Episode 35 - The Attempted Murder Of Victoria Cilliers


Victoria leant forward and felt the whoosh of air as it whipped past her face. She stepped forward into freefall and immediately felt the familiar rush of adrenaline as she left the plane behind and the earth raced towards her.  

Whilst she had done this jump more than two thousand five hundred times she still lived for the feeling, she loved it in her bones and knew it would never get old. Today’s jump was particularly unique though as her husband Emile was joining her. They’d had a bumpy time of things lately and despite Emile’s strange behaviour in recent weeks Victoria wasn’t ready to walk away. When Emile offered to take her skydiving, it seemed like exactly what they needed to jump into their next chapter together – it was more than just a jump to her. 

Their day had started out like any other and they arrived at the airport early to make the most of a break in the weather. It was Easter Sunday in 2015 and the couple set about completing their safety checks before climbing into the back of the plane for their first jump of the day. Before they left the hangar Emile insisted on going to the toilet and offered to carry Victoria’s chute over to the plane. Chivalry isn’t dead after all!  

But by the time they were ready to go the skies had closed in again and the group they were jumping with had to wait and see if conditions would improve. By 4pm the group were restless and together they decided to complete a low-altitude jump where parachutes are deployed almost as soon as you leave the plane. This kind of jump is reserved for experienced skydivers, given the inherent risks. Victoria’s experience as a qualified freefall instructor meant these complex jumps were her favourite. She was excited about the opportunity to test her skills in less-than-ideal conditions. And besides, it had been more than a year since her last jump and she’d given birth just weeks earlier so she was feeling a little rusty and was very much looking forward to reclaiming her jump after such a long break.

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The plane climbed to 4,000 feet and the countdown began as one by one the skydivers leapt from the plane. When it was Victoria’s turn, she felt no fear, just excitement for her favourite activity which had been absent from her life for the longest period since her first jump at age 16.  

Seconds after leaving the plane she pulled her chute – And instantly she knew something was wrong. Whilst it left her bag perfectly ,the ropes were tangled together and there was no chance of it working. But Victoria had trained for this, with no time to waste she cut the strings to the main parachute and pulled the reserve chute. She was confident that it would deploy in time for a safe, if not hard, landing.  

But to her horror, the reserve chute was in even more of a tangle than the main chute. The attempted deployment threw her body into a tight spin and whipped her through the air like a ragdoll.  

Victoria was travelling at more than 60 miles per hour and the ground was fast approaching beneath her. But no amount of training could have stopped what was about to happen. After 14 seconds of freefall, Victoria hit the ground at full speed. 


 Victoria Cilliers was born in Edinburgh, Scotland to parents Veronica and Michael. They were a close and loving family and within a couple of years, Victoria’s little brother Christopher was born.  

Victoria had always loved the outdoors and wide-open spaces at one stage dreaming of being an equine physiotherapist.  

To her parent’s apprehension, she was also obsessed with skydiving. Whilst most teenagers wanted to learn how to drive and spend time with their friends Victoria had begged for the opportunity to complete her first jump. When Victoria was just 16 years old a charity event was held in their local area offering the opportunity for participants to skydive. Her parents finally gave in and let her go, hoping it would be enough to satisfy her obsession and put it behind her. But it had the opposite effect. Rather than out her off it sparked a lifelong love of the sport.  

 Tragically just six months after that first jump, Victoria’s mother passed away from bowel cancer. She turned to music to cope with her despair over her mother’s death. But the only thing that really seemed to help her with her grief was the rush she got from jumping out of an aeroplane thousands of feet over the earth.  

 When she was 22, Victoria joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a physiotherapy officer. Her service took her around the world and she rose to the rank of Captain. It was whilst serving in the military she was given the opportunity to join a skydiving course which would eventually lead to her gaining her Freefall instructor certification. With this training she was able to log hundreds of jumps in exotic locations.  

 Four years after joining the military Victoria met and married Captain Liam Fitzgerald who shared her love of skydiving. When their schedules allowed they would skydive together, bonding over their shared passion. But their differing roles and deployments meant they spent less and less time together. When Liam was sent away on an 18-month training course whereby he could only return on weekends they began to drift apart. Gone were their long phone calls and days spent jumping together. Instead, Liam became withdrawn and unavailable and Victoria became suspicious that her husband was being unfaithful. He began to make excuses for being unable to return home on the weekends and even when he did come home he was overly protective of his phone and less affectionate than he had been before.  

 Just months before his training course was due to end and Liam would be returning home for good Victoria received a series of strange phone calls to her landline. Each time she answered the call would disconnect with nothing being said by the caller.  After the fifth such call, Victoria confronted the caller and to her surprise, a voice answered her back. The person identified herself as a woman named Lucy. She told Victoria she was lucky to have such a loving husband like Liam. Victoria was immediately suspicious and flat-out asked the woman if she was having an affair with her husband. After a few moments of silence, the woman admitted that she was indeed in a relationship with Liam which had started 12 months prior.  

Victoria was heartbroken and confronted Liam about the affair. He admitted they had been seeing each other but swore it was over and promised it wouldn’t happen again. Victoria naively believed Liam’s assurances that she was the only one for him. Just six months later she would come to discover that his promises were empty. This time when Victoria discovered Liam was having an affair she decided to leave him for good. The couple was divorced within months.  

A few month later, in January 2009, Victoria met Emile Cilliers through her work as a physiotherapist. Emile was seeing Victoria for an injury which affecting his work as a physical training instructor in the army. Initially, there was little attraction between the pair. But during their sessions, they began to bond over their shared love of skydiving and the great outdoors and soon romance began to blossom. The pair seemed besotted with each other and just weeks after meeting they told each other they were in love. Victoria transferred Emile’s care over to a colleague so they could continue with their romantic relationship.   


Emile Cilliers was born in 1980 in South Africa to his loving parents Zaan and Stolz. Emile was a charming and charismatic child who made friends easily. He was also handsome and athletically gifted which gained him the attention of many young women. When he was just 16 he seduced Nicolene who was a 13-year-old girl he met whilst at school. Despite their young ages and minimal life experience, the couple claimed they were destined to be together. When Nicolene was just 16 years old she gave birth to their first child.  

But the relationship was far from stable. From those very first months when they met at school Nicolene suspected Emile was cheating on her. When she confronted him about it he would admit what he had done and promise that it wouldn’t happen again. But it did. Again and again Emile would stray, and again and again, Nicolene would forgive him.  

When Emile asked her to marry him after their first child was born she agreed to his proposal.  But she put their wedding on hold when she found out he was cheating on her yet again, this time with her best friend. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to walk away. The couple decided to have some time apart in the hopes it would help their relationship survive. Emile travelled to the United Kingdom for a working holiday in 2000 while Nicolene remained in South Africa raising their child. When Emile returned two years later the couple decided they wanted to rebuild their relationship and within months Nicolene was pregnant with their second child.  

Emile returned to the UK to make preparations for his family to move over and join him. They would need visas and a place to stay so the couple decided it was best for him to work through the logistics before Nicolene and the children joined him. Nicolene and Emile had always dreamed of living in the UK believing it would offer them better opportunities than they would get in South Africa.  Their newfound relationship stability seemed like the perfect opportunity to start their next chapter as a family. But their plans were short-lived.  

Within months of Emile leaving, Nicolene was invited for afternoon tea at her mother in laws home. To her shock, Nicolene was informed that Emile had not only met another woman in the UK, but he had also married her. Her name was Carly. 

As she reeled from the news, Nicolene decided she would no longer play Emile’s game. She decided she was done with Emile once and for all. She wasn’t going to wait around for him to take care of her and their children. Nicolene packed her things and moved to the UK independently, still seeking those better opportunities. When her oldest child was around six years old she began to ask her mum about her father. Nicolene decided it wasn’t her place to keep the two apart so she found out Emile’s number and contacted him. But first, she confronted him about the woman that had come between them. Emile straightaway claimed that he had only married Carly to secure a visa and that the pair were now legally separated. He also told her that he had joined the Royal Army and was making a good living for himself.  

Nicolene believed him once again. Over the regular visitation between the children and Emile they grew close once more. Before long they were seeing each other romantically.  

 Just a month after arriving Emile left his phone accidentally at Nicolene’s. When it rang she answered a call from a woman who identified herself as Carly. When Nicolene questioned why she was ringing when the couple were separated Carly explained that they were not separated at all. In fact, they were married and had two children together. Nicolene’s world shattered as she realised Emile was living a double life. His womanising ways had never stopped, she had just not wanted to believe the instincts that were telling her something was wrong in their relationship.  

 The women decided to confront Emile together. Both women felt scorned and betrayed and they wanted Emile to know that what he had done to them had to stop. But rather than apologies or consolation in typical egotistical style he simply asked ‘Well, here we are. Which one of you wants me?’ 

 Nicolene was sure she was well and truly done with Emile, he had taken years of her life and she knew for sure he would never change. Carly on the other hand was prepared to give him another shot. She chose to stay with Emile but his womanising and deceit eventually drove them apart. Less than three years later the couple would separate.  

 All this happened suspiciously close to the time when Emile met Victoria through her work as a physiotherapist.  By March 2010 Emile had separated from Carly and made it official with Victoria. On a romantic trip to South Africa, Emile proposed to Victoria and they married a year later.  Within months Victoria had given birth to their first daughter and Emile’s fifth child.  

 Their marriage: 

Even from those early days of their marriage which many would consider the honeymoon period,  Victoria was concerned with Emile’s suspicious behaviour. She came across condoms in his car and strange messages on his phone from unknown numbers. She knew about Emile’s lies about his ex-wife Carly and the suspicious timings form when they had first got together but she truly believed she was the one for Emile and he wouldn’t treat her in that way.  

But the suspicions kept nagging at her.  

Compiling her uncertainties were the increasingly frequent messages and visits from debt collectors. Emile had outstanding debts before they married and Victoria had loaned him 37 thousand pounds to pay them off.  But when loan sharks came knocking they told her no such payments had ever been made. Emile had taken the money meant to repay the loans and had instead splashed out on skiing equipment, golf clubs and gadgets. When money began to disappear from Victoria’s savings account Emile told her she must have been hacked. And even when the bank found that the IP address used to make the transfers was their own home computer Victoria still chose to believe his colourful explanations and excuses. By now she was pregnant with their second child and she believed they could make it work for their children’s sake.  

At around the same time, Victoria received a message from the mother of their babysitter who told her that she had found inappropriate messages from Emile on her daughter’s phone. She sent over screenshots showing messages saying “do you have a boyfriend?” “you look really nice this evening”. Yet again she confronted Emile and this time he said “my phone must have been cloned”. He proceeded to tell Victoria it was her fault for not trusting him. And yet again Victoria chose to accept the behaviour and move on.  

What she didn’t know is that Emile had created a profile on Fab Swingers and had been carrying out regular illicit liaisons during their marriage as well as meeting with sex workers. One of these infidelities turned into a full-blown affair in 2014 when Emile began taking Stephanie Goller on expensive overseas trips. The couple had met on tinder and Emile convinced the woman that his marriage to Victoria was over. Perhaps ironically, he claimed that Victoria had cheated on him and that the child she was pregnant with wasn’t his.  

Their relationship carried on well into 2015 and by all accounts, Stephanie believed they were in an exclusive relationship. After one particular trip, Emile returned home and told Victoria he thought they had gotten married too soon and he didn’t know what he wanted anymore. When Victoria asked if there was someone else he assured Victoria it wasn’t like that but he needed some time to figure things out. Victoria was devastated but she was prepared to give him the space he needed to work through his issues. He went away for periods at a time and eventually he told Victoria he was ready to give it another go. Soon after, Emile convinced Victoria it would be a good time to have another baby and for a while everything seemed to be going well for the couple.  

When Victoria gave birth to their second child he began to spend more nights away claiming he was staying at the barracks in order to get a better night’s sleep. While Victoria was awake all hours of the night looking after their newborn, Emile was in fact not at the barracks. And he wasn’t with Stephanie either.  

Emile had rekindled his romance with Carly who now lived just a couple of miles from the family home he shared with Victoria. He was now living a triple life. And while Emile had been the one to put himself in such a predicament it was becoming difficult to manage all of the arrangements and cover stories. He was trying to appear as an apparently loving and devoted husband and father, whilst amicably managing custody with Carly. But he also had his mistress on the side. So naturally, he decided one of the three arrangements needed to come to an end.  

 Victoria was becoming increasingly suspicious of his behaviour and since the birth of their second child, she seemed to be pulling away from Emile more and more. She hadn’t seemed convinced by his excuses for his spending and strange phone calls and Emile was growing more worried she might cut him off completely.  With this in mind it wasn’t a difficult decision – Victoria would have to be removed from his triangle. But rather than simply leaving Victoria he decided to eliminate her, once and for all.  

Emile made sure she had a generous life insurance policy for which he would be the sole beneficiary. Then he set about making a plan that would leave him the grieving husband and her six feet under. 

 The jump:  

Emile spoke with Victoria and told her he wanted to cheer her up after the harrowing weeks she had had since their son was born. She had been up all hours of the night and given Emile was spending more and more nights away he told her she deserved a treat. He wooed her with declarations of his love for her and claimed that he wanted her to feel like herself again. He suggested something he knew she would never refuse and something that would give him the perfect opportunity to remove a problem from his life. He suggested they go skydiving together that weekend.  

They lived just a few miles from their local airfield at Netheravon and even though Victoria hadn’t jumped in more than a year she was excited at the prospect of getting back in the air. She craved the thrill of the jump, but her husband’s proposal meant even more to her. It meant he really cared and that he really wanted them to work through this difficult period and get back on track.  

On Saturday when they arrived at the airfield the group pulled their parachutes from the supply store. Emile had brought the couple’s two young children along and he told Victoria that the older child needed to go to the toilet. He picked up Victoria’s parachute, slung it on his back and disappeared into the bathroom with their toddler.  

By the time he emerged the pilot had declared that the weather wasn’t clear enough for the jump to go ahead. The group were told to come back the next day and try again. Emile returned his chute to the supply store but left Victoria’s inside her locker.  

They returned the next day and initially, the weather appeared as if it wasn’t going to clear enough for them to jump. But at 4pm the pilot offered them the option to complete a low-altitude jump to avoid the looming cloud cover. Everyone agreed and climbed into the back of the plane with Victoria fist-bumping everyone as they took their seats.  

Victoria was the last to leave the plane. At 4.27 pm just 14 seconds after leaping from the aircraft Victoria lay motionless in a freshly ploughed field after her main parachute and her reserve chute failed to deploy.  

Within moments a fellow skydiver ran to Victoria’s side after having watched the rapid descent and violent impact. To her astonishment, Victoria was alive and conscious.  

Minutes later paramedics and a helicopter arrived in the field and Victoria was airlifted to a nearby hospital. She remained conscious as doctors began to examine her injuries and they were in disbelief as to how she had survived such a horrific impact. Among her injuries were a broken leg and collarbone. Victoria had a shattered pelvis, damage to her bladder and had broken almost all of her ribs on the right side. She also had a collapsed lung and several spinal fractures.  

As medical teams set to work treating Victoria’s broken body, instructors from the Netheravon airfield were puzzling over her accident and questioning how both chutes had failed to open. They had Victoria’s chute which had been removed from her when the paramedics arrived after her fall. Immediately they could see the parachute appeared to have been interfered with. Rather than the strings forming straight lines from bag to chute they were tangled and knotted eliminating any chance for the chute to open fully. After going over every stitch and link in both chutes the team agreed what they were looking at was much more sinister than a mechanical failure. The chute had clearly been intentionally tampered with.  

The next day they decided to notify the police. They recorded a video of the detailed inspection they carried out on the parachutes which they claimed showed evidence of tampering.  

Police were immediately suspicious and given they had little speciality knowledge of skydiving equipment they asked for the British Parachute Association to inspect the chutes.  

Whilst the inspection was underway Police received another call. This time it was a friend of Victoria who told officers she felt compelled to call them after hearing about Victoria’s accident. She told them of the problems the couple had been going through and that they should look closer at the accident. She recalled that Victoria had told her the relationship was coercive and abusive. But Emile was careful to make sure his abuse wasn’t physical. Instead, he would gaslight and manipulate Victoria, treating her like a princess and then treating her terribly, backwards and forwards until she became so complicit she could hardly identify his misdeeds anymore.  

Given they had now received two calls related to the incident, the Police decided to take a closer look at everyone involved. An officer was sent to the hospital to ask Victoria questions while they awaited the results of the parachute examination.  

Victoria was immediately shocked at the officer’s suggestion that Emile had anything to do with her fall. To her, it was a simple if not terrible case of her equipment failing her. But as the police detailed some of the initial findings of the instructors at the airfield a new truth began to dawn on her. For just a moment she allowed herself to consider the possibility that Emile was somehow involved.  

 Victoria agreed she had noticed something off about him since her accident. He visited her only occasionally and even when he did he seemed distracted and cold. When she was given clearance to go home for a week as part of her rehabilitation, Emile told her he was too busy to take care of her despite the army offering him considerable compassionate leave. On the 22nd of April Victoria was finally released from hospital though her physical recovery was far from over.  

Days after the conversation with Victoria, The British Parachute Association declared they had found no mechanical reason for the parachute to fail. They now had confirmation that there was no inherent fault in the equipment. There were vital links in both chutes missing and the lines had been wrapped tightly around the main chute.  For both parachutes to fail only one cause remained. Intentional damage.  

 Questioning Emile:  

With this new evidence and Victoria’s statement, Police issued a warrant for Emile’s arrest on suspicion of attempted murder. On the 28th April 2015, he was arrested at the military barracks in Aldershot. To the officer’s surprise, Emile didn’t object to the arrest. In fact he made no objection at all and declined to speak to a lawyer. 

That night Emile was interrogated for six hours. He told police he had been having an affair with Stephanie Goller and that he was in debt to loan sharks. And he admitted that he had taken Victoria’s chute into the bathroom the day before the jump. He told police he had no choice but to go outside the marriage for sex because Victoria would only sleep with him twice a week and less since the children had been born. He never claimed he was innocent but he never gave any indication that he wanted his wife dead. Emile was calm throughout the interview and he seemed to have an answer for every question the officers asked him. Almost like he had been prepared for the interview and the answers he would give to explain his actions. At the end of the interview, the officer in charge asked him if he had anything to say. He said, ‘The worst part about today was that you arrested me in front of my subordinates.’ 

The interview had given the police insight into the type of person Emile truly was. While he presented himself as well put together and confident – behind the façade was a man who demonstrated psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies including narcissism and extreme selfishness. This meant that he had little to no ability to feel empathy and remorse and he was driven by his own need to survive and outsmart others. It also explained how he had managed to seamlessly conduct multiple relationships simultaneously with very little consequence for his actions even when the women discovered what he was up to. One of the investigators commented He can have a conversation with his wife about picking up the children or a bit of shopping at the same time as arranging to meet someone he knows from Fabswingers for some weekend fun, and ringing someone from Adultwork to see if they are available,”- “Three totally separate conversations at the same time, managed in such a way that there was never a wrong phone call to the wrong person. When you see that repeated constantly for years, you see what kind of person he was.” 

While the interview helped police understand how to approach future conversations with Emile, it hadn’t provided any evidence tying him directly to the tampering of the parachute. When tests were run on the parachute there were no traces of DNA found and Emile couldn’t be conclusively tied to the main piece of evidence.  

 Police had no choice but to release Emile but they told him he couldn’t return to the home he shared with Victoria. By now Victoria was recuperating at home and she was still in denial that Emile had anything to do with her accident. She became uncooperative with the investigation and told officers she wouldn’t answer any more questions.  

In order to convince her to talk to them they told her about the affair Emile was having with Stephanie. They told Victoria that when they spoke to Stephanie she had told them that Emile didn’t believe their second child was biologically his. This news broke Victoria.  

As the officers went to leave they asked if Victoria had anything else she wanted to share with them.  

In a moment of clarity and courage, she recalled a strange event which had occurred at her home just six days before the accident.  

On March the 29th 2015 Emile had text his wife to let her know he was working late and would stay at the barracks that night. Whilst Victoria spent the night nursing her five-week-old son, Emile had in fact met with Carly for sex in Victoria’s car. After finishing up with Carly he initiated communication with a prostitute online.  

The following morning when Victoria went downstairs for coffee she could smell gas in the kitchen. She looked at the gas valve in the cupboard and found that the valve had been loosened which was allowing gas to escape freely into the room. Victoria thought it strange when she also noticed that there was blood on the valve. She had immediately texted her husband and jokingly asked “Are you trying to bump me off?”. Little did she know that that is exactly what had happened. Chillingly both of their children were asleep in the home. It was a clear indication that Emile was unconcerned if his children were killed alongside Victoria.  

 But even with the gas leak taking on a more sinister tone, Victoria didn’t believe Emile would go to such lengths to eliminate her. After all, she was the one who had always been forgiving and accepting and she was the one paying his bills and providing for his lifestyle. She refused to believe the man she was married to was capable of plotting her murder.  

Police took samples from the bloody valve and the blood was confirmed to have come from Emile. Further investigation proved that force had been applied to loosen the valve rather than tighten it.  

It was this DNA evidence tying Emile to the earlier attempt on Victoria’s life that was to be his downfall.  

Court and evidence:  

It took two years for Emile to stand trial due to the amount of evidence investigators had to comb through. He was now charged with two counts of attempted murder. The trial lasted six weeks and from beginning to end Emile remained expressionless as he sat in the dock.  

Evidence was presented showing the tampering with the parachutes as well as the £120,000 life insurance policy Emile had taken out on Victoria. Ironically Emile was unaware that Veronica had removed Emile as a benefactor of her will after the first time she had caught him cheating on her.  

But by the time the trial was underway, Victoria was no longer cooperating with the investigation. She had returned to her previous position of claiming there was no chance that Emile was involved with either the gas leak or the parachute tampering.  

But she did share her experience of the terrible accident As the ground loomed ever closer, I forced myself to push fear from my mind. I just have to fix this, I told myself, as I fought for my life. My children need me.” 

 The jury was shown messages between Emile and Stephanie, the woman with whom he was having an affair.  Despite knowing each other for less than six months there were more than 32,000 messages exchanged between the pair with one of the messages reading “I will sacrifice and give up so much for you… From April onwards I can do random and spontaneous.” He later adds: “To be with you I would do anything.” 

Despite living with Victoria, sleeping with Carly and having an affair with Stephanie Emile was also active on the swinger’s site and arranging meet-ups with sex workers and other strangers he had met online. There seemed to be no limit to his capacity for deceit.  

Witness after witness recalled their disturbing encounters with Emile. Even Nicolene, Emile’s apparent first love and mother of two of his children shared how he seemed to be able to charm his way into any woman’s affections and despite treating them terribly, the women never left.  

“He was charismatic and romantic. We used to go out for our monthly ‘anniversary’ and he would give me a long-stemmed rose every time.”.  

“You’re young, you think you’re in love. He cheated on me time after time and I always took him back,” “He proposed to me using his grandmother’s ring. We never made it to the altar, though. He was cheating on me with my best friend.” 

“Unfortunately, he’s always had the ability to make you believe that black is white. He’s controlling and manipulative” She went on to say He doesn’t like to be told no,” “He’s used to having his own way.” “I was a 16-year-old girl, I’d just had a C-section, and 10 days later we were sexually active again because it was what he wanted. Looking back on that now, I know how disgusting and dangerous that is. Whether he didn’t get it or didn’t care, I don’t know. That’s what he wanted so that’s what he got.” 

 Not a single person testified in defence of Emile’s character and no friends or family appeared in court to support him.  

Ultimately Emile was found guilty on two counts of attempted murder.   

Victoria was given the opportunity to provide a victim impact statement which she asked not be read in open court. It is believed she advocated for Emile to receive a lenient sentence. 

But a presentencing report on Emile’s mental state and risk declared that he presented a high risk of offending to adults, particularly partners. For the attempted murders Emile was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison. In his sentencing, Mr Justice Sweeney said he carried out the two attempted murders “in cold blood for your own selfish purposes which include financial gain”. He also noted that Victoria seemed to have recovered from the physical harm but not, having seen her in the witness box at length, from the psychological harm”. 

Emile was also discharged from the military for his crimes.  

In the days following the sentencing Victoria appeared on Good Morning Britain and in two tabloids where she stated that she did not accept the verdict handed down to her husband.  

“I have to go, I suppose, with the verdict,” “It’s almost like peer pressure to conform. My family, friends, everyone seems to think they know more than I do. They see different evidence to me,” “He’d been unfaithful, he’d had issues with money, but that is not attempted murder. Yes, I’m hurt and angry, but can I see him as capable of murder? No.” She described Cilliers as “a passionate, intense alpha male solider,” and “a sex addict”. 

“I don’t think it’s addiction as such, he just likes to get what he wants,” she says. Victoria was horrified to discover her first love was capable of murder, but not surprised. “To you and me it’s a life – to him it’s just an object, just something in the way.” 

She later commented that she had experienced “every emotion under the sun” – and was “still grieving for the relationship”. She added: “I’m still pretty stunned. It’s such a massive thing to accept that he might have wanted to kill me, and harm the children. 

“I love the husband I had – I’m grieving for that marriage.” 

The police described the conviction as a bittersweet victory. There is no doubt that their investigation put a manipulative and potentially psychopathic man behind bars. But there is some sadness in the fact that his victim never wanted him accused in the first place and was determined to believe he had no part in her accident.  

Perhaps naively, all of the women who had the misfortune to become involved with Emile believed they would be the one to change him, that they would be enough for him to give up his womanising ways for. It is difficult to understand how he was able to continue his cheating behaviour with so many women for so many years.  And even when he was found out there was little to no consequence. Without the keen eye of the experienced skydiving instructors, Emile may have been able to add murder to the list of things he was able to manipulate his way out of. And there’s little doubt that he would have stopped at just one.  

Episode Credits: 

Host – Rhiannon Doe 

Voiceover – Kwesi 

Website layout & design – Fran Howard 

Research & writing – Sophie Wild