1. An Australian man has been charged with murdering his wife on their honeymoon cruise.
Lewis Bennett charged with murdering wife on catamaran off Cuba https://t.co/JdWLM0wTdy
— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 20, 2018
Australian sailor Lewis Bennett is facing charges of second-degree murder, with US authorities alleging he intentionally sank a catamaran to kill his wife during their honeymoon cruise from Cuba to Florida.
Bennett, an Australian-UK citizen, was rescued on May 15 last year by a US Coast Guard helicopter after he abandoned the sinking 12-metre catamaran he had been sailing with Colombian-born wife Isabella Hellman, 41.
He’d claimed he was asleep and he believed his wife was at the helm at around 1am when he heard a thud.
He told investigators his wife vanished and he abandoned the vessel into a life raft west of The Bahamas.
Hellman was never found and Bennett took the couple’s one-year-old daughter Emelia, who was not on the catamaran, to England soon after the incident and she is being cared for by his family.
Hellman’s family wants Emelia returned to the US.
Authorities do not believe Bennett’s account adds up.
A Coast Guard expert determined the catamaran had suffered intentional damage, not from a collision, but “from inside the vessel” in both hulls.
Two escape hatches were also open below the waterline, leading to flooding in the cabin, investigators alleged.
“The opening of both escape hatches is unexplainable as an accident and defies prudent seamanship,” a US Coast Guard Academy associate professor of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering told investigators, AAP reports.