Army sergeant found guilty of trying to murder wife twice to claim her life insurance and elope with Tinder lover

Emile Cilliers will be ousted from the military "within seven days" and could face life imprisonment

                            Army sergeant found guilty of trying to murder wife twice to claim her life insurance and elope with Tinder lover
(Getty Images)

A sex-crazed army sergeant tried to murder his wife twice to cash her $1,60,000 life insurance and elope with his new lover who he met on dating app Tinder.

38-year-old Emile Cilliers was convicted of the attempted murder of his wife Victoria Cilliers after a retrial at Winchester Crown Court, reported BBC News.

Cilliers would be ousted from the military "within seven days" and could face life imprisonment.

The chilling series of events began when Victoria first smelled gas in her house one day and texted her husband rather jokingly: "Are you trying to kill me?!" 

It was actually him trying to murder her and their kids to get them out of the way. Fortunately, Victoria responded in time and got the situation under control.

But the certifiable army sergeant was undeterred. Cilliers suggested to his wife three days later that they should go skydiving over the Easter weekend, back in 2015. Upon arrival, he damaged his wife's kit at Netheravon Airfield, Wiltshire right before her 4,000 feet jump.

The veteran tangled her main canopy and detached important links from her reserve. He made the changes in her kit in a toilet cubicle, telling his wife that one of their children needed to use the washroom.

The soldier was sleeping with his wife, his ex-wife Carly, as well as his Tinder match named Stefanie Goller at the same time. The prosecution took the liberty of calling him a "charmless, unfaithful, penniless scoundrel."

Described as a "boobaholic" by his wife, the sergeant was part of a sex club, where he wanted to meet prostitutes and have sex with them on the condition that it would be unprotected and he could film the act. However, he canceled when they tried to charge him $80 instead of $66.

In the first trial, the jury could not reach a verdict owing to the fact that his wife, who was a witness, admittedly lied to the police and turned "hostile" in order to "get her husband back."

The veteran's wife Victoria, who is a former Army captain and physiotherapist, leaped from the plane at Netheravon field. Both her main parachute as well as reserve failed and she plummeted to the ground trying her best to maneuver herself to safety.

Fortunately, the 40-year-old made it through the bone-chilling fall on April 5, 2015. She sustained a broken pelvis, spinal injuries, and broken ribs. The experienced parachutist has over 2,600 jumps to her name.

Justice Sweeney revealed that Cilliers will be sentenced on June 15.

He said: "Dangerousness is such a big part of this case, it seems to me I ought to get a view on this.

"Therefore I will adjourn sentencing for three weeks and formally order a report concentrated on the issue of dangerousness."

According to prosecutors who presented the case to the jury, army sergeant Emile Cilliers showed "coercive and manipulative behavior to satisfy his financial and sexual desires."

The 38-year-old was the "man with the motive and the opportunity to commit these cold and calculated attempts to murder his wife," according to Hannah Squire, the advocate for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Follwing the guilty verdict passed by the jury, Squire spoke on the steps outside Winchester Crown Court, saying: "He showed complete and utter contempt for his wife and this culminated in his desire to have her dead, whether that be to start a new life with his lover Stefanie Goller, benefit financially from the death of Victoria Cilliers or both."

In order to establish the "dangerousness" of the defendant, Squire said he would be seeking a report from the probation service. He is also seeking a statement from Victoria to document the impact of his offenses upon her before Cilliers is sentenced.

He said: "The burden now falls on me on what to do as far as this defendant is concerned, that too is a heavy burden."

He continued: "It's an important part of any sentencing exercise where there is a victim or intended victim, as there plainly is in this case, that the court gives the victim an opportunity to make a statement and despite all the ups and downs that is what I am going to afford Mrs Cilliers if she wishes to take it."

Jurors convicted the "sexually active" sergeant of two counts of manslaughter and one count of causing reckless damage to the point of endangerment of life.

Prosecutor Michael Bowes QC told the court while opening the seven-week trial that Cilliers had racked up $30,000 in debts before trying to kill his wife to cash her life insurance.

Mr Bowes QC said: "On April 5, 2015, Victoria Cilliers, a highly experienced parachutist, and parachute instructor, was involved in a near fatal parachuting fall.

"When she jumped out of the plane at 4,000 ft, both the main and reserve parachute failed, causing her to spiral to the ground.

"Those attending the scene expected to find her dead, but, although badly injured, she survived the fall.

"The circumstances were such that the police began a criminal investigation into the possibility that the defendant, Emile Cilliers, had attempted to murder Victoria.

"Subsequently, the police investigation widened to incorporate circumstances surrounding a gas fitting at their marital home in Amesbury, Wilts.

"The prosecution case is that Emile Cilliers had deliberately caused a gas leak just before he left the house to stay elsewhere.

"The defendant was having an extramarital relationship with Stefanie Goller.

"He was having a sexual relationship with his ex-wife Carly Cilliers and he was also making contact with a number of prostitutes.

"Now, there is nothing wrong with going to prostitutes, but it is indicative of a man who just does what he wants when he wants.

"Emile Cilliers had his own insurance policy which covered Victoria as well in the event of accidental death.

"The defendant believed he would receive the £120,000 in the event of her death. He had debts of around £22,000 at the time.

"On any showing, the defendant cares nothing for Victoria at all.

"We have his relationship with Victoria, he is telling Stefanie he loves her, and he has sex arranged with Carly and then unprotected sex arranged with a prostitute.

"We say here's a man who cared not for Victoria, he treated her with contempt - he did not care about her in any way at all."

The court heard that after his wife's terrible skyfall, Cilliers did not ask a single question regarding her well-being and as to why it happened while attending a meeting the day after.

Mark Bayada, the Chief Instructor of Netheravon Airfield, told the court: "I was expecting questions, particularly from Emile. He had little reaction, he was looking at the ground with hardly any response at all, he didn't ask me any questions."

His wife, recalling the horrific fall, said: "I jumped out the aircraft and pulled my parachute and there were issues as soon as it deployed.

"I was shaking and absolutely terrified. I just wanted to be back home or on the ground.

"I did not really understand what was happening, I decided to cut away [to the reserve]... Straight away as the reserve deployed I could feel something was not right, I was spinning, spinning really fast.

"I got the twists out but the G-force was incredible. I know when I hit the ground there was a metallic bang. Then everything went black."

It was also revealed to the court that the gas fitting that Cilliers had allegedly tampered with had blood that matched his DNA.

Emile Cilliers will be sentenced on June 15.