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Parachute trial: Retrial as jury fails to reach verdict

Emile Cilliers denied tampering with the parachute of his Scottish wife Victoria.

Couple: Emilie and Victoria Cilliers.
Couple: Emilie and Victoria Cilliers. PA

An Army sergeant is to face a retrial on charges of attempting to murder his Scottish wife by tampering with her parachute after the first jury failed to reach verdicts.

Emile Cilliers, 37, of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, denied throughout a seven-week trial at Winchester Crown Court two charges of attempted murder and a third count of damaging a gas fitting.

Victoria Cilliers, a highly-experienced parachuting instructor from Haddington, East Lothian, suffered near-fatal injuries after both her main and reserve parachutes failed when she took part in a jump at the Army Parachute Association at Netheravon, Wiltshire, on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015.

Mr Justice Sweeney thanked the jury for their hard work after they had deliberated for about 30 hours.

He told them: "It has been a long case which you have been required to work very hard on over a long period.

"On behalf of the court I am extremely grateful for the work you have done and that has now come to an end."

Mr Justice Sweeney released Cilliers on conditional bail until the retrial.

The judge told him: "I am going to continue your bail on precisely the same conditions as before.

"As you will be aware, if you were to breach any of those conditions you are liable to find yourself arrested and probably put into custody.

"Equally, if you were to fail to attend your retrial, then it's highly likely it will continue in your absence and your voice will not be heard."

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