Army sergeant guilty of trying to kill wife who survived 4,000-foot fall

Emile Cilliers, who is accused of attempted murder of his wife, arrives at Winchester Crown Court on November 21, 2017 in Winchester, England.

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LONDON — A jury in Winchester has found an army sergeant guilty of attempted murder of his wife by sabotaging her parachute and tampering with a gas valve at her home. Jurors convicted Army Sgt. Emile Cilliers, 38, on Thursday of two attempted murder charges and a third count of damaging the gas fitting following a trial at Winchester Crown Court.

The prosecution says he tried to kill Victoria Cilliers, 42, – a highly experienced parachuting instructor – by damaging her main and reserve parachutes in a jump April 5, 2015. She survived by landing on a newly-plowed field after a 4,000-foot fall.

Her survival was described as a “near-miracle,” BBC News reported.

The prosecution claimed that Emile Cilliers was deeply in debt and that he wanted his wife’s life insurance money to pay off his bills and start a new life with his lover.

“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,” said Paul Franklin, of Wiltshire Police, according to BBC News. “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.”

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