A British sailor deliberately sank a boat so as to kill his wife, while they were on honeymoon, just three months after their wedding. Though Lewis Bennett denied being responsible for his wife Isabella Hellmann’s death back in 2018, new photos have emerged showing how he killed her.
He tried to cover up her death then claimed that she had gone missing at sea in the Caribbean in April 2017, just three months after they got married. But Bennett’s wife’s family didn’t believe his story and accused him of killing her. New photos released show how Bennett sabotaged the ship to make his wife’s death look like a tragic accident, according to prosecutors.
Bennett is accused of intentionally sinking the 37-foot catamaran on May 15, 2017, by opening escape hatches and damaging its twin hulls. The FBI believe Bennett also opened the ship’s portholes below the waterline and damaged the vessel from the inside. In one photo released by the US Coast Guard, a giant hole can be seen in the ship’s side, where water would have poured in.
Prosecutors allege Bennett, from Poole, Dorset, killed Hellmann so he could get out of a strained marriage and inherit her home and money. The authorities think it may have happened after she discovered her husband was in possession of gold and silver coins stolen from his former employer in St Maarten.
Bennett was jailed for seven months after admitting transporting the coins and is currently serving a seven-month jail sentence. He now faces an additional eight-year prison term when he is jailed for manslaughter, and prosecutors are seeking a maximum sentence. The FBI says an inspection of the catamaran before it sank showed portholes below the waterline had been opened. Damage to the twin hulls appeared to have been caused from the inside, meaning the boat may have been intentionally scuttled. Prosecutors believe the pair had an ‘intense argument’ before the incident.
Within 24 hours of her disappearance, Bennett asked for a ‘letter of presumed death’ so he could settle his wife’s estate. Hellmann’s body has not been found and she is presumed dead. In court documents, police allege Bennett, from Poole in Dorset, killed his wife to end “marital strife” between the couple. And Hellmann’s text messages have revealed that she felt Bennett did not “respect her any more” and that she “found an angry person” when she came home.
This story first appeared in The Sun and is republished with permission.