The Para­chute Mur­der Plot

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - WEEKEND TV -

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.

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