It’s where the socialite caroused with locals, sang karaoke, and performed ‘ass-shaking’ Caribbean dance moves on countertops, owner Gene Lopez revealed
(Daily Mail) – Accused socialite Jasmine Hartin shunned high society to carouse with working class cops in Belize at a tropical speakeasy famed for its soundproofed party rooms and marijuana-laced cognac.
The mom-of-two, who faces a manslaughter by negligence charge for killing police Superintendent Henry Jemmott, was a regular patron at the Crazy House Bar n Kitchen in San Pedro, according to owner Gene Lopez.
Lopez told DailyMail.com how care-free Hartin, 32, would buy round after round of drinks while entertaining pals with karaoke renditions of Bob Marley and the smash hit Shaggy song ‘It Wasn’t Me.’
The businessman says he never witnessed the common law wife of British billionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft’s son taking drugs or drinking to excess but had to tell her off on several occasions for climbing on the countertop to perform ‘ass-shaking’ Caribbean dance moves.
In an extraordinary twist, Lopez, who also runs a security firm, was one of the first people to come across Hartin after she ‘accidentally’ shot dead father-of-five Jemmott in the Belizean coastal resort of Ambergris Caye.
Lopez raced to the Mata Rocks pier last Friday morning after a guard raised the alarm and was stunned to find his well-heeled regular spattered in blood and facing arrest.
‘Jasmine would come to Crazy House to relax. She was a regular customer for two years. I never had a problem with her,’ he told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.
‘She would exhale as soon as she walked through the door because she could be herself here. She had a luxurious life but she enjoyed being with locals, she felt more alive.
‘She explained that being rich, you have to be high and mighty, respectful, you can’t be yourself. And she enjoyed life, she enjoyed freedom.’
As the common law wife of Lord Ashcroft’s youngest son Andrew, Hartin rubbed shoulder with jet-setting expats and was dubbed the ‘Queen of the Alaia’, a reference to the gleaming new beachfront resort the family recently opened.
But it was in Crazy House, less than a mile down an unpaved road leading into the heart of the island’s working class San Pablo neighborhood, that the Canadian national could truly kick back and have fun, explained Lopez, 48.
Spanning three floors, the homely establishment comprises dining rooms and cozy lounges separated by soundproofed walls so patrons are free to play their own music and make as much noise as they like.
Lopez stocks 20 kinds of rum, Belize’s popular Belikin beer as well as a legal marijuana-infused liquor blend known as Bitters. There’s a roof deck where customers can laze about in hammocks.
Getting in can be tough though as the former policeman only lets in a dozen people at a time so he can prevent the place losing its chilled out Caribbean vibe.
‘At Crazy House you’re free to you do as you please as long as it’s within the confines of the law,’ Lopez explained to DailyMail.com.
‘When you get off work, you need to relax and get your medication, which are beers and rum and stuff like that, you need to calm down, this is the place.
‘We are more customer friendly versus wanting the high and mighty dollar. We give you the remote, you play your music at whatever volume you want and you do not disturb the person next to you.
‘The music don’t clash because every room is soundproofed. If we have at least 12 customers within the entire compound we lock the door until somebody leaves. It’s not private, it’s open but protected.’
Lopez said that once a month Hartin would call ahead to say she was heading over.
There could be as many as 50 people in line to get in but Hartin had to wait her turn like everyone else, irrespective of her status and gilded position among the Belizean elite.
‘At one point in time she would come and stay sometimes until six in the morning. Sometimes she would come alone and get a hammock and she would just relax,’ Lopez said.
‘She would have one or two cocktails. I’ve never seen her drunk, ever. Whatever she did she could always remember it in the morning.
‘A time would come when of course she would bring friends and they got drunk. She was very liberal, she would spend and they would have a good time.
‘A lot of people misinterpreted her kindness, they exploited her. At times the bartender would have to say, hey your bill is 200 dollars and she would say, that’s ok, let them have fun.
‘People were pumping her for drinks, money, whatever they could get their hands on.
‘She would sing and she would dance. It wouldn’t really be considered twerking but it’s Caribbean dancing, you’ve got to move your ass.
‘Her choice of music would be soca and reggae. She could sing the songs from the beginning to the end. Maybe Bob Marley or Shaggy.
‘She was treated like any regular customer and if she ever went beyond the expectations of Crazy House, we would say, hey Jaz, we know you’re at Crazy House but you don’t have to be crazy.
‘A few times she got up on the counter but we told her Jaz people have to eat off there.’
Lopez said Hartin would be accompanied by both men and women, and often by police officers. On one occasion she was joined by her partner who walked inside but stayed only a few minutes.
Supt. Jemmott was another Crazy House patron from time to time but Lopez didn’t recall seeing them there at the same time.
‘The names I would rather not mention but she does have a lot of friends. It was mostly police officers, some her age, some older. Regular constables. There were no expats,’ Lopez added.
‘For some reason I think she was drawn towards police officers. I think she felt a lot safer being with them. They would dance, they would talk, they would have laughs. They would drive her vehicle, a small Chevy car, drop her home.’
Lopez served in the Belize Police Department for eight years and set up his LAG security firm two decades ago which provides guards for many of the top hotels in Ambergris Caye.
In the five years since he opened Crazy House, he said he never saw Hartin snort cocaine or take any other drug and would not have tolerated her doing so.
She was never in any kind of trouble, as far as he knew, until a female security guard called Lopez out to last week’s shooting and he came across Hartin at the crime scene.
‘Earlier they saw two people at the dock. They appeared to be conversing. Later on she heard a bang,’ Lopez recalled.
‘She walked around to make sure everything was ok, she looked over at Mata Rocks pier and she saw one person. She said the person is pacing to and fro on the pier.’
Lopez advised his employee to call the police and not to confront the stranger. It was only when he got there and the petite figure was led towards him that he recognized his party-loving customer.
‘I saw this white female coming down the pier with blood on the left side of her clothing. She had her hands on her heard. I looked at her, I was stunned and I said, Jasmine?
‘She didn’t answer me. She said, does anybody have a cigarette? It was crazy.’
A criminal complaint obtained by DailyMail.com reveals cops found Jemmott’s Glock 17 on the pier with an empty shell casing lodged in the chamber. Scattered nearby were loose 9mm rounds and a magazine.
The law enforcement veteran’s lifeless body was found floating face up 30ft from the shore. He had been shot once, behind the ear.
Hartin told investigators the pair had been talking and socializing and that she had offered Jemmott a massage when he complained of a sore shoulder.
She insists she fired by accident when he asked her to hand him his service weapon which he had placed on the ground.
DailyMail.com revealed this week that Jemmott had boasted to a friend that he had a date on the night of his death but wouldn’t tell him who it was.
He said he would take his secret ‘to the grave’ when the curious pal asked for details of the mystery woman.
Hartin has been remanded at the notoriously tough Hattieville prison on the Belizean mainland after she was deemed a flight risk and refused bail.