Soldier accused of trying to kill skydiver wife was deep in debt
An army sergeant accused of trying to kill his wife by tampering with her parachute before a skydive hid the extent of his financial woes from her.
Emile Cilliers, 37, is accused of attempted murder after he allegedly twisted the lines of Victoria Cilliers’ main parachute and sabotaged a reserve chute before a jump, causing her to tumble 4,000 feet to the ground. Miraculously, she survived the fall.
Cilliers, a member of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, is reportedly $ 30,000 in debt and would have received his wife’s $ 159,000 life insurance policy had he successfully killed her.
Cilliers concealed the extent of his debt from his wife, explaining he feared the consequences of her finding out, he said in front of a jury Friday, The Guardian reported.
“I was embarrassed. I was afraid she would be disappointed in me. I was scared. I wanted to tell her but I was scared of the consequences,” he said. “I was living above my means, taking on loans to cover other loans.”
Victoria, 42, had repeatedly loaned her husband money but became angry and demanded that she repay him the 19,000 pounds he owed her Cilliers said from the witness stand Friday.
He said she had threatened to take legal action against him, according to The Guardian.
Other evidence suggests the maneuver was deliberate, and planned.
A year before the incident, Cilliers changed his life insurance policy to include his Victoria, with whom he has a daughter.
He claimed he made the change to protect his family in case something happened to him during a ski trip with the army.
Cilliers is accused of rigging his wife’s parachute so that it would fail. The expert skydiver broke her vertebrae, ribs and pelvis in the fall at a Wiltshire airfield in 2015.
The jury heard that Cilliers allegedly tried to kill his wife a week earlier, by interfering with a gas pipe in their home.
Cilliers had reportedly been seeing another woman whom he met on the dating app Tinder. He told the woman he would start a new life with her, the court heard.
He was also sexually involved with his former wife, Carly Cilliers.
The South Africa-born sergeant denies two counts of attempted murder against him.
Cilliers was named the best recruit in his initial army training, The Guardian reported.
He was seriously injured during a ski trip in 2009, and separated from his first wife during his recovery from the incident.
He was already in debt when he met Victoria.
“I tried to deal with it but it spiralled out of control a little bit. I was finding it hard to deal with it, I had serious issues as I was spending money on things I should not have spent it on,” he said.
Victoria, a physiotherapist, helped rehabilitate his knee following the accident. They became a couple and she introduced him to skydiving.
Cilliers concocted elaborate lies to keep Victoria from knowing his true financial state.
“I kept blaming things when money went missing or did not appear, I never told her the truth about the debts I was in and where the money I got went. There came a point where she had enough and gave me an ultimatum — to buy some time I made up a lie,” he said.
“I told her I had issues with money being transferred to my account and with financial advisers and that I was asking advice from the ombudsman.”
Cilliers will return to court Monday.
Send a Letter to the Editor
Let’s block ads! (Why?)