A jury has found a British army sergeant guilty of attempting to murder his wife by sabotaging her parachute and loosening a gas valve at the family’s home in Wiltshire, England.
Cilliers was convicted of a second charge of attempted murder and one of criminal damage – recklessly endangering life.
On April 5, 2015, Emile Cilliers, 38, allegedly removed parts of his wife Victoria’s reserve parachute before she jumped 4,000 feet, police said. Victoria Cilliers took part in a parachute jump at Netheravon Airfield and was an experienced jumper.
Victoria Cilliers’ main parachute failed because of tangled lines and she couldn’t deploy the reserve parachute because her husband had tampered with it, according to police. She fell into a nearby plowed field, breaking her pelvis, vertebrae and rib, police said in a statement.
Before the parachute incident, Cilliers was accused of deliberately tampering with a gas valve at the family’s home in March 2015. The tampering led to a gas leak while his wife and two young children were home. No one was injured because his wife called an engineer who fixed the valve, police said.
“On two separate occasions he made serious attempts to murder Victoria – one of these also endangered the lives of his two young children,” Paul Franklin, detective inspector with Wiltshire Police, who led the case, said in a statement. “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.”