Sailor in Virgin Islands catamaran riddle was jailed for beating his ex-wife

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The boyfriend of a British woman who mysteriously disappeared from his yacht in the Caribbean has a history of domestic violence, his ex-wife has revealed.

Sarm Heslop, 41, a former air hostess for Flybe airline, vanished in the dead of night from Ryan Bane’s 47ft catamaran Siren Song in the US Virgin Islands two weeks ago.

Mr Bane waited a reported nine hours before calling the US Coastguard and, despite her parents’ pleas, has since refused to let police search his boat.

Now Cori Stevenson, married to fellow American Mr Bane, 44, for six years, has come forward to say her ex ‘went to jail for kicking my a**’.

Court records show he was jailed for 21 days in 2011 after leaving her bloodied and with a chipped tooth following a row.

Miss Stevenson, 43, told police in Oakland County, near Detroit in Michigan, that she was dragged out of their truck before having her head slammed into the ground in the night-time attack.

And, she told police, her husband had been violent before. The police report said: ‘She states that Ryan has been becoming increasingly verbally abusive toward her, and that he has been physically abusive one time previously.

‘She states that this incident happened about six months ago, that the incident went unreported, and that it caused her to miss multiple days of work with marks to her face.’

Sarm Heslop, 41, a former air hostess for Flybe airline, vanished in the dead of night from Ryan Bane’s 47ft catamaran Siren Song in the US Virgin Islands two weeks ago.

Cori Stevenson, married to fellow American Mr Bane, 44, for six years, has come forward to say her ex ‘went to jail for kicking my a**’

Miss Stevenson was attacked after the pair attended a wedding party and argued on the way home.

The report added: ‘Ryan continually got frustrated with her asking for directions while he was trying to sleep.’ When they got home at 5am, ‘Ryan grabbed her and dragged her out of the truck,’ officers wrote.

‘Ryan grabbed her in the dining room, threw her to the ground, and smashed her head in to the floor, chipping one of her teeth.’

Police said there were clear signs of a struggle, noting that Miss Stevenson’s ‘right tooth had a chip out of it, her right ear lobe was bloody and scratched, her right shoulder and side of her neck showed red scratches…’.

Mr Bane was taken to police cells before appearing in court charged with domestic violence. Despite having told officers he was ‘defending himself’, he pleaded guilty and was jailed for 21 days.

In 2013 he was jailed again, for ten days, for violating his two-year probation. He had been ordered not to contact his wife.

Stevenson’s fiance detailed how Bane allegedly broke her teeth during one violent confrontation.

Bane and Stevenson met in Michigan and she says that his demeanor completely changed after their 2008 wedding. She said she ended their honeymoon early because she feared for her safety.

The couple divorced in 2014 and Bane moved to the Caribbean in 2015.

Stevenson now says that she is communicating with the Virgin Islands police about Bane’s past and has provided authorities with court documents related to their marriage and divorce.

Heslop’s friends insist they are not ‘pointing fingers’ at Bane but are calling on the American, who moved to the Caribbean in 2015, ‘to provide as many details as possible’

The couple said that Bane’s father has flown to the Virgin Islands to be with his son.

On Sunday March 7, Heslop vanished from Bane’s 47ft yacht, the Siren Song, moored off the coast of St John in the U.S. Virgin Islands and hasn’t been seen since.

According to Bane, the couple had been for dinner in a restaurant, leaving at 10pm in line with the local Covid curfew and taking their dinghy back to the vessel, anchored 120ft from secluded Frank Bay.

They went to sleep, Bane says, and when he woke at 2am after his yacht’s anchor alarm sounded, Heslop had gone.

Bane called the Coast Guard’s San Juan station reporting that ‘his girlfriend may have fallen’ from the yacht.

Police searching for the missing 41-year-old from Southampton, England have been scouring land and sea off the island of St John, where the yacht was moored.

But the officers have been stopped from stepping foot on the Siren Song by Bane who is not cooperating.

Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) spokesman Toby Derima said officers had performed an ‘initial land search’, adding on the BBC: ‘Soon after reporting Ms Heslop missing, Mr Bane acquired the services of an attorney.

‘Upon his attorney’s advice, Mr Bane exercised his constitutional right to remain silent and denied officers’ requests to search the vessel.’

It has been widely reported that Bane, who is still on board Siren Song, waited almost ten hours to report his girlfriend missing.

His lawyer, David Cattie, has said this is ‘categorically false’ and that, in fact, Ryan called the police at 2.30am after discovering she had disappeared.

Police searching for the missing 41-year-old from Southampton, England have been scouring land and sea off the island of St John, where the yacht was moored.

Mr Bane waited a reported nine hours before calling the US Coastguard and, despite her parents’ pleas, has since refused to let police search his boat

Miss Stevenson told US website Crime Online that their six-year marriage ended in divorce, finalised in 2014, due to the abuse.

In the past week, she has spoken to local officers and posted messages of hope that Miss Heslop will be found alive. But Mr Bane’s social media last night did not appear to feature any appeals for help in finding Miss Heslop.

Instead, it bore a prominent image of him carousing with bikini-clad women, and his grandiose declaration: ‘I feel most alive, and happy running down my dreams on the cusp of my ever-expanding comfort zone.’

Mr Bane has been using his boat to take paying tourists on trips, with Miss Heslop, from Southampton, acting as cook. They met in Grenada, via dating app Tinder, last year.

Mr Bane, a graduate account manager turned yacht captain, has told police they were anchored 120ft offshore in Frank Bay on St John Island earlier this month when they went to a restaurant.

They returned and watched television, he claimed, before he went to bed at around 10pm. He says he was woken by the £500,000 yacht’s anchor alarm at 2am – and found strong swimmer Miss Heslop gone.The experienced sailor left behind her phone, purse and passport.

The USVI police department – who have not ruled out foul play – said at the weekend: ‘Soon after reporting Ms Heslop missing, Mr Bane acquired the services of an attorney. Upon his attorney’s advice, Mr Bane exercised his constitutional right to remain silent and denied officers’ requests to search the vessel.’

Mr Bane’s lawyer David Cattie insists his client has been helping police. But Miss Heslop’s parents Peter Heslop and Brenda Street want Siren Song searched.

Mr Cattie said last night that coastguards had been aboard, adding: ‘Just after finding Sarm missing, Ryan Bane contacted the VIPD then travelled to meet members of the VIPD to give a statement. Ryan’s thoughts are with Sarm and her family at this time, and he is praying for her safe return.’