A SOLDIER accused of trying to murder his wife by tampering with her parachute before a 4,000 foot jump was having two extra-marital affairs, a court heard.

Army sergeant Emile Cilliers, 37, denied three charges relating to his wife Victoria Cilliers, 40, after she broke several bones when her parachute failed to open during a solo jump on Easter Sunday 2015.

South-African born Cilliers, formerly of Amesbury but now of Aldershot, Hampshire is on trial at Winchester Crown Court after denying two charges of attempted murder and one of criminal damage recklessly endangering life.

Prosecuting, Michael Bowes QC yesterday told the court Mrs Cilliers was “a highly experienced parachutist and parachute instructor” who suffered a “near fatal fall” during a routine jump at Netheravon Airfield on Salisbury Plain two years ago.

Her husband was first questioned by police after Mrs Cilliers plummeted when her main canopy failed to open.

“When she jumped out of the plane at 4,000 feet, both her main parachute and her reserve parachute failed, causing her to spiral to the ground,” Mr Bowes said.

Mrs Cilliers crash-landed in a field, suffering several broken ribs, a broken collarbone, a broken leg and spinal injuries.

Mr Bowes said “those attending the scene expected to find her dead” but “almost miraculously, she survived”.

And he said those at the scene “immediately realised that something was seriously wrong with her parachute” and “two vital pieces of equipment were missing”.

Police opened an investigation into whether Cilliers, who had been trained to pack parachutes, had tried to kill his wife.

They also began to investigate a gas leak at the Cilliers’ home a few days before the fall.

Mr Bowes said the prosecution believed Cilliers “had deliberately caused a gas leak at the house just before he left the house to stay elsewhere”.

Cilliers denied damaging the gas fitting.

Mr Bowes said: “At the time of both incidents Emile Cilliers was having an extra-marital relationship with a woman called Stephanie Goller.”

He said Cilliers had met Ms Goller on dating app Tinder in November 2014 and had told her he no longer lived with his wife.

Mr Bowes said explicit text messages from March 2015 also showed Cilliers was “maintaining a sexual relationship” with his ex-wife, Carly Cilliers at the same time.

He said the affairs suggested Cilliers “cared little, if at all” for his wife by March 2015 and by March 30 he had “lost all interest” in her.

In April 2015, Cilliers was in £22,000 of debt, and was unaware that his wife had removed him from her will, which previously would have seen him receive £120,000 in the event of her death.

Mr Bowes said: “On March 30, Emile Cilliers attempted to kill Victoria by means of a deliberate gas leak. Within hours of that failed attempt, despite his complete disinterest by then in Victoria, he suggested that she might like to go parachuting that following weekend. He had, by now, decided to get rid of her permanently.”

A jury of ten women and two men was sworn in today.

The trial continues.