US Alleges British Sailor Sank Boat to Hide Wife's Murder

The FBI first picked up Lewis Bennett on a smuggling charge that's since evolved
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2018 4:00 PM CDT
Sailor Sank Boat to Hide Wife's Murder, Officials Say
Lewis Bennett.   (Handout)

Prosecutors say a British sailor initially arrested on charges he was smuggling gold and silver coins while on a voyage to Cuba now includes murder charges. The FBI believes Lewis Bennett killed his wife, Isabella Hellman, as they plied the Atlantic last year, the Guardian reports. After Bennett was rescued alone, he faced theft and attempted smuggling charges for allegedly stealing gold and silver coins authorities say belonged to a former employer in St. Maarten. As the Palm Beach Post reports, Bennett was just about to be sentenced to seven months in jail for the crimes when prosecutors charged him with second-degree murder.

While Bennett told police following his rescue that he awoke on his 37-foot catamaran May 15, 2017, to a loud thud and went on deck to find his wife gone, prosecutors have outlined a more sinister chain of events. They have suggested a fight may have occurred between the husband and wife, possibly concerning the coins, that led Bennett to kill her. The couple's daughter is reportedly in England with Bennett's parents. He is slated to appear in a Miami federal court on the new charges Dec. 10. (Read more murder stories.)

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