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Shocking new photos reveal how a British sailor sank his yacht to drown his newlywed wife on their honeymoon.
Lewis Bennett, 41, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter after his wife Isabella Hellmann disappeared when the couple’s 37-foot catamaran sank off Cuba.
The sailor apparently smashed giant holes in the hull of the yacht and opened 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.
Sailor husband pleads guilty
Bennett previously denied killing the Colombian real 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. He will be sentenced in Miami on January 29.
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.
Hellmann’s body has not been found and she is presumed dead.
In court documents, police allege Bennett, who is originally from England, 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 anymore” and that she “found an angry person” when she came home.
She also said she was “afraid to get home,” The Times of London reports.
Court documents detail the text messages, which also read: “Sometimes I can be a pain in the ass 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.”