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Stephen Hilder was a 20-year-old Officer Cadet at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom in Shrivenham, Wiltshire, England. On 4 July 2003, Hilder fell 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) to his death when, during a skydive, both his main and reserve parachutes failed.
The police initially reported that his parachute had been sabotaged, with the risers (fabric connectors between the harness and lines) for his reserve parachute having been cut. A 10-month search for a murderer with a motive ensued, with two of Hilder's friends, Adrian Blair and David Mason, being arrested at one point and later released without charge. However, from the results of DNA tests on the parachute straps, which revealed the presence of Hilder's DNA alone, the police concluded that Hilder had cut the straps himself. A coroner's inquest recorded an open verdict on the cause of Hilder's death.
The jump took place at the Hibaldstow Parachute Centre in Lincolnshire. One of the few leads that the police had when searching for a saboteur was an old issue of an American skydiving magazine, found at the drop zone, that reported one of the four other recorded cases of sabotaged parachutes in the history of skydiving. The reports of sabotage had noticeable effects on the subsequent behaviour of parachutists at championship events, and resulted in an increase in the sales of secure bags for the storage of equipment.
The laboratory test results that revealed that Hilder had cut his own straps caused bafflement for both the police and Hilder's family and friends, who had seen no indication that Hilder was intending to commit suicide. One police officer stated that "Nothing we have discovered during the investigation and no one we have interviewed has said anything to suggest Stephen may have been contemplating killing himself.".
On 25 March 2005, North Lincolnshire coroner Stewart Atkinson refused to accept that the death was a suicide after a forensic scientist testified that the lack of DNA could be attributable to a saboteur wearing gloves. Atkinson also stated that there was no proof that someone else was responsible for the straps being cut, either.
Originally posted by franspeakfree
I got chills big chills,
This particular case casually has popped in to my head during meditatons I have a strong gut feeling that this person was murdered and that there is much more to this story than meets the eye.
If and its a bif IF, IF it was suicide then I couldn't think of a better way to go, freefalling in tranquil surroundings.
Star and flag from me - for puting the chills down my spine.
Originally posted by CodenameDoeB
I remember this as clear as day although i didn't dig into at the time as i was 19 and not interested is this type of stuff, just figured it was a suicide.
but i can remember it clearly as it happened on my mothers birthday, Nice find ill have a better read later.