British Army sergeant having Tinder affair 'tried to murder wife by tampering with parachute'

A court heard that Emile Cilliers wanted to kill his wife to collect a life insurance payout.

Emile Cilliers is on trial accused of attempting to murder his former Army officer wife, Victoria Cilliers

A British Army sergeant tried to kill his wife by tampering with her parachute, causing her to spiral thousands of feet to the ground, because he wanted to leave her for his Tinder lover, a court has heard.

Emile Cilliers is accused of two counts of attempted murder of his former wife, Victoria Cilliers who survived the jump on 5 April 2015, but suffered multiple injuries.

The 37-year-old is also accused of damaging a gas valve at their home a few days earlier, in a further allegation that he attempted to kill 40-year-old Mrs Cilliers. The army man denies all charges, reported the BBC.

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Michael Bowes QC, prosecuting, said that the murder bids came as Cilliers told his lover, who he met through the Tinder dating app, that he was leaving his wife, a physiotherapist for the army.

The Royal Army Physical Training Corps officer lied to his lover, Stefanie Glover, that he was leaving his wife because he was not the father of one of his children after his wife had an affair.

However, Mr Cilliers was also carrying on an affair with his ex-wife, Carly Cilliers, the court heard.

Prosecuting Michael Bowes QC said Cilliers, who was based at Aldershot, Hampshire, had debts of £22,000 and believed he would receive a £120,000 life insurance payout on his wife's death.

Bowes said Victoria Cilliers was a highly experienced parachutist and instructor, but when she jumped out of the plane 4,000ft (1,200m) above Netheravon Airfield in Wiltshire "both her main parachute and her reserve parachute failed".

The prosecutor said: "Those attending at the scene expected to find her dead, although she was badly injured, almost miraculously she survived the fall.

"Those at the scene immediately realised that something was seriously wrong with her reserve parachute, two vital pieces of equipment which fasten the parachute harness were missing."

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He added that at the time of the murder attempts, Cilliers treated his wife with "callousness and contempt".

Bowes told the jury that within hours of the failed attempt to gas his wife at home and "despite his complete disinterest" in her "he suggested that she might like to go parachuting the following weekend".

The trial continues.

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