A woman whose parachute was sabotaged by her sex-crazed husband today says she will demand a prison showdown and ask him: “What the hell? Why?”
Former Army captain Victoria Cilliers wants answers from philandering husband Emile, a sergeant who swept her off her feet then tried to kill her twice on one week.
Victoria, 42, survived a 4,000ft plunge only to be told by police that Cilliers, 38, had tampered with the parachute in a bid to claim life insurance and cover up his cheating.
Just days earlier he had tried to kill Victoria by tampering with a gas fitting at their home.
Despite overwhelming evidence and conviction on two attempted murders, Victoria seems bewildered and unable to accept what he did.
He first attempted to kill her by tampering with a gas valve at their home in Amesbury, Wiltshire, at the end of March 2015, with their young daughter and son both in the house with their mother at the time.
But Victoria says she is NOT ready to divorce him, and won’t tell her kids that he tried to kill her, saying instead he “has done a bad thing”.
“My family, friends, everyone seems to think they know more than I do,” she said.
“They see different evidence to me.”
Emile Cilliers it turns out, had “out of control” debts and was a “boobaholic” and sex addict who saw prostitutes and was sleeping with his ex-wife.
He wanted his wife’s $160,000 [£120,000], life insurance payout to fund a new life with his Tinder lover Stefanie Goller.
Victoria now admits she threw her wedding ring away as police told her about Cilliers’ crimes. Still, calmly she recalls great moments with him, the “passionate, intense, alpha male soldier” she first fell for, at the same time expressing a degree of compassion for him as the father of their two children.
Almost forgivingly, she refers to him as “a sex addict”.
“I have to go with, I suppose, the verdict. It’s too big to get my head around. It’s hard to comprehend that someone you get married to and have children with would be capable of that,” she said.
“Yes I’m hurt and angry, but can I see him as capable of murder? No. I am going to grieve for the marriage I had and the end of the life that I had.”
“I’ll always care for the father of my children, and I loved him, I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with him.”
She vowed to visit Cilliers, demand a face-to-face explanation and ask him: “Why is all this happening?”
Victoria speaking a couple of days after Cilliers was convicted, said the bizarre series of events had shattered her “perfect” life.
Victoria knew he was a roving eye, but had no idea of the extent of his obsession with women.
He was visiting sex clubs, contacting prostitutes, sleeping with his first wife and carrying on with yet another mistress.
On the subject of her ex-husband’s conviction, Victoria says: “I just don’t really want to cope with it. I love the husband I used to have and not the one he became.
“I don’t know the man today. I have seen him in court but not spoken to him in three years. I never considered he could be responsible.”
Sgt. Cilliers’ sordid double life was unveiled in two trials.
He was $29,200 in debt and tried to kill Victoria to get a $160,000 life insurance payout to fund a new life with his Tinder lover Stefanie Goller, 36.
“I’d never considered he could be responsible. I was in and around both those times he’s accused of trying to kill me so when, physically, did he manage to do those things?
“I never felt scared or threatened. He’d been unfaithful and had issues with money, but that’s not murder,” said the bemused survivor.
“Yes, our relationship might have been breaking down. But our daughter was his world – and to kill me would really damage her.”
Asked if she is in denial, Victoria adds: “I don’t know. I just don’t really want to cope with it. I’ve got enough to deal with at the moment.
“Maybe I will in the future, maybe I won’t.” We gave him a good family environment. We had two children.
“People said to me in the past, ‘if he’s found guilty are you going to agree or assent to the fact that he’s guilty?’ I’m still stuck in the middle. I don’t think anyone knows what happened apart from him.”
Victoria says a divorce is inevitable and her focus is now on their kids, aged six and three.
The children have not seen their father, who was married before and has four other children, since he was charged. And Victoria has not spoken to him since his arrest back in 2015.
Saddened by the likely effect on their kids, Victoria said: “That’s what upsets me and hurts me more than anything, the effect on the children. You want your children to grow up untainted.
Victoria, originally from Edinburgh, had left the Army and was an MoD physiotherapist when she met Cilliers.
He was in the Royal Army Physical Training Corps and she treated him for a skiing injury, before it transitioned into love.
She was first attracted to his eyes and “alpha male” personality, she says: “It picked up speed quickly. He is a very passionate, intense individual, he goes 100 per cent and for the first few years I was his passion.”
After she suffered a miscarriage in the early months of their relationship, both were “thrilled” when Victoria fell pregnant with her first child five weeks before their wedding in Cilliers’ native South Africa in 2011.
Victoria adds: “Our marriage was not toxic and troubled in those early days. I never had the sense family life was not enough for him, or that he was chafing against it.”
But cracks began to emerge in 2015 after she fell pregnant with her second child.
Cilliers went on an Army skiing holiday and came back “a completely different person,” says his wife. Now he faces life in jail for attempting to murder Victoria, by sabotaging her parachute before a jump
Unbeknown to Victoria, he had contacted skydiving instructor Stefanie Goller, on dating app Tinder and the pir had started an affair.
It would emerge in court that he was also secretly sleeping with his first wife Carly Cilliers and messaging prostitutes.
He reportedly offered $133 [£100], if he could film them having unprotected sex.
Victoria had no idea about the scale of his deception.
She goes on: “I knew there was stuff, other women on chat sites he contacted and I had seen messages on his laptop.
“I also knew he had met up with women and I was planning on confronting him. But you have to fight your battles at the right time and, being heavily pregnant, it wasn’t the right time.
“He was very affectionate but he’d stopped saying he loved me as often. It felt like he was physicality distanced himself – but we still shared a bed and had a sex life.
“It seems like he was a sex addict.”
She describes her “deep humiliation” and anger toward his “other women’”.
On the subject of Carly, who had two children with Cilliers, she says: “I feel betrayed. Carly and I used to share childcare duties.
“While Emile and I were together I saw her on probably a weekly basis.”
And of Stefanie, who she has met through skydiving, Victoria adds: “She is part of the betrayal.
“For the affair and what my children have to deal with.”
Victoria says she has little recollection of Cilliers’ attempt to kill her via a rigged gas leak in March 2015, just weeks after their second child was born. At the time she had passed the incident off as a mistake.
Ladies man Cilliers wanted to use his wife’s life insurance payout to fund a new life with new lover lover Stefanie Goller [photo]
After his second terrifying murder attempt the following month – in which he sabotaged her parachute – her survival instinct was driven by thoughts of her children.
She adds: “There’s a maternal drive to keep yourself alive.”
Incredibly, Victoria escaped with a broken pelvis, ribs and vertebrae after landing in a ploughed field at Netheravon Airfield, Wilts.
She admits she was gripped by shock and anger as police unveiled the full extent of Cilliers’ double life in a showdown in front of her father a month after the incident – and just days after Cilliers’ arrest.
“I remember taking off my rings and throwing them across the room. I was angry, incredibly angry,” Victoria adds.
But she says she felt little emotion when facing Cilliers at Winchester crown court in November – and then again at the retrial this month.
“I felt quite detached really… I didn’t feel like I acquainted that person with my old husband,” she adds.
Victoria with ex Emile who started off sweeping her feet, but now has been convicted of attempting to kill her, twice
Victoria – whose first marriage ended in divorce – doubts she will ever trust a man again.
She admits: “Bones heal, but hearts, probably not. I’ve had two failed marriages.
“You can never say never, but my priorities are the children now.
“I’m clearly not a good picker of men. I thought this was it with Emile, we’d spend our lives together.”
Despite everything, Victoria says she will always “care for” Cilliers as the father of her children.normal family life” for her children.
She adds: “I try and keep any minor meltdowns I’m having to when the children are asleep.|“I just don’t want to spend my life being eaten up with hate and bitterness. I’ve simply got to move on and draw a line under it.” .