Army Sergeant Tried to Kill Wife by Sabotaging Her Parachute

A British Army Sergeant has been found guilty of attempting to murder his wife by sabotaging her parachute before she attempted a skydive.

Emile Cilliers, 38, removed key parts of his wife Victoria's parachute before she attempted a routine jump at the Netheravon Airfield in Wiltshire, southern England, on 5 April, 2015.

Victoria Cilliers “miraculously” survived after plummeting more than 4,000 feet when both her main and reserve parachute failed to fully deploy.

She suffered multiple serious injuries as a result, including a broken pelvis, spine and ribs, Wiltshire Police said in a statement.

Less than one week before the sabotage, Emile Cilliers had also attempted to murder his wife by loosening a gas valve at their home in the hope she would turn on the cooker and cause an explosion.

According to prosecutors, his two young children were also at home at the time he planned to blow up the house. Victoria Cilliers managed to call out an engineer to fix the valve before anyone was injured.

GettyImages-876983950 Emile Cilliers arrives at Winchester Crown Court on November 21, 2017 in Winchester, England. He has now been found guilty of attempting to murder his wife by deliberately sabotaging her parachute before a jump. Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The sergeant plotted to murder his wife so he could collect her life insurance and help pay off his debts of around £22,000 ($29,000), reports Sky News. He had also been having affairs with multiple woman, including his ex-wife, and hoped to begin a new life with his secret lover.

Emile Cilliers denied two counts of attempted murder and one count of recklessly endangering the lives of his two young children, but was convicted by jury following a trial at Winchester Crown Court.

Following the guilty verdict, Wiltshire Police Detective Inspector Paul Franklin, who led the case, said: "Emile Cilliers has shown nothing but contempt for his wife and children.

"On two separate occasions he made serious attempts to murder Victoria—one of these also endangered the lives of his two young children.

"His selfish motives were simple—he believed that by killing Victoria his financial problems would be solved; his army career would continue with no danger of Victoria trying to damage it, and he could continue his illicit affair with his girlfriend. 

"He has failed to accept any responsibility for his actions which reinforces our view that he is a cold, calculating and callous man whose only duty of care is to himself.”

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner, added: "Victims in a coercive relationships suffer greatly at the hands of offenders like Cilliers. This case nearly cost a life and nearly left two children without a mother.

"Emotional and financial abuse is as deeply traumatizing as those who suffer physical domestic violence and victims can suffer the after effects for many years afterwards.”

Emile Cilliers will be sentenced at a later date.

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