HOT OFF THE WIRE

Parachute murder bid trial: Emile Cilliers tells of debt

Parachute murder bid trial: Emile Cilliers tells of debt

  • 15 May 2018
Image caption Victoria Cilliers almost died in the 2015 parachute jump

An Army sergeant accused of trying to murder his wife by tampering with her parachute has told a court of his "spiralling" debts.

Emile Cilliers, 38, of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, denies sabotaging Victoria Cilliers' parachute in a bid to kill her.

The prosecution alleges Mr Cilliers, who owed about £24,000, planned to start a new life with his girlfriend.

He denies two counts of attempted murder.

Giving evidence at Winchester Crown Court, Mr Cilliers told jurors he had been borrowing money from his wife in addition to taking out high-interest payday loans.

He told the court his debts "were spiralling" out of his control.

'Sexually active man'

Jurors heard he had transferred £6,000 from his wife's bank account into his own without permission, and then told her the account details had been hacked.

He bought expensive sporting equipment, clothes for himself, holidays and, on one occasion, spent £6,500 at a garden centre.

Mr Cilliers also said he was a "very sexually active man" who "needs female company".

The court heard he was having sexual relationships with his wife, his ex-wife and also using prostitutes.

Prosecutors allege he believed he would receive a substantial sum on his wife's life insurance and planned to start a new life with a woman called Stefanie Goller.

Ms Cilliers survived a 4,000ft (1,220m) at Netheravon airfield in Wiltshire in April 2015.

The prosecution claims Mr Cilliers, an experienced parachute packer, tampered with equipment he knew his wife was going to use.

Lines to the main canopy were twisted and essential parts were missing from the reserve.

The court heard the equipment had never failed in this manner anywhere in the world.

Mr Cilliers is also alleged to have deliberately caused a gas leak at the family home in Amesbury.

The trial continues.