June 15 (UPI) — British army sergeant Emile Cilliers was given a life sentence on Friday for tampering with his wife’s parachute in an attempt to kill her.
He must serve a minimum of 18 years before possible parole, Winchester Crown Court documents said.
It was revealed at trial that Cilliers arranged a parachute jump from an airplane in 2015 for his wife, Victoria, a physiotherapist and experienced parachutist, soon after their second child was born. He removed several components from her parachute, causing it to fail during a 4,000-foot jump at an Army Parachute Association site in Netheravon, England.
Victoria Cilliers survived after landing in a recently plowed field, but was seriously injured.
The court heard testimony indicating that Emile Cilliers intended the incident to be an opportunity to begin life with another woman, with a life insurance settlement clearing his debts. Detectives found he was having affairs with two women and had planned a new life with one of them. He had also been in contact with sex workers, had heavy debts and increased an insurance policy on his wife prior to the jump.
He was also accused of tampering with a gas fitting in their home to prompt a leak or explosion, a week before the jump. He was convicted on two counts of attempted murder.
“From the outset, Emile Cilliers showed no remorse for what he had done. He lied all the way through two trials, but in the end justice won out with the guilty verdicts and now a long prison sentence,” police investigator Paul Franklin said after the verdict was read. “Emile Cilliers is dangerous. He’s a cold, callous, selfish man who cares only about money and his sexual conquests. Today’s sentencing means that society is a little safer with him locked away.”