But in an unprecedented incident, her reserve parachute then failed.Two slinks were missing, meaning that the main lines on one side of the canopy were not connected to her harness, with a brake cable the only thing attached on that side.This caused the reserve to not inflate properly and led to her spiralling out of control and at high speed to the ground.Describing the final moments of her rapid descent, Mrs Cilliers, 42, said: “The last thing I remember is trying to get some kind of control over it, trying to open as many cells as I could – then everything went black. I do not know if it was the G force or the impact but everything cut out.” The missing slinks from Mrs Cilliers’ parachute were never found and the prosecution case was that the defendant had taken them out and disposed of them.Soft patch of ploughed field saved wife’s lifeA soft patch of newly-ploughed field was the only thing that saved the life of Victoria Cilliers after her near-fatal fall.On Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015, the highly-experienced parachutist made a routine recreational jump at Netheravon Airfield in Wiltshire.As she jumped from the aircraft, first of all her main parachute malfunctioned.A rare but not unheard of problem had occurred where her lines were twisted, and she followed her training and cut away the canopy of the main parachute. She also cast doubt on whether or not he had tried to cause a gas leak at their home days before the parachute jump. Wanting to expand his knowledge, he enrolled in an advanced course in packing reserve parachutes.The trial jury learned that reserve parachutes, which are rarely deployed, are required to be checked and repacked every six months.Cilliers attended a course at Netheravon in October 2012 run by chief rigger of the Army Parachute Association George Panagopoulos.He described the defendant as a “very good, confident” packer who “became good and pretty quick and efficient”.The trial was told that Cilliers had a short window of opportunity to tamper with his wife’s parachute in the hangar toilets at Netheravon. The humiliated mother of his two youngest children should have been the prosecution’s star witness.A highly-experienced parachuting instructor, she suffered near-fatal injuries when both her main and reserve parachutes failed as she jumped from a Cessna Caravan Light aircraft at the Army Parachute Association at Netheravon, Wiltshire, on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015.She immediately knew something was wrong and cut the main parachute away. But the reserve was all twisted and she spiralled helplessly to the ground.One expert said it was the most tangled and knotted parachute he had ever seen after a malfunction.Two of four vital components called slinks, which help keep the canopy lines attached to the harness, were missing.Cilliers, who served with the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, was described as being of “quite exceptional callousness,” someone who would “stop at nothing to satisfy his own desires, material or otherwise.”He certainly made no attempt to hide his contempt for his wife.As she lay on her hospital bed, having miraculously survived the 4,000ft fall, he could barely bring himself to acknowledge her, choosing instead to send lewd texts to his Austrian lover, Stefanie Goller. Chief instructor Mark Bayada was tasked with replicating the actions that Cilliers was accused of within the confines of a toilet cubicle and he managed this in slightly over five minutes.This involved taking out the main parachute container and turning it around in order to twist the lines so that it would malfunction on the jump.He secondly removed vital parts from the reserve parachute – two slinks, a nylon link which connects the harness to the canopy.The court was told that only two slinks had ever failed and these had been in badly maintained main parachutes but never in a reserve.The court was told that a main and reserve parachute had not failed together worldwide. She was the key witness and the case hinged on her account. Cilliers had told his wife he was going to spend the night at his barracks in order to avoid Monday morning traffic.Before he left, he loosened a nut on a gas isolation valve in a cupboard next to the oven.But the plan to kill her in a massive explosion failed when, after texting him to say she could smell gas, she declined to turn on the oven as he suggested.The court heard that Cilliers’ blood was found on the valve and that forensic evidence proved it had been loosened with his mole grip.But Mrs Cilliers explained her husband had cut himself a few days earlier while preparing food and entered the cupboard where the gas valve is to fetch food.She denied she was attempting to help her husband.Following his conviction, Detective Inspector Paul Franklin of Wiltshire Police, said: “The real danger with Emile Cilliers is he is cold, calculated, deliberate, and done for financial and sexual motives, and there was absolutely no consideration of his wife or anyone else, he serves his own needs and that makes him a very dangerous man.”Describing the impact on Mrs Cilliers, Mr Franklin said: “I don’t think we can underestimate the ordeal that she has been put through. Victoria Cilliers arrives at Winchester Crown Court on May 1Credit:Morten Watkins/Solent Emile Cilliers was desperate to get rid of his wife.The “cold and calculating” Army sergeant was in the throws of a passionate affair with a woman he met on Tinder, sleeping with his ex-wife and had various prostitutes on speed dial.His debts had spiralled out of control and he was of the mistaken belief that if Victoria Cilliers died, he would receive £120,000 in life insurance.When he had tried to tell her he wanted to end the marriage she threatened suicide so he decided on a more sinister option, first trying to cause a gas explosion at the family home in Amesbury, Wilts, and then, when that failed, sabotaging her parachute after organising a skydive as a “treat”.The “very dangerous, coercive and manipulative” physical training instructor showed no emotion as he was convicted on Thursday of two counts of attempted murder and a third count of damaging the gas fitting recklessly endangering life following a retrial at Winchester Crown Court.But despite the overwhelming evidence, South African-born Cilliers, 38, almost got away with it, thanks largely to his wife. Her survival has been described as a “near-miracle” and the only reason she did not suffer fatal injuries was the soft soil of the ploughed field where she landed.Her light weight was also attributed as a factor in helping to minimise her injuries.But her final piece of luck was that the spot where she landed was just 16ft (5m) from a small country lane, which would undoubtedly have caused fatal injuries. How did Cilliers do it?Army sergeant Emile Cilliers used his extensive knowledge of packing parachutes to sabotage his wife’s device.The 38-year-old took up the sport after meeting his future wife, Victoria, who has been described as one of the best parachutists in the country.He went on to become an experienced packer at Netheravon Airfield, where he would pack hundreds of main parachutes. Victoria Cilliers But the original jury was unable to reach a verdict after she took to the stand and gave a vastly contradictory version of events to that she had given to police.She claimed she had “lied” to officers because she wanted to make him suffer and had exaggerated her story.”During statements I was angry, very angry. I was out for blood,” she said.”I made it sound worse than it was.”I didn’t always tell the truth, no. I got to the point where the extent of his lies and deceit had been disclosed to me and I wanted to get my own back.”Midway through the six-week trial, Mrs Cilliers was declared a “hostile” witness following an application by the prosecution, allowing them to cross examine her and cast doubt on her evidence.Mrs Cilliers had originally told police Cilliers had disappeared into the lavatory with her parachute, where he removed the vital metal slinks, for between two and five minutes.Later, she claimed he had actually disappeared for up to ten minutes.In her first police interview she described her husband as “awesome” but days later, “painted him as the devil”. A view of the gentlemen’s toilets at Netheravon Airfield in WiltshireCredit:Steve Parsons/PA The gas valve, circled, which Cilliers tampered with Emile Cilliers and his wife Victoria Mrs Cilliers, 42, inexplicably and to the shock of everyone in court, threw his first trial into chaos when she appeared to defend his behaviour, telling the jury she had lied to the police and exaggerated her evidence. “Physically she is well but obviously she is still traumatised.”Hannah Squire, junior counsel for the prosecution, said: “The jury heard details of his coercive behaviour towards his wife and his continued manipulation of all the women in his life to satisfy his own desires, whether financial or sexual.”He showed complete and utter contempt for his wife and this culminated in his desire to have her dead, whether that be to start a new life with his lover Stefanie Goller, benefit financially from the death of Victoria Cilliers, or both.”Mr Justice Sweeney remanded Cilliers in custody until sentencing on June 15, and asked for a probation report to be prepared on his “dangerousness”.The court heard he would be kicked out of the “Army within seven days”. The Ministry of defence declined to comment.WATCH: Clip appears to show Victoria Cilliers moments before near-fatal jump Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.