A SAILOR from Poole who reported his wife missing from their sinking catamaran off the coast of Cuba is expected to shed light on the mystery after an apparent plea deal was struck in the US.

Lewis Bennett is due in a Miami court on Monday for a "change of plea hearing" over the death of Isabella Hellmann, the mother of his infant daughter.

US prosecutors have reduced a charge of murder for the 41-year-old to one of unlawful killing "without malice", in a move that suggests a plea deal has been arranged.

The newlyweds started their expedition in St Maarten, before sailing catamaran Surf Into Summer to Puerto Rico and Cuba. They then left for their home in Delray Beach, Florida.

However, Bennett was rescued alone from the sea after making an SOS call to say his wife, 41, was missing and the 37ft catamaran was sinking, in the early hours of May 15.

Her body has not been found, but Bennett requested that she was presumed dead in the ensuing months.

Prosecutors alleged he murdered her and scuttled the vessel to end his "marital strife" and inherit her apartment where they lived in Delray Beach, and the contents of her bank account.

Investigators also discovered that Bennett was smuggling rare coins during his rescue, which they alleged could have been a further motive to kill her.

Bennett had reported the coins, worth nearly £30,000, as being stolen from a former employer in St Maarten a year earlier.

He admitted transporting the coins and is currently serving a seven-month jail sentence.

The FBI charged the British-Australian dual citizen with second degree murder as he appeared in court ahead of being sentenced for the coin charge.

He was due to go on trial in December.

But on Friday, prosecutors filed a fresh charge of unlawfully killing Ms Hellmann without malice in the commission of a lawful act, without due caution, which is gross negligence amounting to wanton and reckless disregard for human life.