The socialite charged with killing a top cop in Belize has now been arrested amid allegations that she tried to put out a hit on the police commissioner and a magistrate.
But in a bizarre twist in a case that has had many, the man who leveled the accusation against Jasmine Hartin is also behind bars after she told cops he sexually assaulted her.
“One crazy man is spreading lies about me,” Hartin told 7 News Belize in a phone call before her arrest on Thursday.
Hartin, 33, is the estranged wife of the son of Britain’s Lord Michael Ashcroft, a powerful figure in Belize and a patron of the police department.
Last year, the mother of two was thrust into the headlines when she shot and killed Police Supt. Henry Jemmott on a pier after an evening of drinking.
She insists that Jemmott, a friend, was showing her how to load and unload a gun—and she was taking out the magazine of his Glock 17 when it accidentally went off and shot him.
She was charged with manslaughter by negligence and has been out on bond awaiting trial. But things have not been peaceful.
Hartin has been locked in a fierce battle for custody of her children with her husband, hotelier Andrew Ashcroft; fighting allegations of drug use; and facing calls for harsher treatment from Jemmott’s family.
Things really went sideways this week, Hartin said, when she reported that a maintenance worker, Lionel “Piggy” Neal, had attacked and threatened to tell authorities that she was plotting to kill numerous people.
“I’m like this is absurd, so I made sure I went to the police station, I filed the report, he was detained later that day,” she told 7 News on Wednesday night. “It’s the biggest made-up story ever. There is no grounds, no proof, nothing.”
The next day, when she went to the police station for her usual weekly check-in, she was detained.
Neal, meanwhile, reportedly claims he has been in a romantic relationship with Hartin for months. He was released on bond with orders to stay away from Hartin.
Police Commissioner Chester Williams said “those who we believe have been hired to carry out the hit” were also picked up by investigators to be interrogated.
Asked if detectives had any credible evidence that Hartin was actually trying to hire hitmen, Williams told reporters, “Certainly it would appear there was some talking at the very least, and you know things normally start from a talk or you cultivate things in your mind and then from there it comes to fruition.”
“The fact there was some talking, means that there is some credibility to it and that’s the reason why I’ve said it is important for us to get to the bottom of it and do not take it for granted.”