Man set to plead guilty in wife's disappearance at sea

Lewis Bennett 40 and Isabella Hellmann were on belated honeymoon cruise

In February, authorities charged Bennett with second-degree murder.

Bennett, 41, whose parents live in Hythe, Hampshire, had been accused of deliberately killing Ms Hellman, 41, while sailing from Cuba to Florida in...

Bennett's admission says on May 14, 2017, he and Hellman, while on the last leg of a two-week sail around the Caribbean, had dinner around 8 p.m.

He did not require that his wife wear a life vest or harness despite her inexperience, nor did he deploy flares or turn the boat around to search for her when he couldn't find the 41-year-old real estate agent from Delray Beach, Florida, prosecutors said.

But the court heard that he did not try to search for her, activate emergency equipment, or raise the alarm.

"Bennett ultimately abandoned the vessel and boarded the life raft", the statement read.

What he did do: threw a suitcase, two duffel bags, a backpack, water, flairs, buoys, food and the coins into a life raft.

Bennett told investigators he gathered his personal belongings when he noticed that the vessel was taking on water, according to a criminal complaint filed when he was arrested. His boating experience - he was certified as a Coastal Skipper by the Royal Yachting Association in the United Kingdom - drew investigator suspicions once Bennett began telling his tale after his rescue by the Coast Guard. Unlike her husband, she wasn't trained on how to handle emergencies, prosecutors say.

"Bennet also had hands-on sailing experience on the open water for extended periods of time, including a three-month voyage from St. Maarten to Australia", officials said.

Bennett "could not recall whether" he called out his wife's name, prosecutors said.

Nobody ever found Hellman, but the Coast Guard did find the stolen coins.

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The Coast Guard searched for Hellman for three days before suspending the search.

"As a plea agreement, it's a compromise, it's not what everyone wanted", Mitchell Kitroser, a lawyer for Ms Hellman's family, said. "Based on all evidence, Ms. Hellman is dead".

This US Coastguard photo shows Bennett's upturned catamaran with a gash in its hull.

"Ms. Hellman's death occurred as a result of (1) Mr. Bennett's knowledge of circumstances that existed that could have reasonably enabled him to foresee the threat to life to which his acts or failures to act might subject another, namely Ms. Hellman; and (2) his gross negligence, amounting to wanton and reckless disregard for human life, in acting or failing to act as a result of that".

Court documents relating to the original murder charge alleged Bennett had killed his wife to end "marital strife" and to inherit her money and the Delray Beach home, which she owned.

Lewis Bennett and Isabella Hellman with their infant daughter Emilia.

Hellman's distraught family claimed she had met foul play at the hands of Bennett.

'The federal government remains committed to the safety and security of our U.S. citizens, whether they are at home in South Florida or travelling on the high seas'.

But he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of unlawful killing without malice after striking a plea deal.

ABC News could not immediately reach Bennett's federal public defender, Vanessa Chen, for comment.

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