A British man — who reported to the police that his American wife had disappeared at sea after their catamaran sank off the coast of Cuba — has recently confessed that he killed his wife.
The man who has been identified as Lewis Bennett got married to Isabella Hellmann in 2017. The couple had been married for three months before she went missing. According to detectives, the body was never found. On Monday, Bennett admitted a “charge of involuntary manslaughter at a hearing in Miami, Florida,” the BBC reported.
According to a previous report by the BBC, 41-year-old Lewis Bennett from Poole in Dorset was rescued in May 2017 after he sent an SOS message saying that his wife Isabella Hellmann –also 41 — was missing. He claimed that he was resting in the boat’s cabin when he was “woken by a loud noise.” He added that when he went to on deck, he saw that the “sails and the rigging were loose and his wife was nowhere to be found.”
After an investigation was launched into the matter, the FBI accused Bennett of scuttling their 37ft (11m) vessel on purpose as they sailed towards their U.S. home in Florida. He was consequently arrested in February.
Per the BBC report, Bennett — who is a British-Australian dual citizen — had been due to stand trial in December charged with second-degree murder. He, however, pleaded guilty to a “reduced charge of unlawful killing without malice after striking a plea deal.”
U.S. prosecutors alleged that Bennett killed his wife to bring an end to a “marital strife” so that he could inherit Helmann’s Delray Beach apartment as well as her bank balance. Bennett and his deceased wife also have a young daughter.
According to a report by Sky News, U.S. attorney Fajardo Orshan reacted to Bennett’s plea and said the following:
“Although nothing can ever erase the pain and suffering caused by Lewis Bennett’s criminal acts, the US Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners hope that the defendant’s admission of guilt is a step toward justice for the victim, Ms Isabella Hellmann, and her family. The federal government remains committed to the safety and security of our U.S. citizens, whether they are at home in South Florida or travelling on the high seas.”
Bennett was given a jail sentence for smuggling stolen coins, which according to BBC was worth $38,480. He admitted to stealing the coins from his former employer in St Maarten. The report said that Hellmann might have found out about the stolen coins and there is a possibility of her being an “accomplice” in the smuggling crime.
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