The American friend of the missing Briton Sarm Heslop has hired a lawyer in the US Virgin Islands who also represents Ghislaine Maxwell.
Charter boat skipper Ryan Bane is represented by attorney David Cattie, whose other clients include the woman accused of being Jeffrey Epstein’s lead recruiter.
Cattie has also represented another boat captain who was charged with manslaughter and later acquitted in 2019.
The move suggests that Bane could prepare for a legal battle over the disappearance of his girlfriend who was last seen on his boat on the US Virgin Island of St. John on March 8.
Ryan Bane, the American friend of the missing British woman Sarm Heslop (right), has hired a lawyer who also represents Ghislaine Maxwell. The move suggests that he is gearing up for a legal battle over the disappearance of his girlfriend, who was last seen on his boat in the US Virgin Island on March 8.
David Cattie, a lawyer based in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was hired to represent Maxwell in her bid for Epstein’s estate to pay her legal fees
Bane is neither a suspect nor a person of interest in the case, but the 44-year-old has drawn media attention for not cooperating with authorities.
His nine-hour delay in calling the US Coast Guard has also raised eyebrows.
Instead, Bane called Cattie and then refused to let the police search his 47ft catamaran, Siren Song, where he and Heslop were staying.
Cattie’s past clients include Rick Smith, a boat captain who was acquitted of manslaughter in 2019
Cattie has represented Maxwell – who has pleaded not guilty – in her lawsuit against Epstein’s estate to pay her legal fees and has fielded attempts by prosecutors in the USVI to prevent her from getting the money.
On April 15 last year, Cattie informed the US Department of Justice “that Ms. Maxwell has detained him in connection with government subpoenas.”
He wrote that “the subpoena was clearly received by Maxwell, and attorney Cattie contacted the government on her behalf to negotiate a possible resolution of the subpoena.”
Cattie’s past clients include Rick Smith, who was cleared of Seaman’s manslaughter in January 2019 for the death of crew member David Pontious.
According to reports in the USVI, Pontious had a mental episode on board and took control of Smith’s Helmet 350 miles offshore while traveling from Maine to the USVI.
Pontious then jumped off the ship and made no attempt to swim back.
Bane was spotted drinking beer on the deck of his luxury yacht on Tuesday, weeks after Heslop disappeared without a trace. Authorities need a warrant to board but should not get one yet as Sarm’s disappearance on March 8 is not classified as a criminal investigation
Bane refuses to cooperate with agents investigating Sarm’s disappearance and has not allowed them to search his boat. Bane is currently neither a suspect nor a person of interest
Heslop’s friends insist not to ‘point fingers’ at Bane, but call on the American, who moved to the Caribbean in 2015, to ‘provide as much detail as possible’.
Smith was acquitted by a judge on legal technical grounds before a trial could take place, but the case was a nightmare for him and he felt he was being unfairly charged.
Smith told the Virgin Islands Daily News: ‘I’m not thrilled about it. I don’t know why they tried to destroy me for three years, but they did. ‘
Bane, 44, met Heslop, 41, a former flight attendant from Southampton, England, eight months ago on Tinder and traveled to the Caribbean to work as a cook at Siren Song, which he charters for over $ 2,000 a day.
Clearly, the pair had lined up ten or more bookings for the upcoming season, worth about $ 100,000.
Bane raised the alarm at 2.30am on March 8, telling Heslop police had left, but her belongings were still on board.
In his first account to the police later that morning, Bane said the couple had been out for dinner the previous night before going back to the boat to sleep at 10pm.
Ryan Bane declined to discuss the disappearance of his girlfriend Sarm Heslop when DailyMail.com confronted him on a remote beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday.
He said he was awakened at 2 AM by an anchor alarm, which triggers an alert if the boat strays from its position. By then Heslop had disappeared.
Police say Bane was advised to call the U.S. Coast Guard, but it was later revealed that they didn’t receive the SOS call until 11:46 am – more than nine hours later.
A large-scale land and sea search involving divers, a helicopter, and an island-wide call for leads, subsequently failed to find Sarm or any evidence that she had fallen overboard.
Police have since been scrutinizing bars and businesses on the island to track down the couple’s final steps, but have been prevented from entering Siren Song.
Police in the Virgin Islands said that shortly after reporting Heslop as missing, Bane had hired Cattie and refused to let them board his boat to carry out a search.
Court documents from Michigan have revealed that Bane has a dark past and spent 21 days in prison for beating his ex-wife in his native Michigan.
Cori Stevenson said in an interview, “Ryan’s personality changed once we got married. It was a beautiful wedding in 2008, but it was like he flipped a switch.
Cattie did not call back to ask for comment.
Bane’s luxury 47-foot catamaran, Siren Song, is located in Frank Bay on St. John in the US Virgin Islands
Earlier this week, DailyMail.com published the first photos of Bane since Heslop’s disappearance, showing him sitting on the Siren Song and drinking a beer.
He repeatedly declined to comment when approached by a reporter.
A friend of Bane’s had told DailyMail.com that he was “scared” and “freaked out” throughout the episode.
The friend said, “He must have been robbed. He had finally found a girl he was in love with.
‘I think he’s concerned that the (Virgin Islands Police Department) isn’t really known for conducting any investigation with clarity.
“He is afraid that something could go wrong or go the wrong way, or that they will look for something to involve him, as opposed to the other way around.”