The man who confessed to manslaughter in connection to the disappearance of his wife on what was supposed to be a honeymoon sailing trip was sentenced to 8 years in prison on Tuesday.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Isabella Hellman vanished in May 2017 on a sailing trip with her husband of three months, Lewis Bennett, near the Bahamas. Bennett, a British and Australian national, escaped the sinking catamaran but Hellmann was never found. In February of 2018, prosecutors charged Bennett with second-degree murder, but CBS News reports that they dropped the murder charges in Bennett pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in November of last year.
According to the CBS News report, a judge sentenced Bennett to eight years in prison on Tuesday, the maximum possible sentence.
Bennett, 42, had asked for a lighter prison sentence so that he could help raise his daughter with Hellman, who was only a year old when her mother vanished. The girl, who will turn three in July, is in the custody of Bennett’s parents in Scotland.
Hellman’s family has not seen the child, Emilia, for two years, according to the report, but plan to visit her in Scotland next week.
“She’s lost her mom, but that doesn’t mean she’s lost her mom’s family,” an attorney for Hellman’s family told CBS affiliate WPEC-TV.
“I think the ideal scenario would be to have both families participate in her life as she grows up, so that she has as many people in her life to support her as possible.”
Bennett has said that he was sleeping in the cabin of the boat and Hellman was on deck when the vessel appeared to have crashed into something, and found his wife missing. He reportedly waited 45 minutes to call for help, after he loaded himself and stolen gold coins onto a life raft.
According to the CBS News report, Assistant U.S. attorney Kurt Lunkenheimer claimed at Tuesday’s hearing that Bennett “did not search for [Hellman] diligently enough despite him being an experienced sailor.”