Cilliers Trial: Army Sergeant Tells Court He "Would Never" Harm Wife

Emile Cilliers denies two charges of attempted murder and a third count of criminal damage with recklessness as to endanger life.


A soldier accused of sabotaging his wife’s parachute in an attempt to kill her has told a court he "would never" do anything to harm her.

The prosecution in the trial of Emile Cilliers, 38, also alleges he tried to cause a gas leak at the family home.

Mr Cilliers denies two charges of attempted murder and a third count of criminal damage with recklessness as to endanger life.

Victoria Cilliers almost died after her main and reserve parachutes failed during a 4,000ft jump at the Army Parachute Association base at Netheravon, Wiltshire, on Easter Sunday 2015.

Elizabeth Marsh QC for the defence asked Mr Cilliers if he had "harboured any wish to harm" his wife or children.

He replied: "No, never. I would never do anything to harm any of them."

The prosecution alleges Mr Cilliers was in debt and that he believed he would receive a £120,000 insurance payout in the event of his wife's accidental death.

On 30 March 2015, Victoria Cilliers texted her husband telling him she could smell gas and that she had found blood around a gas lever.

Mr Cilliers told the court he had not touched the valve and that he could not remember cutting his hand.

The sergeant suggested the valve could have been opened by vibrations from nearby construction work.

Prosecutors also allege he planned to start a new life with his girlfriend.

Ms Marsh read out text messages in court which Emile Cilliers sent while he was upstairs in their home and his wife was in labour downstairs.

He asked her how far apart here contractions were, to which she replied "45 minutes apart," and invited him to come downstairs.

Emile Cilliers stayed upstairs sending messages to his girlfriend Stefanie Goller telling her he loved her.

When questioned about the alleged tampering of his wife’s parachute, Mr Cilliers denied taking any tools, or knives with him into the toilet at Netheravon, where the prosecution alleges he tampered with Mrs Cilliers parachute.

Elizabeth Marsh QC for the Defence asked her client:

“Did you do anything to that rig when you were in the lavatory?"

“No,” he replied.

Ms Marsh quoted Mrs Cilliers who earlier had told the court it would take five minutes “if you had nails” to take the slinks out of the parachute – slinks are key components which were found to be missing following Mrs Cilliers jump.

Ms Marsh asked Mr Cilliers: “Do you have nails?”

He replied “no” and showed his hands to the court

Mr Marsh then asked “Do you have all the fingers on your hand?”

“No” he replied, “I’m missing the tip of my right index finger there’s no nail at all.”

The trial continues.