Aust sailor captured on US police video

Aust sailor captured on US police video

Florida police have released video footage of Australian sailor and murder accused Lewis Bennett involved in an emotional confrontation with his ex-wife’s family.

The video was shot by a Boca Raton police officer’s body camera two weeks after Isabella Hellman went missing.

It captures Ms Hellman’s mother and sister as Bennett, who has the couple’s baby daughter Emelia in a car, attempts to retrieve his laptop and other items from a house.

Bennett was later charged with murdering Ms Hellman, a US citizen, during a honeymoon cruise on a catamaran from Cuba to Florida in May last year.

It was just Bennett and Ms Hellman on the 12 metre catamaran and her body was never found.

Prosecutors allege Bennett, a dual Australian/British citizen, committed the murder and sunk the catamaran near the Bahamas after Ms Hellman refused to follow his wish and move with their daughter to Australia.

“The murder of Hellman would end the financial stress placed on the defendant due to his relationship with Hellman, allow the defendant to profit financially from her murder, and enable the defendant to permanently move to Australia with their daughter, a place where he wanted to move to, but Hellman did not want to live,” prosecutors wrote in a recent US District Court filing.

Ms Hellman’s family has been suspicious of Bennett since he was rescued in a life raft on May 15 last year by the US Coast Guard but Ms Hellman was never found.

The family placed listening devices in Ms Hellman’s Florida apartment while Bennett was residing there after he was rescued, according to court documents.

A Boca Raton police officer was present when Bennett went to Ms Hellman’s parents’ home seeking a laptop, iPad and other items he alleged the family took and that is when the emotional confrontation erupted.

On the bodycam footage Emelia is in Bennett’s car in a driveway and Ms Hellman’s mother is desperate to see the baby.

Bennett, 41, is in custody ahead of his murder trial in Florida in December.

Emelia is believed to be with his parents in Britain.

Prosecutors said Bennett told authorities the couple was on the catamaran on the evening of May 14, 2017 when he retired to the cabin to sleep while Ms Hellman stayed at the helm.

Bennett claimed the catamaran struck an unknown object and when he came up from the cabin he did not see Ms Hellman, the vessel was taking on water, he deployed a life raft, abandoned ship and with a satellite phone called a friend in Australia to alert the US Coast Guard, prosecutors allege.


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