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Former British sergeant convicted of parachute attempt on wife: NPR

ByCindy J. Daddario

Mar 9, 2021

Emile Cilliers, 38, was sentenced Friday to at least 18 years in prison for attempted murder on two counts.

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Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Emile Cilliers, 38, was sentenced Friday to at least 18 years in prison for attempted murder on two counts.

Matt Cardy / Getty Images

At some point they were in love.

At least it looks like they’re in one photo This captures Emile Cilliers and his wife Victoria in a moment of joy. He wears a tuxedo and bow tie and has a closed smile. She wears a deep blue halter with matching dangling earrings. Her smile is wide and her arm is wrapped around his neck.

But the evidence – texts, emails, and botched murder attempts – suggest that moment was short-lived.

Cilliers, a former sergeant in the British Army, planned not just once but twice to kill his four-year-old wife so he could use the life insurance money to pay off a lot of money Payday loan and then run away with the new Austrian girlfriend he met on Tinder. But his attempts were foiled and eventually exposed, and on Friday he was sentenced to at least 18 years in prison on double charges of attempted murder.

The first time he tried to kill his wife – the mother of two of his four children – was at home while the family slept, according to the BBC. Cilliers opened the stove’s gas valve, hoping it would cause an explosionThen he left the house to meet with his ex-wife, with whom he was having an affair.

But things didn’t go as planned. When Victoria Cilliers woke up, she smelled the gas leak and jokingly sent him a text message: “Are you trying to get away from me?” reported the BBC.

About a week later, Emile Cilliers tried again. This time he believed that nothing was left to chance. He suggested to his wife, an experienced skydiver, to return to a favorite passion: skydiving. And then he sabotaged her parachute.

She jumped off the plane about 4,000 feet and raced toward earth in what should have been her certain death. Except that Victoria somehow managed to land and survive in a soft, freshly plowed field.

“I couldn’t figure out how to slow it down,” she said aloud The guard. “It just got faster and faster. The speed was unreal.

She broke her pelvis, ribs and two vertebrae ITV reported.

The British Parachute Association opened an investigation into the case and found that both its main and reserve parachutes had been tampered with. At this point, the police began their own investigations, and Cilliers’ shopping spree, romantic escapades, and a preference for prostitutes came to light.

Throughout the trial, the jury heard details of Cilliers’ outstanding debt to friends and payday loan companies knocking on his door. He owed about £ 22,000, nearly $ 30,000, and could have easily repaid it with his wife’s life insurance claim of £ 120,000, or nearly $ 160,000.

“It was a miracle that your wife recovered at all; she has undoubtedly suffered serious physical damage and she must have suffered psychological damage in the terror of the fall and since then, ”Judge Nigel Sweeney said loudly after Cilliers was convicted on Friday The guard.

Sweeney called the murderous conspiracies of Emile Cilliers “an evil insult of extreme gravity”.

Victoria Cilliers is still processing the events of the past three years.

“I’ve been through every emotion under the sun,” she said said ITV. “I’ve had a lot of time to think about things, which is probably why I’m not openly angry, partly because I’m still shocked, a little stunned by the whole thing. I also have two young children. I’m the only carer for them. Me.” can’t be angry, bitter, really emotional. I need to keep a balanced mind for her. “

She says she has no plans to divorce her husband The guard. Victoria said she intended to ask Cilliers what he did to her.

Gabriela Saldivia from NPR contributed to this story.

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