The American boyfriend of missing Brit Sarm Heslop has hired a US Virgin Islands-based attorney who is also representing Ghislaine Maxwell.
Charter boat skipper Ryan Bane is being represented by lawyer David Cattie, whose other clients include the woman accused of being Jeffrey Epstein’s chief recruiter.
Cattie has also represented another boat captain who was accused of manslaughter and later acquitted in 2019.
The move suggests Bane could be preparing 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 boyfriend of missing British woman Sarm Heslop (right) has hired a lawyer who is also representing Ghislaine Maxwell. The move suggests 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, an attorney based in the US Virgin Islands, was hired to represent Maxwell in her bid for Epstein’s estate to pay for her legal fees
Bane is neither a suspect nor person of interest in the case, however, the 44-year-old has drawn media attention for failing to cooperate with authorities.
His nine-hour delay in calling the US Coast Guard has also raised eyebrows.
Instead, Bane called Cattie and afterwards refused to let 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 cleared of manslaughter in 2019
Cattie has represented Maxwell – who has pleaded not guilty – in her lawsuit against Epstein’s estate to pay for her legal fees and has handled efforts by prosecutors in the USVI to stop her getting the money.
On April 15 last year, Cattie informed the US Justice Department ‘that Ms. Maxwell has retained him in regard to the government’s 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 over the death of crewmember David Pontious.
According to reports in the USVI, Pontious had a mental episode while on board and took control of the Helm from Smith 350 miles offshore while traveling from Maine to the USVI.
Pontious then jumped off the ship and made no effort to swim back.
Bane was seen swigging beer on the deck of his luxury yacht on Tuesday, weeks after Heslop vanished without a trace. Authorities need a warrant to board but are yet to obtain one because Sarm’s March 8 disappearance has not been classified as a criminal inquiry
Bane is refusing to cooperate with cops 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 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’
Smith was cleared on a legal technicality by a judge before a trial could take place, but the case was a nightmare for him and he felt he was unfairly accused.
Smith told the Virgin Islands Daily News: ‘I’m not thrilled about it. I don’t know why they spent three years trying to destroy me, but they did’.
Bane, 44, met Heslop, 41, a former flight attendant from Southampton, England, on Tinder eight months ago and travelled to the Caribbean to work as a cook on Siren Song, which he charters out for more than $2,000 a day.
It’s understood the couple had lined up ten or more bookings for the coming season, worth around $100,000.
Bane raised the alarm at 2.30am on March 8, telling police Heslop was gone but her belongings were still on board.
In his initial account to cops later that morning Bane said the pair had been out for dinner the previous night before going back to the boat at 10pm to sleep.
Ryan Bane refused to discuss his girlfriend Sarm Heslop’s disappearance as DailyMail.com confronted him on a secluded beach in the US Virgin Islands Wednesday
He said he was woken up at 2am by an anchor alarm, which triggers an alert if the boat is straying from its position. By then Heslop had vanished.
Police say Bane was advised to ring the US Coast Guard but it later emerged they did not receive the SOS call until 11.46am – more than nine hours later.
A massive land and sea search involving divers, a helicopter and an island-wide appeal for leads subsequently failed to find Sarm or any evidence that she fell overboard.
Since then cops have been scouring CCTV from island bars and businesses to trace the couple’s last steps but have been prevented from setting foot on Siren Song.
Police in the Virgin Islands said that soon after reporting Heslop missing Bane hired Cattie and refused to let them board his boat and conduct a search.
Court documents from Michigan have revealed that Bane has a dark past and was jailed for 21 days for beating up his ex-wife in his native Michigan.
Cori Stevenson said in one 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 return calls requesting comment.
Bane’s luxury 47-foot catamaran, named Siren Song, sits 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 which showed him sitting on the Siren Song drinking a beer.
He repeatedly refused to comment when approached by a reporter.
A friend of Bane’s had told DailyMail.com that he was ‘scared’ and ‘totally spun out’ by the whole episode.
The friend said: ‘He is definitely bereaved. He had finally found a girl he was in love with.
‘I think that his concern is that the (Virgin Islands police) is not real well known for conducting any sort of investigation with clarity.
‘He’s concerned that something could go wrong or be spun the wrong way, or that they’re going to be looking for something to implicate him as opposed to the other way around’.