Skydiver Charged With Love Rival's Death

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," January 25, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Time now for "Big Crime": two women reportedly bedding the same man, all three skydivers. One of the women knows she is being betrayed. The other appears to be the victim of murder by parachute. Cops say it was not only sabotage of a 13,000-foot skydiving free fall, but it was a crime of passion. It's a man betraying two women, a woman seething over her rival, and it appears to be a gruesome murder carried out during a day of skydiving involving all three. It has all the elements of a great mystery fiction, except it's real.

Police in Belgium are investigating the death of a 37-year-old female skydiver. She fell 13,000 feet to the ground after her parachute failed to open. Prime suspect: a fellow skydiver and the so-called friend. Authorities believe the victim and suspect were sleeping with the same man. Their conclusion: no accident. With me now is Emily Smith, U.S. editor of The Sun.

So, this is an amazing story. Did I encapsulate it correctly?

EMILY SMITH, U.S. EDITOR OF THE SUN: This looks like the ultimate crime of passion. This girl is her best friend. They have known each other for years. They have been skydiving for years. She finds out the other woman is having an affair with her boyfriend, so she allegedly tampers with her parachute. They all jump out of the plane together. She watches as her best friend falls to her death.

GIBSON: Take a look at this graphic on the screen here. This is a love triangle. Did she kill her rival?

This woman who is accused of this is kind of dissolved into hysterics about all this. This is a picture of her here. She is a 22-year-old. The dead woman is a 37-year-old. What do we know about her?

SMITH: All we know about her is she is a 22-year-old secretary. She has been skydiving for a number of years. She is very close friends with the deceased woman. What we also know, which has come out in media reports over in Europe, is she may be suffering from a personality disorder. And she may have attempted to kill herself before a police interview, which made the police suspicious she was involved somehow in this murder.

GIBSON: The victim here — who fell 13,000 feet and the parachute didn't open — she was wearing a camera on her helmet?


GIBSON: She recorded her own death.


GIBSON: Has that tape seen the light of day?

SMITH: The police have got that tape. They are refusing to release it at the moment. It recorded her entire horrific fall, as she struggled to save herself. She tried to open the first chute. It failed. She tried to open the second one. She crashed to the ground.

GIBSON: What about the guy? Marcel — I don't think that's his real name — but Marcel is having an affair, secretly, with both of these women, and one of the women found out about the other one?

SMITH: Yes, it turns out, according to police, Marcel was seeing both women but had gone to huge lengths to cover up the facts. So neither was supposed to know. For certain lengths he would see one in the morning and the other in an afternoon. But they had all been skydiving together for a number of years.

It turns out that the suspect found out, maybe a week before, that he was cheating with her supposed best friend, and decided — allegedly — to eliminate the competition.

GIBSON: This must be a sensation in the European press?

SMITH: It is. It's all over the news wires in England. Everyone is talking about how could she tamper with her parachute and then jump out of the plane. They formed — they all held hands. And then she watched as — allegedly — watched as her friend fell to her death.

GIBSON: Emily Smith, U.S. editor of The Sun. Amazing story. Emily, thanks very much.

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