The UK woman was an experienced parachute instructor and army physiotherapist with 2,600 jumps to her credit. Yet the impossible had happened. Both her main chute and backup had failed on a routine jump at the Netheravon Airfield, home of the Army Parachute Association.
Time for final prayers, really.
Yet the impossible happened, again. Victoria slammed into a newly plowed field. The churned soil cushioned her body like a pillow. Officials rushed a body bag to the site, expecting the worst. Yet Victoria survived, barely. She was airlifted to the hospital with fractures of her pelvis, vertebrae, leg, collarbone and ribs — yet somehow alive.
Victoria’s survival was a one-in-a-million fluke, yet the errant parachutes were no accident. Her husband Army Sgt. Emile Cilliers tampered with her chutes in a bid to kill Victoria for £120,000 ($160,000 U.S.) of life insurance money.
Owed upkeep money for mistress
He wanted to be rid of Victoria and start a new life with his mistress Stephanie Goller, who he met on the dating app Tinder.Cilliers also was loaded up with debt after taking her on expensive holidays. All the while, he was sleeping with his ex-wife, and cavorting with prostitutes.
Cilliers invited Victoria for the jump as a treat — just six weeks after she gave birth. He vanished into the toilets with her chute to disable it the day before she jumped. Cilliers was an experienced military parachute packer. He knew how to disable them. He twisted the lines of her main chute, and removed half of the clips connecting Victoria’s harness to the parachutes.
Cilliers seemed strangely unemotional right after her fall, despite her grievous injuries and harrowing brush with death. He texted Goller the next day, while Victoria lay immobile in the hospital. He sent flirty 50 Shades of Grey-inspired texts, asking his mistress to call him “Mr Grey” and be his “nude house cleaner.”
Opened kitchen gas valve
Cilliers also tried to kill Victoria before her fall. He opened a gas valve in a kitchen cupboard of their home in Amesbury Wilts. He sought to trigger a fatal explosion while he was at work — with their two kids at home.
Victoria woke up and walked into the kitchen that morning. She smelled gas coming from a cupboard next to the stove. She opened the kitchen windows to air out the house, and called an engineer to fix the valve.
Victoria quickly messaged Cilliers, who’d spent that night in the army barracks. She jokingly ask if he’d tampered with the gas valve and was “trying to kill me.” He asked Victoria to go on the fated skydive later that same day.
Cilliers was found guilty of twice trying to kill Victoria. He’s scheduled for sentencing in June 2018.
“This is a man who cared absolutely nothing for her and treated her with absolute contempt,” prosecutor Michael Bowes said. “He wanted to be rid of Victoria and wanted to live his life on his own terms. He cared nothing for her, and in truth cared only for himself.”