UK man found guilty of tampering with parachute to kill his wife

Emile Cilliers.
Emile Cilliers. Photo credit: Getty.

A British Army sergeant has been found guilty of the attempted murder of his wife by way of tampering with her parachute ahead of a skydive attempt.

Emile Cilliers organised a parachute jump for his wife, Victoria, who was an experienced jumper, just after giving birth to their second child.

By removing the slinks that join the canopy to the harness, it's alleged he hoped she would fall to her death. However she miraculously survived the 1200-metre fall, though was left with severe injuries including broken ribs, pelvis and vertebrae.

Detectives on the case uncovered that Emile was having affairs with other women and was planning to start a new life with one of them. Just before the attempt on her life, he had upped his life insurance policy and planned on using the money from her death to pay off his large debts. 

Cilliers told the court that it was most likely a random killer who interfered with Victoria's parachute, and suggested the court consider she may have wanted to commit suicide and tampered with it herself.

The Guardian reported that he showed no emotion whilst in court and was convicted by the jury unanimously on two counts of attempted murder.

A second attempt discussed during the trial involved him allegedly trying to cause an explosion in their house by loosening the gas fitting, only a week before the parachute incident.

Outside the court, lead detective inspector on the case Paul Franklin, said "Emile Cilliers has shown nothing but contempt for his wife".

"On two separate occasions he made serious attempts to murder Victoria," Det Insp Franklin said.

"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."

A sentencing date has not yet been set.