An Army sergeant accused of tampering with his wife’s parachute would have been financially worse off had she died, a court has heard.

Giving evidence at the Winchester Crown Court trial of Emile Cilliers, Victoria Cilliers agreed her husband was “financially incontinent” and had debt problems.

However, wills and a post-nuptial agreement signed by the couple would not have benefited Cilliers if his wife had died, the court heard.

The 42-year-old suffered multiple injuries when she plunged 4,000ft at Netheravon Airfield, Wiltshire in 2015.

Cilliers denies attempted murder after being accused of tampering with his wife’s parachute before she did the jump.

Ex-Army officer Mrs Cilliers said they had signed a post-nuptial agreement in 2014 which set out their financial situation and how their assets would have been divided in the event of a divorce.

She agreed with the suggestion by Elizabeth Mash QC, defending, that her husband had not challenged the drafting of the agreement or sought to get his name on the mortgage deed.

Ms Marsh said: “When you proposed this, did Emile say ‘that’s outrageous’?”

Mrs Cilliers replied: “No, we discussed it, he admitted that money was potentially an issue and given we anticipated being married for life, it did not appear at that point to make a difference.”

The defence counsel asked: “He was not pushing back in any way against this decision of both of you to protect your assets from him?”

Mrs Cilliers replied: “No, he was not.”

Ms Marsh said the accused was helping Mrs Cilliers pay off a £45,000 loan from her brother, which she had borrowed because she could not get a mortgage, in return for a share of their home in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

Victoria Cilliers leaves court after giving evidence in the trial of husband Emile Cilliers
Victoria Cilliers leaves court after giving evidence in the trial of husband Emile Cilliers

She asked: “And this only subsists while you’re alive does it not?”

Mrs Cilliers replied: “Yes.”

Ms Marsh said: “Because if you die, the house and all your savings go to the children and he is on his uppers.”

The physiotherapist responded: “Yes.”

Cilliers had also paid for life insurance, and Mrs Cilliers said she believed the payout on her death would go to her husband.

But the insurance policy “makes it plain” payment would go to a legal representative or executor and not necessarily a spouse, Ms Marsh said, and continued: “So if Emile had died during currency of this policy, money would have gone to his estate.

“Similarly, if you died, the money would not go to your husband it would go to your estate, did you know that?”

Mrs Cilliers replied “no”, adding: “I assumed wrongly it was most likely it went to him.

“I cannot recall a conversation with my solicitor, I think because I thought it went to Emile I left the house to the children (in the will) knowing he would get the life insurance money.”

Ms Marsh asked: “Does it come to this, putting the insurance money aside, Emile would have been better off with you alive than you dead, wouldn’t he?”

She replied: “Yes.”

Cilliers, 37, denies two counts of attempted murder and a third charge of damaging a gas valve recklessly endangering life.

The trial continues.