Parachute trial: 'Pantomime villain' soldier had 'no motive' to kill wife

An Army sergeant who is accused of trying to kill his wife is a "pantomime villain" with no motive to kill, his lawyers have said.

Emile Cilliers is charged with attempted murder after his wife Victoria's parachute was tampered with before a dive in Wiltshire in April last year.

Opening his defence case on Friday, his lawyer admitted he was a man driven by lust but reminded the jury he was innocent until proven guilty.

Elizabeth Marsh said: "Mr Cilliers is an easy target, no Prince Charming, if anything the pantomime villain, unfaithful, lying to each of the women in his life, as one assumes needs must if you are conducting any sort of affair.

"If it's the path you choose to tackle, honesty is not something that is possible once an affair has been embarked upon.

"He is something of a penniless scoundrel which is how he might be characterised - if only Victoria Cilliers had been tied to the train tracks with Mr Cilliers twirling his moustache.

"But we are not there, it's fantasy land and we have to look at the evidence."

She said his affairs did not mean he was lying about what he said happened to his wife.

Ms Marsh told the jury he would not have stood to inherit any money from Mrs Cilliers, because of their prenuptial agreement.

The barrister also said that parachuting is seen as an extreme sport, but was safer than "driving, cycling or being a pedestrian".

Mrs Cilliers suffered near-fatal injuries after the jump at the Army Parachute Association at Netheravon, on 5 April, 2015.

He is also accused of a second count of attempted murder, after allegedly tampering with the gas valve at their home a few days earlier and one count of criminal damage recklessly endangering life.

The 37-year-old denies all the charges and the trial continues.