had rescued her when she had been sexually assaulted at a party on May 22.
She said: ‘A man followed me into the room and was quite aggressive with me. Physically, in a sexual manner.
‘In that moment, I fought him off me. I called Jemmott right away.
‘He drove an hour to come pick me up. And he kept saying, we need to really work on getting your firearms license.’
She claims that when the pair met up almost a week later, he again encouraged her to learn how to use a gun.
Socialite Jasmine Hartin admits that the pair had been drinking cinnamon whiskey before the shooting – but insists she was not drunk
In a world exclusive, Hartin sat down with CBS reporter Peter Van Sant on 48 Hours
Superintendent Henry Jemmott, a 42-year-old father-of-five, was killed by a bullet from his own service pistol in May
Hartin admits that the pair had been drinking cinnamon whiskey before the shooting on May 28.
She said: ‘He took his like a shot. I was sipping mine.
‘It was a full moon. The stars were gorgeous. We decided, let’s go down, sit on the pier. We were sitting on the edge, our legs kind of dangling, just talking.’
But while she claims Jemmott was a little drunk, she was not impaired herself.
She said: ‘I had had a few drinks. Yeah. I wasn’t drunk.’
She also told Van Sant that she had not taken drugs, and claimed that a small amount of cocaine that was found by police was not hers.
She said: ‘I definitely do not have a drug problem at all. And I will say that the substance that they found was not mine.’
When Van Saint asked who the drugs belonged to, she replied: ‘I don’t think I can say that.’
Hartin insists she had not taken cocaine, and that the small amount found on her by Belizean authorities was not hers
Back at the scene: Jasmine is pictured with Peter Van Sant during the CBS exclusive
Hartin admitted to shooting the police chief on a moonlit pier in Belize on May 28 – but insisted it was an accident
Hartin told Van Sant that Jemmott taught her how to load and unload his Glock 17 pistol and magazine. Hartin claims she was stunned when the gun went off.
She told Van Sant: ‘He says “Can you hand me the magazine from the gun?”. So, I lean over. I pick up the gun.’
Gesturing for the camera, Hartin explains how she was trying to remove the magazine from the gun before it went off.
She said: ‘I’m trying to click out the magazine and it’s not working. So, I’m holding it like this and I’m trying to use the moonlight or whatever to see if I’m clicking the right button.
‘Next thing I know, the gun went off.’
‘And did you have a finger on the trigger?’ Van Sant asks.
‘Not that I thought,’ Hartin replies.
‘Somehow you must have pulled the trigger,’ Van Sant responds.
‘It was an accident or the gun misfired. But – consciously did I pull the trigger? No,’ Hartin says.
Hartin claims Jemmott taught her to use the weapon because he wanted her to have a gun for her personal protection
The blonde socialite is seen behind bars. She is currently out on bond and is awaiting a trial date
A ballistics expert interviewed by CBS said that the Glock 17 is an ‘extremely safe’ handgun.
David Katz, a former DEA agent and a veteran firearms instructor, said: ‘I could bang it. I could drop it. … it’s not going to go off.’
He added: ‘There’s no doubt about it, she pulled the trigger.’
But he said that her account of trying to remove a magazine could mean that she accidentally opened fire.
He said: ‘She talks about where her hand was when the round went off … could it have been an accidental discharge? Absolutely, yes.’
And Katz said Hartin’s account that the pair had been drinking could have been a factor in the shooting.
He said: ‘There’s no better way to get yourself hurt than by messing with firearms when you are impaired.’
Hartin is seen in an old video carrying a pump-action shotgun, then pretending to blow smoke from the barrel
The blonde beauty was living the high life before the tragedy occurred on May 28
Cherry Jemmott, the older sister of Henry, insists that her brother would not have allowed Hartin to use his weapon while he was drunk.
Also speaking to CBS, she said: ‘He is so skillful, and he is so careful. I cannot believe that.’
‘My brother was shot behind the ear. Execution style.’
She added: ‘Jasmine Hartin should be charged for murder and not manslaughter.’
Hartin’s recount contradicts the one she reportedly gave to police just after Jemmott’s death, where she allegedly said the gunshot came from a boat which was sailing in nearby waters.
She told CBS: ‘I don’t remember saying that. Like, it was such a blur. Umm, you know, and I think I was in shock.’
She insisted she was not intentionally trying to mislead police.
Hartin – a glamorous blonde – was in a relationship with Andrew Ashcroft at the time of Jemmott’s death. Ashcroft is the son of Lord Michael Ashcroft, a British politician with a net worth of around $2.2 billion.
Hartin told 48 Hours that the media representation of her glamorous life and personality has been distorted.
‘People perceive me as being… a billionairess and this… entitled, spoiled rich girl… and this wild, crazy, party girl that’s hanging from the rafters,’ she states.
‘That’s not it at all. I’m a businesswoman. I’m a mother. I’m a friend… I’m a wife.’
However, the couple have been embroiled in a bitter custody dispute over their twins since Hartin was charged in June.
In the early hours of May 28, Jasmine Hartin (left) shot Henry Jemmott dead with his own service pistol. She is charged with manslaughter and maintains the shooting was an accident
Ashcroft says his former partner is an unfit mother because of her ‘immoral habits’ and her involvement in the accidental shooting death of the police officer.
‘Her main occupation is socializing and she is addicted to non-prescribed and illegal drugs and is a habitual drunkard,’ Ashcroft has claimed in a court summons.
Hartin read the court document aloud in the CBS interview, and hit back at Ashcroft.
‘In my opinion, this is absolutely war. … This is absolutely gloves are off,’ she told Van Saint.
‘Money, power, image and reputation mean absolutely everything to that family.’
Hartin also said she had been cut off financially by the wealthy family, and that the couple never officially married.
She said that at the time of the shooting, the couple were having trouble.
‘Andrew and I have had a very rocky road,’ she said. ‘We weren’t even sleeping in the same rooms.’
Lord Ashcroft’s son Andrew, 43, and his former partner Jasmine Hartin, 32, who is facing a manslaughter charge in Belize
Andrew Ashcroft claims his ex Jasmine Hartin is unfit to care for twins Charlie and Ellie
The blonde is pictured with her two kids in a social media snap captured before the May shooting
Hartin says Ashcroft has blocked her from seeing her children without any court order or lawful authorization since June 11.
She has also complained to Belizean and Canadian authorities that Ashcroft took their children out of Belize without her permission.
Hartin has claimed no-one from the family of her former partner Ashcroft visited her while she was on bail over the shooting because they had been told they couldn’t have ‘bad press associated with their reputation’.
She said that although she has had a ‘complicated’ seven-year relationship with Ashcroft with many ‘ups and downs’, she has been ‘shocked’ about the Ashcroft family’s treatment of her since her arrest.
Prior to the shooting of Jemmott, Hartin and Ashcroft enjoyed a jet-set lifestyle operating a string of luxurious resorts in Ambergris Caye, a tropical island haven for rich ex-pats off the eastern coast of Belize.
The incident occurred close to this luxury resort operated by Hartin’s partner Andrew Ashcroft
Hartin is awaiting trial, but no court dates have yet been announced.
She was charged with manslaughter by negligence after prosecutors opted against murder or full-fledged manslaughter on the strength of her witness statement insisting it was an accident.
The offence carries a maximum prison sentence of nine months or a fine of around 10,000 Belizean dollars ($5,000 in US money).