Friend of missing Brit implores partner to talk to police in ‘living nightmare’

The best friend of Brit Sarm Heslop, who went missing from her boyfriend’s yacht on March 8, has begged her boyfriend to talk to police about the disappearance.

Kate Owen has said that Ryan Bane, a sailor from the US, could well provide "the missing piece of the jigsaw" in finding Heslop.

Former air hostess Sarm Heslop disappeared on March 8 after she left a bar accompanied by Bane.

The pair then headed back to his £500,000 catamaran, which was moored off St. John in the US Virgin Islands, the Mirror reports.

Bane, who was previously convicted of assaulting his ex-wife in 2011, called 911 and told the responder that he had been woken up by the boat’s anchor alarm and discovered that Sarm was missing.

He was later accused of obstructing the entrance of US coastguard agents to the vessel.

Sarm has not been seen since she vanished from the boat.

During her first interview, Kate explained that she had texted her friend hours earlier and she "seemed her normal upbeat self".

Around 12 hours after Sarm disappeared, a friend of Bane’s phoned her and told her that Sarm had vanished.

Kate said: "Just after that I called Ryan, he sounded distressed, but deflated, not what I expected.

"It’s like he had resigned himself that she was gone, not desperate for answers. But then again I was just hearing this and he had been living it for the last 12 hours already.

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"I asked him so many questions… he just sounded tired, he answered with ‘I dunno’ and then crying."

When she was asked if she wants Bane to come forward and work with the police, Kate told the Mirror: "Absolutely. I did then and I still do now.

"Will it bring Sarm back? I doubt it. But just knowing someone trained and experienced asking him questions might get us some answers.

"Maybe there’s things he hasn’t mentioned that he thinks are irrelevant, but could be the missing piece of the jigsaw."

Kate and Sarm, both 41 and from Hampshire, had become friends while together at FlyBe as cabin crew more than a decade before and were "like sisters".

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When police tried to search his boat, Bane reportedly blocked a doorway and then rejected all police requests to talk.

Kate said: "I’m frustrated the US Virgin Islands police couldn’t do more.

"I was as shocked as everyone to learn how US law works and realise he can refuse a boat search and it’s up to the authorities to prove a crime has happened before being able to carry out a search and question him.

"But that’s the situation we find ourselves in. It’s a living nightmare."

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She added: "Sarm is in all of our thoughts constantly and she’s left such a massive hole in all of our hearts."

Police say they are working with British officers to try to find out what happened to Sarm.

A police spokesperson said: "As this is an ongoing investigation, the Virgin Islands Police Department maintains that we would like to interview Ryan Bane, as he was the last person to have contact with Ms Heslop."

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