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Parachute trial: Soldier believed he would get £120k death payout

Parachute trial: Soldier believed he would get £120k death payout
Parachute trial: Soldier believed he would get £120k death payout
Image caption Victoria Cilliers almost died in the 2015 parachute jump

A soldier accused of trying to kill his wife by tampering with her parachute believed he would get a £120,000 life insurance payout, a court has heard.

Emile Cilliers, 38, of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, denies two charges of attempted murder.

Victoria Cilliers survived a 4,000ft (1220m) fall, which has been described by experts as "a miracle".

At the time of the near-fatal jump, Mr Cilliers owed his wife about £19,000.

Mrs Cilliers told Winchester Crown Court both she and her husband thought the insurance money would go directly to him rather than to her estate.

No assets

On Tuesday Michael Bowes QC, for the prosecution, took Mrs Cilliers through the couple's financial arrangements.

Documents read to the court showed that she had some savings and owned the family home in Amesbury, Wiltshire, while Mr Cilliers had no assets.

She was also questioned about her will, in which she left everything to her two children, unbeknownst to her husband.

The prosecution alleges Mr Cilliers sabotaged his wife's main and reserve parachutes, causing them to fail during a jump at the Army Parachute Association at Netheravon, Wiltshire, on Easter Sunday 2015.

Mrs Cilliers, described as "a highly experienced parachutist and parachute instructor", survived the jump with broken ribs and a shattered pelvis.

Now largely recovered from her injuries, Mrs Cilliers remained standing throughout her testimony.

Mr Cilliers, a sergeant in the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, denies two charges of attempted murder and another of criminal damage with reckless endangerment to life.

The trial continues.

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