Lewis Bennett of murdering his wife Isabella Hellman on honeymoon.
A British sailor is accused of murdering his wife Isabella Hellmann and deliberately sinking their boat in order to inherit her estate, prosecutors have alleged.
Lewis Bennet, 41, was rescued alone off the coast of Cuba without the mother of his young daughter.
The FBI are charging him with murder, and he is due to go on trial accused of second degree murder in December.
The newlyweds were sailing towards their home in May last year when Bennett made an SOS call saying that his 41-year-old wife was missing and the vessel was sinking.
According to court papers filed this week, Ms Hellmann’s family bugged her home in Florida, to listen to Mr Bennett’s conversations because they suspected him in her disappearance.
Prosecutor Benjamin Greenberg argued they show the pair were ‘consistently’ rowing. ‘With potentially one of the arguments ultimately resulting in the murder of Hellmann,’ he said.
‘Hellmann’s murder would remove the marital strife from the defendant’s life,’ he added.
‘It would allow the defendant to live his life as he pleased, and would enable him to inherit money from Hellmann’s estate, all of which provide strong circumstantial proof that the defendant had a strong motive to murder Hellmann.’
In the case of Ms Hellman’s death, her husband would inherit her home as well as the contents of her bank account.
The prosecution also alleges he was smuggling rare stolen coins — gold and silver coins stolen from his former employer in St Maarten.
It is also alleged that Ms Hellmann discovered these coins, thereby making her an accomplice in the crime.
This ‘potentially led to an intense argument resulting in Hellmann’s murder’, said prosecutor Mr Greenberg.