Shocking new photos reveal how a British sailor allegedly deliberately sank his yacht to drown his newlywed wife on their honeymoon.
According to The Sun, Lewis Bennett, 41, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter after his wife Isabella Hellmann disappeared when the couple’s 37ft catamaran sank off Cuba.
The sailor stands accused of smashing giant holes in the hull and opening escape hatches in a bid to inherit the estate of his wife of three months.
Prosecutors have released photos of the damage Bennett allegedly inflicted in an attempt to make Hellman’s death look like an accident.
The FBI claims the holes were smashed from the inside of the catamaran and the ship’s portholes below the waterline of the vessel had been opened.
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SAILOR HUSBAND PLEADS GUILTY
Bennett had previously denied killing the Colombian estate agent and originally faced charges of second degree murder.
But he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter in November 2018 and now faces up to eight years in prison.
The mining engineer told the FBI that he and Hellmann took their catamaran, Surf Into Summer, for a Caribbean cruise in May 2017.
As it passed the Bahamas, he sent out an emergency radio signal.
When the Coast Guard found him on a life raft three hours later, he told rescuers he left Hellmann on deck as he retired for the night to their cabin.
He said he was jolted awake when their craft hit something and that his wife was gone when he went outside.
‘HOLES SMASHED FROM THE INSIDE’
Bennett said he abandoned the catamaran in a life raft because it was sinking.
The Florida court heard he made no effort to find his wife, instead he loaded items onto a life raft after their vessel sunk.
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.
She also said she was “afraid to get home”, The Times reports.
Court documents detail the text messages, which also read: “Sometimes I can be a pain in the a** and more but you need to change your attitude … you make me crazy shouting, yelling, swearing … YOU ARE PUSHING ME AWAY.”
Months before Hellmann’s disappearance, she wrote: “If you don’t like me or love me anymore let us fix this asap because is very pathetic the way you treated me all the time.”
According to The Daily Mail, Prosecutors allege Bennett, a dual Australian/British citizen, committed the murder and sunk the catamaran after Hellman refused to follow his wish and move with their baby daughter to Australia.
This story first appeared in The Sun and is republished with permission.