I’m convinced my daughter was murdered – her boyfriend has questions to answer, says tortured mum of missing Sarm Heslop

I’m convinced my daughter was murdered – her boyfriend has questions to answer, says tortured mum of missing Sarm Heslop

SMIRKING at the camera, wealthy Ryan Bane is pictured during a gym workout without a care in the world.

Few, if any, would guess he was at the centre of a long-running missing person mystery involving his British girlfriend, Sarm Heslop.

Facebook/Missing Person: Sarm HeslopBrit Sarm Heslop, a strong swimmer with a lust for life, vanished from catamaran Siren Song without trace[/caption]

suppliedWealthy Ryan Bane is at the centre of the long-running missing person mystery involving his British girlfriend[/caption]

The Mega AgencyThe catamaran Siren Song, which Sarm went missing from[/caption]

American yacht skipper Bane refuses to reveal what happened the night the former air hostess vanished.

And as the third anniversary of Sarm’s baffling disappearance looms, her heartbroken family has demanded cops launch a murder probe.

Bane and his 41-year-old lover had met just eight months earlier, in 2020, on dating app Tinder, before she joined him on board his 47ft, £500,000 catamaran Siren Song.

They chartered the boat to tourists out of St John, in the Caribbean, at $2,000 a day, with Bane — a convicted wife-beater — at the helm mimicking her British accent and Sarm, former Flybe flight crew, taking charge of cooking for their paying guests.

It should have been a dream come true for Sarm, from Southampton.

Having sailed across the Atlantic with pals in 2019, she had found a handsome new boyfriend, a tropical adventure and a future full of hope and promise.

But as darkness fell over the crystal blue waters off the stunning island on March 8, 2021, the tranquillity was about to be shattered.

And with it, the lives of Sarm’s family and friends in Britain who remain tortured by a myriad unanswered questions.

One of the few indisputable facts is this: Sarm, a strong swimmer with a lust for life, vanished from the boat without trace.

And the only one who can provide the answers so many desperately seek now refuses to co-operate with the official probe.

Sarm’s relatives are preparing to mark the heartbreaking anniversary of her disappearance on Friday.

And in a dramatic twist, they are now calling for the investigation to be upgraded to murder.

Her distraught mum Brenda Street, 67, of Ongar, Essex, is convinced her daughter was the victim of a crime.

She said: “I don’t believe Sarm just went missing.

“I believe she was murdered and I want justice for her.

“I want to bring her home so I know where she is — she deserves that.”

Without a body, and with no firm leads, Brenda’s only hope of justice rests squarely with Bane, who was made a “person of interest” but refused to help the authorities.

All she is left with is a series of theories and a burning need as a mum to find the truth.

It explains why Brenda can barely bring herself to say Bane’s name out loud, such is the distress caused by his unwillingness to help police uncover the truth.

Her voice wavering, she says: “I’m not saying he’s done anything to Sarm, but Bane needs to answer questions.

“There are too many things that don’t make sense or add up.

“He’s never been formally interviewed.

“I believe had he spoken to the police and let them search the boat, the authorities would have gone on to find Sarm.

“Alive or dead, I don’t know, but I think we would have got answers.

“I can’t even say his first name.

“I feel hatred towards him.

“I can’t even look at pictures of him.

“It makes me feel sick.

“He is continuing his life as normal without ever having been formally questioned and, given his history of violence against women, it’s very upsetting.”

‘I want justice’

This is where the story gets murky.

So murky, in fact, that the FBI and British cops have also been drafted in.

Under US law, Bane, who was 44 when Sarm vanished, can stay silent until officers are able to show enough “probable cause” to get a search warrant.

The images of him at Planet Fitness in Lake Orion — clean shaven, slim and outwardly happy — have understandably provoked fury among Sarm’s loved ones.

They say it is “inconceivable” that the last person to see her alive should be getting on with his life while they live in a perpetual cycle of grief and despair.

Unimaginable too, that the police are still yet to quiz him, let alone obtain a statement.

Her family point to the “enormous holes” in the investigation which should have begun in earnest at precisely 2.30am on March 8, when Bane dialled 911.

I don’t believe Sarm just went missing. I believe she was murdered and I want justice for her. I want to bring her home so I know where she is – she deserves that

Mum Brenda

That was the first sign of anything untoward happening.

Prior to that, Sarm had texted her pal Kate Owen at 7pm and was later seen with Bane enjoying a drink at the popular 420 To Center bar in Cruz Bay.

The couple stayed for two hours before returning to the Siren Song, moored 200ft from shore in Frank Bay, in time for the 10pm Covid curfew.

In the emergency call that followed, Bane said he was woken by the sound of the Siren Song’s anchor alarm, which is triggered when the vessel drifts.

He informed them that Sarm was nowhere to be seen but her passport, wallet and phone were still on board.

He was instructed to alert the US Coastguard immediately but, inexplicably, he waited another nine hours, until 11.46am, before doing so.

Distraught mum Brenda Street is convinced her daughter was the victim of a crime

Facebook.Sarm smiles with boyfriend Bane[/caption]

MegaBane walks his dog in St John in the Caribbean[/caption]

Sarm’s dad, Peter Heslop, said: “It drives me nuts.

“What happened between 2am and 11:45am in the morning?

“He didn’t shout and holler, he didn’t ask for nobody, he just made a phone call to the police.

“There’s just no answers.”

The Coastguard went on to search the water around the Siren Song and further out to sea, as well as the nearby islands.

Police and volunteers carried out land searches using dogs and drones and covered every inch of the 20-square mile island of St John.

A chopper scoured the water — in conditions described by cops in the Virgin Islands as “near perfect” — but there was no sign of Sarm anywhere.

Meanwhile, the police and the Coastguard arrived to search the Siren Song itself, but were blocked from carrying out a forensic examination by Bane, who also refused to answer questions.

I’m not saying he’s done anything to Sarm but Bane must answer questions. I believe had he spoken to police and let them search the boat, the authorities would have found Sarm

Mum Brenda

By then he had hired celebrity lawyer David Cattie, whose clients include jailed heiress and Jeffrey Epstein madam Ghislaine Maxwell.

The local police were powerless to force a search of the boat without a warrant, and were further hampered by the fact that the case was only classed as a missing person inquiry.

Divers performed an analysis of sea currents in a bid to determine where they could have dragged Sarm if she had gone into the water.

Other boats in Frank Bay were canvassed to see if they had any information, but none of the skippers reported anything unusual or any sightings of Sarm.

Her distraught parents, unable to travel due to lockdown restrictions in place, said at the time: “If we could travel, we would.

“We want to be helping with the search and we dream of being able to wrap our arms round our darling daughter.”

Tim StewartMum Brenda said: ‘I’m not saying he’s done anything to Sarm, but Bane needs to answer questions. There are too many things that don’t make sense or add up’[/caption]

MegaBane is a convicted wife-beater – pictured in 2011 after the attack[/caption]

The Mega AgencyBane and attacked ex-wife Cori, who still fears him[/caption]

Friends, including Kate, set up a Find Sarm Heslop Facebook page.

One witness came forward claiming to have been walking their dog along Frank Bay at 1am the night Sarm went missing.

They claimed they had “heard a scream”.

A spokesperson for the Virgin Islands Police Commissioner played it down and insisted the noise could have come from anywhere in the harbour.

Unconfirmed sightings naturally followed as Sarm’s family and friends launched the hashtag #FindSarm in a social media blitz, coupled with heartbreaking video messages, and offered a reward of up to $10,000 (£7,900) for information.

Days turned into months, which turned into years.

The Siren Song was put up for sale months later for a cut-price £170,000.

Perhaps even more troubling was the revelation that Bane was previously jailed in the US for assaulting his ex-wife Cori Stevenson in 2011.

She later told how she was still so scared of him that she carried a .380 Smith & Wesson pistol everywhere she went.

For now, celeb lawyer Mr Cattie insists: “Mr Bane is heartbroken over Sarm’s disappearance.

“We certainly understand and empathise with her mother’s pain and frustration.”

But as the search for Sarm stalls and Bane remains silent, Brenda is adamant.

She says: “We’re not going away . . . not until we find out what happened.

“If Bane has any decency he’ll talk to the police and tell them and us everything he knows.

“If he doesn’t come forward, I hope it eats away at him.”

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