Army Sergeant who tried to kill wife by sabotaging her parachute and gassing her at their home jailed for life

Army Sergeant who tried to kill wife by sabotaging her parachute and gassing her at their home jailed for life

AN ARMY sergeant has been sentenced to life in prison for attempting to murder his wife by sabotaging her parachute and starting a gas leak at their home

Emile Cilliers, 38, of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, was jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years for trying to murder Victoria Cilliers, 41, twice in 2015.

Mr Cilliers, originally from South Africa, had pleaded not guilty.

Mrs Cilliers, a highly-experienced parachuting instructor, miraculously survived a 4,000ft fall after both of her chutes failed at Netheravon Airfield near Salisbury, Wiltshire on Easter Sunday, April 5 2015.

She suffered near-fatal injuries but survived due to her slight frame and the soft earth of a newly-ploughed field.

Days earlier, Mr Cilliers had tried to kill former Army physio Victoria by tampering with a gas valve at their home.

Former Army Sergeant Emile Cilliers (Image: Wiltshire Police)

The court heard that he was £22,000 in debt and wanted Victoria's £120,000 life insurance payout to fund a new life with his Tinder beau Stefanie Goller.

He had also been having an affair with ex-wife Carly before he sabotaged Victoria's skydiving equipment.

He was found guilty of all three counts - two of attempted murder and one of damaging a gas fitting recklessly endangering life - in a retrial of the case at Winchester Crown Court.

Mrs Cilliers was in court to see her former husband convicted of attempting to kill her twice.

Speaking after his life sentencing, the mum-of-two said: "I have to go with, I suppose, the verdict. It's hard to comprehend that someone you get married to and have children with would be capable of that.

"Yes, I'm hurt and angry, but can I see him as capable of murder? No. I love the husband I used to have, not the one he became."

Detective Inspector Paul Franklin, of Wiltshire Police, said: "The real danger with Emile Cilliers is he is cold, calculated, deliberate and there was absolutely no consideration of his wife or anyone else, he serves his own needs and that makes him a very dangerous man."

The jury agreed. Emile Cilliers will not be eligible for release until he is at least 56.