The Parachute Murder Plot
Wednesday, ITV, 9pm
The case of an Army sergeant, who attempted to murder his wife by tampering with her parachute, was one of the most disturbing of recent years. During Easter weekend 2015, Emile Cilliers sabotaged the equipment that he knew his wife, Victoria, a highly experienced instructor, was going to use during a jump above Netheravon airfield in Wiltshire.
Despite falling 4,000ft “like a rag doll” underneath her flailing canopy, Victoria miraculously survived — thanks to the soft, ploughed soil she landed on and her light weight.
Mr Cilliers, who was plagued with debt, had hoped to cash in on his wife’s life insurance and start a new life with his lover. Eventually, though, justice was served and he was jailed for life.
In this documentary, Fiona Bruce looks back at the case, analysing previously unseen police tapes and speaking to some of the people directly involved.
Following the incident, the police investigated the circumstances around the sabotage and became certain that Emile had tried to kill Victoria — not once, but twice.
His first attempt came a week before her skydive, when he tampered with the gas valve at their home in Wiltshire.
The plan failed when Victoria smelled the gas and reportedly joked with Cilliers by asking: “Are you trying to bump me off ?”
Police officers at the heart of the case provide vivid insights into Cilliers’ motives and background, describing how he was having multiple affairs and accumulating out-of-control debts.