British expat who killed terminally ill wife could be released after 19 months

A British miner killed his wife, who was terminally ill, to “liberate” her from her suffering, a Cypriot court has heard.

David Hunter is set to be sentenced next week for the manslaughter of his 74-year-old wife of 52 years Janice. Janice died of asphyxiation in their home near the coastal town of Paphos in December 2021.

The Ashington man, 76, was cleared of premeditated murder last week – a far more serious charge.

Hunter’s team argued he should be given a suspended sentence which would allow him to leave prison for the first time in 19 months.

The Englishman will be sentenced on July 31.

READ MORE: Expat who killed wife after she begged him hopes to be released from Cyprus jail

Defending her client, Ritsa Pekri said his action was intended to “liberate his wife from all that she was going through due to her health conditions”.

The court heard it was Mrs Hunter’s “wish” to die and that the former miner “had only feelings of love for her”.

Ms Pekri added: “There was no personal benefit for him”.

She said Hunter was “a quiet, family man that has never troubled the authorities” and insisted witnesses spoke of him “looking after his wife during a difficult time of her life”.

The defence noted that there were no similar cases in Cyprus upon which to draw precendent, so instead referenced cases in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

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Ms Pekri said: “We believe the suitable decision drawn from these cases is a suspended sentence”.

State prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou said that the Hunters’ case “was not one of euthanasia”.

Michael Polak, director of Justice Abroad, the group representing Hunter, said: “We gave lengthy written submissions which include case law from across common law countries such as Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Australia.

“This is important as Cyprus has never sentenced a case such as this before. Cases from those jurisdictions show that a suspended sentence can be given in these circumstances.

“We will be asking the court to give David a suspended sentence. He has spent the equivalent of almost two-and-a-half years in custody and no proper purpose would be served by him spending more time in prison.”

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Hunter told the court, during a trial which has lasted more than 12 months, that his wife “cried and begged” for him to end her life as she was terminally ill with blood cancer.

The Briton broke down as he said he would “never in a million years” have taken his wife’s life unless she had asked him to.

He demonstrated for the court how he held his hands over his wife’s nose and mouth. He said he eventually granted her wish when she became “hysterical”.

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