Ex-UK soldier sentenced to life for damaging wife′s parachute | News | DW | 15.06.2018
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Ex-UK soldier sentenced to life for damaging wife's parachute

Prosecutors said Emile Cilliers was looking to use life insurance money to pay his debts and support his lover. Cilliers has denied attempted murder despite also tampering with a gas cooker in the family home.

A former British army sergeant was sentenced to at least 18 years in prison on Friday for tampering with hits wife's parachute in an apparent attempt to get an insurance payout in 2015. Emile Cilliers, 38, has denied attempted murder.

Cilliers was convicted last month after the court heard that, knowing his wife was planning a skydive, he twisted the lines to her parachute's main canopy and removed a mechanism from the reserve lines, which would prevent the chute from opening.

Forty-one-year-old Victoria Cilliers, a veteran skydiving instructor, fell nearly 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) and only survived because she fell into a freshly plowed field. She sustained severe injuries to her spine, leg, collarbone and ribs.

Exceptional callousness

Prosecutors told the court that Emile Cilliers was deeply in debt, and wanted his wife's life insurance money to pay off his expenses and start a new life with his lover.

They also argued that Cilliers had also tried to damage a gas cooker in their home, hoping it would explode if his wife turned it on.

He has been dismissed by the army and was given a life sentence, without the possibility of parole for 18 years.

"You have shown yourself to be a person of quite exceptional callousness who will stop at nothing to satisfy his own desires, material or otherwise," the judge said.

Detective Inspector Paul Franklin, who investigated the case, described Cilliers to reporters outside the courthouse as "a cold, callous, selfish man who cares only about money and his sexual conquests."

es/msh (AP, Reuters)

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