‘Wicked’ husband jailed for attempted parachute murder

An army sergeant has been jailed for at least 18 years for tampering with his wife's parachute in an attempt to kill her.

Emile Cilliers, who has been struck off from the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, was convicted of two attempted murder charges and a third count of damaging a gas fitting recklessly endangering life after a retrial at Winchester Crown Court.

The conviction came after Victoria Cilliers, an experienced parachuting instructor, suffered serious injuries when her main and reserve parachutes failed when she took part in a jump on 5 April 2015 at the Army Parachute Association in Wiltshire.

Handing Cilliers a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years on to life on Friday, Mr Justice Sweeney said: "This was wicked offending of extreme gravity.

"Your offending was extremely serious with your two attempts to murder your wife. They were planned and carried out in cold blood for your own selfish purposes which include financial gain."

The judge called Ms Cilliers' recovery "miraculous" and spoke of the "severe" physical and psychological harm she had suffered as well as the "terror" of the fall.

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"She appears to have recovered from the physical harm but not, having seen her in the witness box at length, from the psychological harm," he added.

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