Who is Emile Cilliers and where is he now? All you need to know as The Fall: Skydive Murder Plot hits Channel 4

 Emilie Cilliers appearing at Winchester Crown Court.
Credit: Getty Images

It was a freak accident, until it became a crime that shocked the nation. Now, The Fall: Skydive Murder Plot recounts the shocking events that lead to the near-fatal attempt on Victoria Cilliers life.

Airing on Channel 4 over the next three nights, the series explores the double-life of Emile Cilliers. Outwardly, he seemed like the perfect man; an army officer, charming and a loving father. Beneath the surface though, he was harbouring dark secrets, including: multiple extramarital affairs, mounting debt and a murderous plot to kill his wife, Victoria.

As the first episode airs tonight at 9pm, the Channel 4 drama, starring Downton Abbey star MyAnna Burning explores how this seemingly ordinary man attempted to get away with murder. But who is Emile Cilliers and where is he now?

Emile Cilliers at Winchester Crown Court
Emile Cilliers at Winchester Crown Court

Who is Emile Cilliers?

Originally born in South Africa, Emile Cilliers, 44, is a former instructor and was attached to the Royal Army Physical Training Corps. A father-of-five, he had been married and had two young children prior to meeting Victoria.

Initially meeting in 2009, the relationship seemed to flourish and just two years later, they tied the knot in Cape Town. Their fairy-tale would not last long though.

As early as May 2013, the former Army instructor was already asking his wife for large sums of money - often spending money on his extra-material affairs. With his debts beginning spiralling, the then-thirty-something even transferred £6,000 from his wife’s account without her permission. He later claimed the account had been hacked.

His erratic behaviour only continued as their family grew. In December 2014, while Victoria was six months pregnant, he jetted to Austria as part of a monthly long trip with the Army ski team. There, he met Stef Goller and their affair began.

Determined to spend as much time with Stef as possible, Emile disappeared from the family home for long periods of time. The pair would even spend New Year’s together in Berlin - unbeknownst to Victoria. During this time, the soldier also wracked up increasing amounts of debt and engaged in multiple marital affairs.

Though the former officer and Victoria would welcome their second child in February 2015, their story would take an increasingly dark turn.

Emilie Cilliers appearing at Winchester Crown Court
Emilie Cilliers appearing at Winchester Crown Court

Where is Emile Cilliers now?

Emile Cilliers is currently serving life in prison after he was given two sentences for two counts of attempted murder. One for trying to murder Victoria with a gas leak at their family home and another for his failed parachute plot.

After standing trial at Winchester Crown Court in 2018, he was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder and was later sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 18 years.

Almost a decade later, the now 44-year-old remains in HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire.

Why did Emile Cilliers try to kill his wife?

During the court case, jurors heard how Emile was plagued with debt and hoped to claim £120,000 in life insurance after the ‘accidental’ death of his wife.

Having welcomed their second child less than a month before, the former Army officer attempted to kill his wife for the first time on March 29, 2015. Using pliers and a wrench, the adulterous husband loosened the nut on the top nut of the gas valve in their kitchen before leaving for his barracks on the evening.

Thankfully, Victoria realised there was a leak before succumbing to the gas.

The Fall: Skydiver Murder Plot
The Fall: Skydiver Murder Plot

The second attempt happened less than two weeks later, on April 4. Despite being a seasoned parachute instructor, she was gift a last minute sky-dive over the Easter weekend by her husband.

Sabotaging her standard and reserve parachutes in the toilet before her skydive, Emile later heard how his wife jumped from 4,000 feet before plummeting to the ground. Incredibly, she survived after landing in a freshly plough field.

The Fall: Skydive Murder Plot airs on Channel 4 on June 11th at 9pm.