The wife of former Gold Coast businessman Lewis Bennet was reportedly “afraid of her husband’s temper” before her disappearance, according to chilling text messages revealed in court.
Isabella Hellmann disappeared off the coast of Cuba in May 2017 during her honeymoon when their catamaran sank, while her husband Bennett reportedly managed to get to safety in a life raft.
The couple had been married for three months but also shared a young daughter together.
Bennet is accused of murdering Ms Hellmann, after the FBI in the United States accused him of sinking the catamaran they were on in order to inherit his wife’s estate.
According to The Times, court documents show that Hellmann was “afraid” of Bennett’s temper and that they had fought prior to the alleged murder.
"Sometimes I can be a pain in the a-s and more but you need to change your attitude...you make me crazy shouting, yelling, swearing... YOU ARE PUSHING ME AWAY," read one of the messages.
"This morning I was afraid to get home with the coffee but I walked in and I was right,” read another message. “I found an angry person, this is very sad."
“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,” said another, reportedly sent months before her disappearance
Bennet claims he was below deck when he was woken by a jolt, describing what he said felt like a collision, when he quickly boarded the life boat. He claimed his wife was nowhere to be seen.
The Times reports that Bennett was in possession of $36,000 in stolen coins when he was picked up. Prosecutors allege that the couple were suffering from financial troubles.
Metro reports that Bennet filed for a ‘letter of presumed death’ to settle her estate just 24-hours after her disappearance.
Hellmann’s body and the boat have never been located.
“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 [her] estate, all of which provide strong circumstantial proof that the defendant had strong motive to murder Hellmann,” Prosecutor Benjamin Greenberg wrote ni court documents obtained by The Times.
Bennet is currently serving a seven-month sentence for the theft of the coins. The murder case is ongoing.