A documentary released by the UK’s ITV has delved into the life of Emile Cilliers, who was sentenced to 36 years in jail.
He was found guilty of attempted murder when he sabotaged his wife Victoria’s parachute. She miraculously survived a 1 200m fall. It emerged that Cilliers had wanted to cash in on Victoria’s £120 000 life insurance policy and start a new life with his lover.
In the documentary titled Parachute Murder Plot, Cilliers’ daughter Cilene, from his former long-term girlfriend, spoke of her anger towards her father for “leaving us all behind in his trail of dust”.
Cilliers abandoned Cilene and her mother Nicolene Shepherd when he told them that he was heading to Britain for work, in 2011. He was in fact setting up a new life with Victoria.
“He loved me so much, or at least I thought so, and he was so attentive. I really didn’t understand why someone who I thought like I was their world, I was their favourite person, and just disappeared,” she said in the documentary.
She said: “I was under the Emile spell while I was with him. You’re dealing with a different species of man with him.”
The Winchester Crown Court, in England, heard that Cilliers had attempted to murder his wife Victoria twice. He had tried to sabotage the house gas line before he tampered with her parachute.
But Cilliers’ trial initially collapsed when Victoria turned hostile witness. She later said she had lied to the police to get back at him.
In the documentary, viewers hear from James Ranken, who was Victoria’s skydiving partner on the day of her accident. He recalled the horror as she fell over Netheravon Airfield in Wiltshire three years ago.
He said: “She had no control of the parachute whatsoever. She was above me and then she fell straight past me.
“My first thought was that she was probably dead. She was drifting in and out of consciousness,” he said.
The documentary also builds a picture of Cilliers, who was sex-obsessed and had affairs and visited prostitutes.
Included sexcapades were visits to a now-closed club run by Ricky Harwood in Salisbury, where he (Emile) used the “donkey d***s glory hole”, while married to Victoria.