When Victoria Cilliers, an experienced skydiver, jumped from a plane in 2015, her life changed forever. After her parachute malfunctioned and her reserve failed, she started plummeting towards the Earth to meet an almost certain death. However, she miraculously survived the fall from 4,000ft. Those that witnessed the incident were horrified, but nobody was more surprised than her husband, Emile Cilliers.
Cilliers, a British Army sergeant who had married Victoria in a lavish ceremony in his native South Africa in 2011, appeared appalled by the events. But as the police began to investigate the freak “accident”, they discovered that Cilliers’ grief was less than genuine. In fact, investigators began to believe that Cilliers devastation may be linked to the fact that Victoria survived the incident… It was clear to all who witnessed the fall that Victoria’s parachute had been tampered with. “Those at the scene immediately realized that something was seriously wrong with her reserve parachute,” explained prosecutor, Michael Bowes: “Two vital pieces of equipment which fasten the parachute to the parachutist’s harness were missing. Their absence meant the reserve parachute would fail and send her spinning to the ground.” Evidently, the kit had been tampered with. But investigators were finding it difficult to find anyone with a motive. Until they began to dig deeper into Victoria’s relationship with her husband. Investigators discovered that along with the tampered parachute, there had been a deliberate gas leak at the couple’s property shortly before. A gas valve in the kitchen had been purposefully manipulated to leak the lethal substance throughout the house. Coincidentally, this leak had occurred at the same time that her husband had moved out of the house to live elsewhere. After discovering the leak and the damaged gas valve, Victoria texted her husband to enquire if he was responsible. Jokingly, she even said, “Are you trying to kill me?”. Little did she know what was to happen next… A few days later, with her husband’s encouragement, Victoria went skydiving. Emile Cilliers collected the parachute for his wife during the afternoon, where it is alleged he then took it to the men’s toilet at the base, which is where it is claimed he tampered with it. However, Victoria wouldn’t jump that afternoon due to extremely poor weather. “Now, of course, there was a dilemma, what was he going to do with the rig because having tampered with it he had a problem, he couldn’t put it back in the store,” explained Bowes to the court, before going on to claim that Emile went against protocol by arranging for the parachute to be kept in his wife’s locker overnight. The following day, quite out of character, Emile monitored the weather. It was the perfect day for a jump, so Victoria left to complete the “hop and pop” jump. But this was when disaster struck. Victoria fell 4,000ft to the ground, but managed to survive only sustaining broken ribs, a broken collarbone, a broken leg and spinal injuries which saw her spend three weeks in hospital. The bizarre circumstances left investigators stunned. They suspected foul play by Cilliers, but discovering a motive was the next challenge. As investigators focussed their attentions on Emile Cilliers, they learned that he had been having an affair with a woman he had met on Tinder. Not only that, but had also been continuing to engage in a sexual relationship with his ex-wife. It became instantly clear to investigators that Emile was attempting to eradicate his wife from his life, so that he could move on with Stefanie Goller, the woman he met via dating app. The sickening case became even more twisted when it was revealed that Emile Cilliers had lied to Goller about the parentage of his children. Investigators found a WhatsApp message he told Goller that Victoria’s children, three-year-old Lily and newborn Ethan, were the result of an affair and not his. Cilliers has denied two counts of attempted murder, but the trial continues. One thing is for sure, I think this couple are beyond marriage counselling.
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