New video footage has been released of the British-Australian sailor accused of murdering his American wife involved in a heated row with his partner’s family who were heard shouting: ‘You killed my sister’.
The video captured by a Florida police officer’s body camera, shows 41-year-old Lewis Bennett from Poole, Dorset, speaking with his mother and sisters-in-law just two weeks after his wife Isabella Hellman went missing.
In the video obtained by My Palm Beach Post, Bennett attempts to retrieve his laptop and other items from the family’s house while he has the couple’s baby daughter Emelia in the car.
‘Don’t take my baby. Don’t take my baby,’ Hellman’s mother is heard saying to Bennett before collapsing into Bennett’s arms.
‘Give me my sister back!’, his sister-in-law Dayana Rodriguez tells Bennett when he asks for his wife’s engagement ring – which Dayana says is insured for $26,000.
‘You killed my sister,’ another one of his in-laws cries off camera.
Bennett now awaits trial to face murder charges for allegedly sinking a catamaran he and his wife were sailing from Cuba to Florida in May of last year. Hellman’s body was never recovered. He was arrested in June.
Their daughter Emelia is believed to be living with his parents in England.
Lewis Bennett, 41, (left) from Australia is charged with murder in the death of his wife. Video surfaced showing Bennett in a confrontation with his in-laws (pictured is his wife’s mother) two weeks after his wife’s disappearance
Bennett was smuggling rare stolen coins when he was rescued alone off the coast of Cuba without his US wife Isabella Hellmann (left) in May 2017
It was just Bennett and Hellman on the 37-foot catamaran in May 2017 when the boat sunk.
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 Hellman was never found.
Prosecutors allege Bennett, a dual Australian-British citizen, committed the murder and sunk the catamaran near the Bahamas after Hellman refused to follow his wish and move with their daughter to Australia.
Lewis Bennett, whose wife mysteriously vanished as the newlyweds sailed off the Cuban coast
‘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.
The family placed listening devices in 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 Hellman’s parents’ home seeking a laptop, iPad and other items he alleged the family took.
That is when the emotional confrontation erupted.
On the bodycam footage Emelia is in Bennett’s car in a driveway and Hellman’s mother is desperate to see the baby.
The unsuspecting cop whose body camera captured the scene let’s the father take the child, unaware of the case.
Bennett is in custody ahead of his murder trial in Florida in December.
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
His sister in law (right) accuses Bennett of murdering Hellman while the couple’s young daughter- believed to now be in England – is in the back seat
Bennett is in custody ahead of his murder trial in Florida in December while his wife has yet to be found
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 Hellman and 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.
Court papers filed last week revealed Hellmann’s family bugged her condo in Delray Beach, Florida, to listen to Bennett’s conversations because they suspected him in her disappearance.
Prosecutor Benjamin Greenberg asked a Florida judge to admit into evidence conversations with loved ones where Hellmann is said to have discussed rows over a mooted move to Australia, their dire finances and the raising of their daughter.
He argued they show the pair were ‘consistently’ arguing, adding: ‘With potentially one of the arguments ultimately resulting in the murder of Hellmann.’
‘Hellmann’s murder would remove the marital strife from the defendant’s life, 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,’ he continued.
If Hellmann is presumed dead – as Bennett has requested – he would inherit her condo and the contents of her bank account.
The couple’s baby daughter Emelia is believed to be in England with Bennett’s parents while he awaits trial